Incredible value in free painting

July 13, 2009 4:10:02 PM PDT
Close to fifty homes across Philadelphia are being fixed up for free this week with the help of hundreds of volunteers. Neighbors hope the biggest changes will come after the fresh coat of paint.

It might just look like your average housework. But for longtime residents of this Germantown block, it's a whole lot more.

Eloise Williams has given herself a front row seat to watch that change. Her home is one of 45 across Philadelphia where the Salvation Army and the Christian group World Changers are doing repairs for free. As Eloise's son explains, it's been difficult and costly for his mother to keep up.

"The paint has been peeling up there, and they're going to repaint it," Jed Williams said.

Sprucing up these facades in the summer sun is not the only part of the job description for this mostly-teenaged group of volunteers. Spreading hope is the other.

"Our main goal is not to work on the houses because one day these houses will fall down," Josh Turner of World Changers said. "But if we can reach these people's hearts and souls, they will live forever."

All this painting, scraping, and hard work isn't just a one day affair. Crews will be out in all week, making the homes more beautiful, and hopefully making the changes these neighbors are hoping for.

Laura Selby of Germantown told Action News: "When your property is fixed up, it makes you feel better about yourself."

And as Eloise surveys this progress, she hopes it will plant the seed for more. "When people see what you're trying to do to improve your neighborhood, they do the same."

So while this labor might come free, for people who live here, the change is invaluable.

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