Editor’s note: The City of Fairborn proclaimed April 17-April 22 as Community Development Week. Therefore, check this week’s Tuesday-Saturday editions of the Fairborn Daily Herald for more information regarding Fairborn’s community development efforts.
FAIRBORN — The City of Fairborn is preparing for its 8th-Annual Christmas in Action project, which means four local homes are getting spruced up — for one day only — by the hands of volunteers.
“It’s a great program — it gets people and communities involved and it becomes a source of pride,” Fairborn Mayor Dan Kirkpatrick said.
Slated for Saturday, May 20 this year, volunteers will meet up at the Fairborn Senior Center to gear up for one day of repairing local homes for individuals in need. Kirkpatrick said they could be low-income and/or elderly and ultimately unable to take on the repairs on their own. Volunteers are given t-shirts, water and food throughout their time of service.
Homes receive repairs such as attaching rain gutters, applying a fresh coat of paint, yard work, replacing faucets, installing lights, repairing wheelchair ramps, securing windows and doors, among other repairs. If at any point during the Christmas in Action project volunteers find that repairs go beyond one day of tender, loving care, they are referred to Neighborhood Betterment Director Missy Frost, who can help them receive Community Development Block Grant dollars in order to complete the job.
“Sometimes we’ll get into a house and while we’re fixing something, the homeowner will have us look [at something else that needs repaired],” Kirkpatrick said. “While we look at that [repair], we realize it’s much bigger than a one-day thing. There’s a tie-in to the [CBDG funds].”
Volunteers are of all shapes and sizes, stemming from local churches, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Wright State University, neighboring communities and/or simply the desire to serve others. Christmas in Action is larger than Fairborn as it is a national organization that started in Texas in 1972. Fairborn’s Christmas in Action project, however, is the only one to take place in the State of Ohio, according to Kirkpatrick.
Christmas in Action’s history involves a name change, originally called Christmas in April. Kirkpatrick said the State of Texas involves weather patterns during April that is most appropriate for taking on house repairs. However, as more Christmas in Action organizations started popping up in multiple states, its name was changed to what it is known as today. The time of year in which the project takes place changed as well as May weather is better-suited for the additional states with local chapters.
Fairborn’s largest Christmas in Action project involved 15 homes and 300 volunteers. Kirkpatrick said at least 100 individuals are committed to volunteering their time to the project this year.
“We’ve had people cry, we’ve had people profusely thank us. Several times, we’ve had ladies who will bake cookies while we’re doing it and provide cookies for people,” Kirkpatrick said in reference to completing the project. ” … I drive past one of the first homes we ever worked on … [and I think] ‘we painted that house, put up new outside lights for them’ and they’re all still there.”
Reach Whitney Vickers at 937-502-4532.