FAIRBORN — Christmas in Action is an annual tradition in the City of Fairborn. It affords local seniors and community members in need with the opportunity to receive necessary repairs to their homes by the hands of their own neighbors. This year, the volunteer event is slated for Saturday, May 20.
To recognize the tradition, the City of Fairborn proclaimed Saturday, May 20 as “Christmas in Action Day.”
“Christmas in Action is a 501C3 nonprofit agency that has successfully implemented the tried and true idea of ‘neighbor helping neighbor,’” Fairborn Mayor Dan Kirkpatrick said as he read the proclamation. “The mission of Christmas in Action is to preserve and revitalize houses in communities, ensuring that low-income, disabled and elderly homeowners live in warmth, safety and independence.”
Four homes across the city Saturday will receive a face lift. In the seven years that Christmas in Action has been a Fairborn tradition, 65 homes have been repaired. T-shirts, water and snacks are provided to the involved individuals as they are delivered to the homes by additional volunteers.
“We’re really excited about it because sometimes the homeowner knows they aren’t able to do the repairs — but this helps them, then they have a sense of pride in their home,” Fairborn Senior Center Executive Director Ellen Slone-Farthing said as she accepted the proclamation. “[Having a sense of pride in their home] gives them have a sense of pride in their community.”
Repairs come in all shapes and sizes, being big jobs or small, and could range from attaching rain gutters, applying a fresh coat of paint, yard work, replacing faucets, installing lights, repairing wheelchair ramps as well as securing windows and doors, among others.
Fairborn’s largest Christmas in Action project involved 15 homes and 300 volunteers. Kirkpatrick said at least 100 individuals this year are committed to volunteering their time to helping others. Since its inception in 1972, Christmas in Action on a national level has repaired more than 8,000 homes and involved more than 47,000 volunteers. Christmas in Action was originally dubbed “Christmas in April” because it started in Texas, where Kirkpatrick said ideal weather for home repairs take place in April. However, its name was changed as the project spread across the nation, where May has weather conditions ideal for house repairs.
Fairborn’s Christmas in Action project is the only event of its kind in the Miami Valley.
“[I] urge all citizens to take part in the volunteer efforts to improve the lives of their fellow Fairborn citizens,” Kirkpatrick said.
If individuals are interested in donating their time to the project, volunteers are expected to arrive 7:30 a.m. Saturday, May 20 at the Fairborn Senior Center, 325 N. Third Street and get to work throughout the day.
Kirkpatrick said in a previous interview that if volunteers find during the Christmas in Action project repairs should 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 in a previous interview. “While we look at that [repair], we realize it’s much bigger than a one-day thing. There’s a tie-in to the [Community Development Block Grant funds].”
The Community Development Block Grant is available to Fairborn citizens in need to help fund house repairs that impact the structural integrity of the home, such as the roof, plumbing, doors, windows, electricity, siding — essentially the “main components of the house,” Frost said.
CBDG differs from Christmas in Action as Christmas in Action takes place for one day by volunteers whereas CBDG involves an application and inspection process. Individuals wishing to receive assistance via CBDG can start the process by calling Frost at 937-754-3060 and starting the application process. A city official will inspect and assess the home for the needs and the repairs will start there. Timing for the entire process typically takes four-to-six months, but can vary depending on the type of repair and weather conditions.
Contact Whitney Vickers at 937-502-4532.