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What a Difference a Day Makes

How long would it take you to repaint a house? Clean up a yard and replant a garden? Fix a fence – and repair plumbing? For a group of more than 50 AARP Massachusetts volunteers, the answer is just one day.

See Also: Turning a House into a Home

As part of Rebuilding Together Springfield’s commemoration of the June 2011 tornado disaster, the group transformed the home and yard of Doris Work, a 90-year-old homeowner and lifelong Springfield resident. They spent the day painting, removing damaged trees, trimming bushes, mulching and planting flowers.

“When you hear about a 90-year-old trying to stay in her home, you want to do everything you can to help her,” said volunteer Carolyn Schreiner of Southampton. “There’s such a good spirit here today. None of us know each other – and we all come together, to quietly do good for someone else.”

About Doris Work

Widowed eight years ago, Doris maintains her independence with help from her children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews. Already having trouble handling the upkeep of her home and its sprawling gardens, last year’s tornadoes and winter storms left more than 14 trees downed in their wake.

“My mother feels like she won the lottery with all the help we’re getting from AARP and Rebuilding Together,” said Doris’ daughter, 60-year-old Springfield school teacher Shelley Pimm. “My parents worked very hard all their lives, and never took any kind of assistance. But, no matter how much you plan, when you get to be 90, you may need some help.”

“People Helping People”

AARP Massachusetts volunteers shared their reasons for getting involved in this day-long project:

  • “I wanted to help rebuild Springfield,” said Barbara Irving of Amherst. “I have a 91-year-old dad who was a veteran and loved his house and his garden – much like Mrs. Work.”
  • “I like the idea of people helping people. It’s like the way things used to be,” said Margaret Carra of Southampton.
  • “I’m 75 - I wanted to be helpful to the elderly lady. She needs the help,” said Gertrude A. Comtois of Granby. “I was lucky in the tornado – we were so blessed.”

About Rebuilding Together Springfield

Founded in 1992, the Springfield affiliate of Rebuilding Together has helped hundreds of homeowners throughout the city.

Rebuilding Together is the nation's leading nonprofit with 200 affiliates working to preserve affordable homeownership and revitalize communities, and performs free critical repairs, modifications and rehabilitation to the homes of families with children, the disabled, military veterans and the elderly.

“Like” the AARP Massachusetts Facebook page, and check out photos of our volunteers hard at work.

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