Southeast Portland volunteers fix up dozens of homes for elderly and disabled

See all the good that volunteers from REACH did, for one East Portland neighbor …

John Barry and Mike Gillis apply a coat of donated Miller Paint to this East Portland senior’s home during this year’s REACH CDC Paint & Repair-athon.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Hundreds of community-minded volunteers met at Mt. Scott Park on the morning of August 3, and got breakfast and a big “thank you” for participating in the 24th annual Paint and Repair-athon of REACH Community Development Corporation..

“We have about 285 volunteers out today, working throughout the City,” said REACH Director of Resource Development Laura Recko.

“At this home, here in the Brentwood-Darlington Neighborhood, we’re giving it a complete exterior paint job,” Recko told East Portland News.

REACH CDC C.E.O. Dan Valliere, Board Chair Ruth Ann Tsukuda, and Director of Resource Development Laura Recko, are each ready to resume painting.

Additionally the 21 helpers built a new breezeway cover and fixed electrical problems. “At other 23 homes we’re at today, we’re doing plumbing repair, building wheelchair ramps, installing grab bars – all things that provide life and safety improvements, as well as external beautification.”

The organization relishes the annual fix-it marathon event, REACH C.E.O. Dan Valliere said. “Really, to see it happening, it’s energizing. We’ve always been about community stability. Our motto is ‘a healthy community begins at home’.”

While REACH CDC also operates affordable apartment buildings, Valliere added, “Homeowners – long-term residents – are the bedrock of our communities. When we help by fixing up the homes of our seniors, they can more easily ‘age in place’, and can continue to be a valuable part of the neighborhoods in which they’ve lived so long.”

Floyd Light Middle School student volunteer Golylna Marcell dishes up lunch provided by Cindy Renee – and her mom, the helped homeowner, Joyce High.

The home where this particular team was volunteering, Valliere said, was a good example – as he introduced Joyce High.

“My family came from Minnesota to Vancouver, and then to Portland in 1947,” High said. “I’ve lived in this house since 1951.”

About the folks helping out, High said, “I love them for it! It makes me feel wonderful!  What they’re doing for me is worth a lot.”

At the lunch break, volunteers dined on a fried chicken dinner with all the fixings, supplied by High and her family.

Volunteer Joe Tushner cuts trim that will help finish a new breezeway from the home to the garage.

It was then that Recko commented to us that REACH is fortunate to have many long-time volunteers, as well as new volunteers coming in to work on this day of service. “And, about 40 companies and organizations have either donated cash, or in-kind goods and labor, to support the event today.”

By the end of the day, REACH volunteers had provided an estimated $150,000 worth of repairs and improvements to 24 homes.

“By the way, we are always looking for volunteers,” Recko added.

Interested? To learn more, see their website: CLICK HERE to open it.

> On our Front Page: Gennadiy Shandyba reaches up to paint trim, during this year’s Repair-athon.

© 2013 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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