The sounds of hammers and saws filled the air as members from the Kansas City NARI rolled up their shirt sleeves and got to work on their 2014 annual community service project. Meredyth Melcher, NARI Board Chairperson, had suggested helping the Hillcrest Transitional Housing of Platte County in Kansas City —a unique place that offers homeless families free fully furnished apartments, food and education. Hillcrest’s primary objective is to move its residents from homelessness to self-sufficiency within 90 days. Since the Platte County facility opened in 2002, Hillcrest has served 300 families.
“I have been involved with Hillcrest after being introduced to them in the fall of 2008 when I part of a leadership class in my community,” said Melcher. “At that time I learned about the great things the program does. I had driven by them every day completely unaware of the challenges these families were facing. “
Melcher met with the executive director of Hillcrest and identified that six multi-family unit decks were in poor condition and needed to be repaired. The decks were not stable and spindles were missing from the main stairs that the children used to access the backyard and playground area. More than 20 members of the chapter arrived ready to volunteer their time and the needed materials to rebuild the decks, located on two buildings. The NARI volunteers also provided a barbecue lunch for all of the residents of Hillcrest, who watched with interest the transformation taking place.
The Hillcrest project touched a lot of NARI members’ hearts. In about 10 hours’ time, the volunteers had made the two decks usable again, and had the opportunity to meet many of the residents. More than 40 NARI companies donated money, time or materials to make a meaningful contribution to their community. The value of the volunteer labor and donated materials, Melcher estimated, was about $10,000.
In addition to repairing the decks and bringing them up to code, the chapter presented the organization with a check for $800 which enabled them to pay their utility bills.
NARI volunteers’ hard work did not go unnoticed. One of the children presented Melcher with a thank you card signed by her siblings. “Her mother wanted us to know it was all her daughter’s idea,” Melcher said.
“We were so very fortunate that the majority of the material and all the manpower were donated by fellow Kansas City NARI members,” Melcher said. “They provided us with treated lumber, additional supports, new aluminum spindles, fasteners, sakrete and so much more. They also brought great expertise and a true sense of team work.”
The Kansas Center Chapter, which represents more than 275 professional remodeling experts, received a 2014 Chapter Community Service Award which was presented at the Evening of Excellence, held earlier in March.