Where I Went:
Catalyst-Partnerships is a non-profit organization that completes home restoration projects for elderly, disabled, and low-income citizens. During the past month, they’ve been renovating a home that had been donated to the Domestic Violence Resource Center. This residence, “Safe Haven”, will provide temporary housing for victims of domestic violence.
My friend and Pastor’s Wife from our church, Kaleo, forwarded an email to me from Catalyst. The message requested volunteers to help on weekends throughout February and March listing various tasks that would need to be completed. Home improvement is not my forte, but I wanted to help. I emailed the project coordinator, Bev, and asked if I could come on the last weekend for clean-up chores. I may not be able to frame windows, but I can scrub or vacuum any mess that’s been made.
My thespian daughters are in the midst of dress rehearsal week for the Christian Youth Theater production of Seussical, the Musical, leaving me a Saturday morning free to volunteer with Catalyst. My husband, Edd, agreed to help also. It’d be a date! Kind of.
Edd and I showed up on site, tools and cleaners in hand. About 30 men and women milled in and out of the house. People were painting, installing, moving furniture, and sawing things. We didn’t see Bev when we arrived, but we met Judith, another project coordinator who put us to work. Judith asked if we’d hang blinds on the widows in the back bedrooms. I’ve never hung blinds before, but Edd’s pretty handy, so no problem.
Here is some information about blind hanging: It’s a one person job. I tried to be helpful. I found the instructions. I held the blinds while Edd measured, marked, drilled, and hung. I did insert the little rod necessary for opening and closing the blinds – that made me feel useful for 3 seconds.
|Such a hard worker!|
After we’d been there for 30 minutes, Judith roamed the house looking for muscle. Love, INC, another local non-profit finding resources for the less fortunate, backed in a moving truck full of donated furniture for Safe Haven. The volunteers formed an assembly line to transport items from truck to house. The truck was emptied in 20 minutes and Edd and I went back to blind-hanging.
I watched as he measured and marked when Judith entered the room asking if I could go outside to paint so some of the painters could come inside to hang doors. I grimaced.
“You don’t want to paint? You don’t HAVE to…” There was a small pleading in her voice.
Edd laughed. He knows how I feel about painting. I hate painting. People say it’s easy, but it takes patience. I’m a messy painter. I leave drips everywhere and it inevitably gets in my hair, staying there for days. I cannot emphasize enough how much I don’t like painting.
It takes a lot of nerve to volunteer to help and then try to get out of helping. Probably not very “Jesus-like” when it comes to having the “nature of a servant.”
My dashing prince came to the rescue. “How about if Andee and I hang the doors and the painters can stay outside painting?” Edd offered.
“Oh, sure! If you don’t mind, that would be great!” Judith left satisfied.
Edd put down the drill and I grabbed the pins out of the door hinges. He lined up the brackets and I glanced down at the bottom of the door.
“The paint work is kinda sloppy,” I observed.
Edd glared. “Please tell me you did NOT just comment on someone else’s paint job!”
I shut up.
Edd hung the doors while I held the pins. When he finished door hanging, he returned to installing blinds. I inserted the rods. 6 more seconds of work. I grabbed some paper towels and 409 to clean up the dust. My husband dripped with sweat from hard work. I put on my fleece because I was chilled.
“I feel so guilty!” I whined, “I’m hardly doing ANYTHING. I feel useless.”
“But you brought me here,” Edd replied. “I needed to come or I’d be home mindlessly surfing the internet.”
“Yeah, but you know this great feeling you have right now because you are helping someone in need? I’m missing that right now. I’m not sure if this fits in with my weekly goal of helping the less fortunate.”
“Maybe this experiment to learn the “nature of a servant” doesn’t have to be about YOU every week,” my husband retorted. “Without your interest in this, I never would have come here. I would have wasted another Saturday morning when instead, we did some good for someone.”
Judith called a lunch break. That was our cue to depart, but only after she assured me she had enough help that afternoon. Luckily, a lot of willing workers showed up Saturday. The next day would be the grand reveal of the new “Safe Haven.”
|A job well done.
Look at how well that rod hangs from the top of the blind.
How to Help:
Contact information is on Catalyst-Partnerships’ website. Volunteers are required to fill out an application. If you know of a renovation project that could use Catalyst’s help, an application is available for that as well. Our church, Kaleo, will also be doing projects with Catalyst throughout the year. You can check the church calendar for details.