Creating your own community-service program

The team at Major Homes, which provides renovation services in the Long Island and Tri-State areas, is constantly on the lookout for ways to give back to the community.

“I have three healthy children—one of whom is [working] in the 94-year-old family business since he graduated college—a great wife, a great company that makes money, great friends, and I live a great life,” says Mitch Kersch, co-owner of Major Homes.

Every so often, he and his son Jason will place an ad in the local paper soliciting requests for remodeling and home improvements that families may need but cannot afford.

Although some companies donate time and money as a way to garner positive attention in the community, Kersch doesn’t do it for the PR value.

“People send us letters, and my son and I read them,” Kersch said. “Some of these letters will bring tears to our eyes, and we do as much work as we possibly can. A lot of times when we put the ad in, people think there is a gimmick, but there is no gimmick. Our recipients cry like babies.”

The charitable work has included free gutter and window installations, siding jobs, second-floor room renovations and even a full kitchen remodel for a family with three sick children.

Of course, when soliciting to provide free renovation services, there is always the chance that someone will ask for help even when they don’t really need it.

“We select people and families that we feel are legitimate and need the work,” Kersch said.

Figuring out who are the legitimate requests is actually easier than it may seem, Kersch said. “You can tell by what people wear, what their homes look like, or the kind of car they drive.”

He and Jason also take the time to talk to some of the people who nominate neighbors or family members to get a “real feel” for what the nominated family is like.

If you know a family in need within 60 miles of the Bayside New York location of Major Homes, you can e-mail Mitch at mkersch@majorhomes.com.—Tanja Kern

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