A Strong Community makes US All Stronger People

A Strong Community makes US All Stronger People
by Hope Cucina

The REuse Center staged its fifth annual Earth Day Celebration on Saturday, April 16, 2005. Members and families arrived at 8AM to begin the volunteer workday, which has become known as the potluck cookout. They worked hard in the sun, bending and stretching with tools in hand. They gathered together at noon to share a meal that was organized by Green Thumb Worker Charlotte Ratcliff and The Board of Directors Members: Della Buscher, Gerald Reed, John Kirkpatrick, along with Dave Hott who provided many snacks. Returning to team efforts with full bellies and smiles they completed tasks until 3PM. In addition, every family that volunteers 12 hours per year gets 50% off every purchase they make in August and January. A win/win situation, REuse Center's labor cost is reduced which means prices are lower and the savings is shared with volunteers.
The day began as Mary Chalupka and Hope Cucina took photos of team members and "before" shots of the areas that would soon be altered by these caring people. Team Leader Rhea Jay along with Bob Hargett, Abbey Porter and Antonia Bayer-Fox built the fence of oak pallets. The fence closed off public assess to the back parking lot, which has been the source of thief's entering in the night. Laurel Peele, paint team coordinator, worked with Mary Chalupka, Gerald Chalupka and Abbey Porter painting the interior of a 14 x 70-foot storage trailer. The trailer was donated after a fire rendered it unfit for use. Thanks to the team it is cleaned and painted and very useful. Some rehabbing was already taken place in order to display window sashes, medicine cabinets, baseboard heaters and such in "library book shelf" fashion.
A "People Fence", which marks the end of the parking pad, was constructed by Christine Ladd and Steve Kaldes while Ayle Heafer weeded and trimmed the plot under their feet. Student Ryan Mowery and member Billie Mallot created "art people" using scrap metal, wood, and discarded junk. Jack Reed, Sr. repaired a floor and installed new vinyl floor covering to make an inviting entrance into the trailer show room of "doors, duct work, linomiun and carpet". Jack had to retro-fit many years of patching and mismatched flooring, which was a long time challenge for REuse Center members, but Jack made it safe and pleasant looking in just a few hours.
The Warehouse Team Leader, Gerald Reed, cheered his crew, Sandy Johnson, Jerry Mowery, and Roger Mowery, from the concrete floor to the top of the ceiling, literally climbing the walls. Shelves were refurbished, restocked, and reused to enable easier shopping and eye-catching displays. The Garden Team, Hope Cucina, Della Busher, John Busher, Roland McCusker, Rose Drew, Jim Slater, Marge LaLiberte, Ayle Heafer, Brian Wheeler, Kim Wheeler, and Amanda Wheeler, cleared, cleaned, and cleverly planted hundreds of flowers, bulbs, and seeds in addition to boxwood and 70 lilac bushes along the Rail Trail. Anne Hepburn, Hope Cucina, Rhea Jay, Della Buscher and Home Depot donated the native plants. Shirley Remsburg and Christine Ladd cleaned and sorted scrap metal destine for the recycling center, which will generate income to maintain REuse Center equipment.
The yard team, lead by Father John Kirkpatrick, Sr. (newest REuse Center Board member), guided his crew or other wise known as his five children' John Kirkpatrick, Jr., David Kirkpatrick, and big sister Robin Witte, big brother Stephen Witte and biggest brother Tim Witte in such a graceful flow over the entire property line inside and out picking up trash that had been thrown to the winds and along the Rail Trail.
The day ended with everyone saying good-bye to newfound friends, feeling accomplished and knowing that they made a big difference in so many ways. The proof is in the many photos taken before, during, and after, which will be mailed to each volunteer.
If you'd like to become involved with the REuse Center or would like more information, call 301-678-6160.