For 17 years, the second Saturday of May has typically meant one thing in the Boothbay region. The community springs into action to assist in home improvement projects for low income property owners. Rebuilding Together Lincoln County debuted in spring 2002 tackling a first floor refurbishing of a Lobster Cove house and modifications of an Adams Pond home.
In the ensuing years, volunteers grew from about two dozen to nearly 150 some years, assisting low-income homeowners with a major project like repairing a roof or minor ones like interior or exterior house painting. Volunteers range from project captains handy with a power drill to a novice who can bang out a few nails with a hammer. On May 11, over 100 volunteers assembled at 7 a.m. in the Our Lady Queen of Peace Catholic Church in Boothbay Harbor to receive instructions for assisting 13 Boothbay Region home improvement projects. Among this year’s projects were painting, fixing decks, bathroom alterations, yard work and replacing rotted sills. The volunteers were placed in 13 groups under the leadership of a captain who typically is an experienced builder. “Captains are hard to find because this is their busy time of year. We love them to death, but it seems every year they let us know at the last minute,” said Rebuilding Together board member Sally Barter.
Captains aren’t the only procrastinators each spring. “It happens every year. We never know how many people will volunteer. This year, we had almost 20 sign up, but now we have over 100 in the parking lot ready to work,” said RTLC board member Sarah Giles.
While the bulk of projects are done in one day, others occur periodically throughout the year. Later this year, Rebuilding Together will put some siding on the Boothbay American Legion hall and paint the building’s interior. There is more work done throughout the year to provide resources for the community home improvement projects. Rebuilding Together’s board of directors organizes various fundraising projects which net approximately $25,000 per year, according to Barter.
“We do an annual mailing which raises the most money,” she said. “But there are other projects, too. We do a hot dog and hamburger sale during Windjammer Days, an egg and cheese sandwich sale during the Early Bird sale in the fall, and Soup Bowl Supper from the Rotary, which also benefits the Watershed Center for Ceramic Arts.”
Giles and Barter are both longtime participants in the annual spring home improvement project. At first, Rebuilding Together had a challenging time finding residents willing to seek assistance. But the program became better known. Now it has plenty of projects each spring.
“At first, we had a lot of people too proud which required us knocking on doors to see if we could get people interested,” Giles said. “We’ve done some advertising and now we have requests rolling in. We had 31 this year with a few of them left over from last year. We do as many as we have resources and volunteers for.”
Anyone interested in contributing to community home improvement projects should send a donation to Rebuilding Together, P.O. Box 22, Boothbay Harbor, ME 04538.