By BRENNA GRITEMAN
A group of Findlay-Hancock County Chamber of Commerce Ambassadors traded their trademark red coats for toolbelts as they set out on their latest service project.
Over a single weekend in March, 25 ambassadors spruced up the City Mission’s property which serves as housing for men transitioning out of homelessness. Volunteers renovated the entire duplex, including laying new carpet and tile in the kitchen and dining room, replacing kitchen cabinets, updating kitchen plumbing, installing a new toilet and shower, updating light fixtures and deep cleaning the entire interior. Ambassadors approached their clients for donations of cleaning supplies, new flooring, cabinets and countertops, a kitchen table and chairs and beds and dressers.
Chamber membership manager Laurie Poland said she was amazed at the scope of the project and the ambitiousness of the ambassadors. Not only did each volunteer show up for both days of the project, but most brought along friends, family members or neighbors to help.
The project was led by chamber ambassador Shawn McFarland, who Poland said “probably put in 50 hours of his own time, outside of the weekend.”
Joy Barger, director of development at the City Mission, said the transitional house is located on the mission’s property, facing Front Street. The duplex can house seven to eight men who have been successful in working toward recovery through the mission’s ReSTART program by attending education center classes, receiving therapy through community agencies and securing employment.
There are currently five men living in the duplex, and Barger said a typical lenghth of stay is a little over six months. The goal is to provide temporary housing in a more independent setting, giving the residents time to pay off debt, find employment and save up a little money.
Amid all the recent renovations, the house is still lacking a stove and a washer and dryer.
The ambassadors focus their attention on one nonprofit agency per quarter, and chose City Mission as their first quarter service project. Poland said future projects will vary based on the agency’s individual needs.
“We want to do more than just hand them a check,” she said.
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