Update Sept. 12, 2020:
COVID-19 Unable to Stop Hearts & Hammers Completely
South Whidbey Hearts & Hammers (SWH&H) was forced to cancel its May 2 workday this year due to the pandemic. However, volunteers from the 26-year-old organization, which is based on neighbors helping neighbors with home repairs, have been able to keep that spirit of kindness alive and well, while still maintaining the health and safety of its volunteers and homeowners.
“We recognize this year was unique,” said SWH&H Board President Baz Stevens. “But we want to make sure our community understands what HAS been done, despite COVID-19.”
Stevens said the organization has taken on only the most critical needs of our community.
“We’ve focused on outdoor jobs only and those that are a matter of imminent safety,” Stevens said.
Volunteers managed to install a hot water system for one homeowner where there was none. They also replaced an entire septic system that was not functioning at all.
Additionally, the crew was able to upgrade a gutter system for the health and safety of one homeowner, replace a broken window and managed to safely install two new roofs, all while remaining pandemic safe.
“We are now considering how we can be more creative in our approach in light of COVID-19,” Stevens said.
“The possibility of our volunteer kick-off spaghetti dinner in February looks unlikely, but we are hoping that a May workday might still be possible. We realize that all these events may have to take a different form,” he added.
The board is batting around a few ideas that include virtual fundraisers or a fundraiser outside in a park where spatial-distancing can be easily enforced.
“We recognize that this coming year is going to be different and the ideas continue to percolate among the board members,” Stevens said.
For those homeowners who received a letter of acceptance for the 2020 workday, South Whidbey Hearts & Hammers will be re-contacting you to make sure the need is still there. Those homeowners will not have to re-apply for help with their homes. If you don’t hear from us by January, please contact South Whidbey Hearts & Hammers at (360) 221-6063 to make sure you are still on the list.
For those who have not yet applied for help with repairs to their homes, the application process will begin in September via this website on the “refer a home” page.
The board is also considering the option of assessment by phone for those who apply for help in 2021.
“We are thinking outside the box as we all must do during these strange times.”
What is Hearts & Hammers? (View the Video)
Hearts & Hammers is a local non-profit organization that brings together a community of local volunteers to help repair and rehabilitate homes of those who are physically or financially unable to do the work alone. From its humble beginning in 1994, Hearts & Hammers has grown to an organization with more than 350 volunteers working on an average of 25-35 homes throughout the South Whidbey community. The work day takes place the first Saturday in May. QUESTIONS? CALL (360) 221-6063.
Looking for Central Whidbey Hearts and Hammers? Click here: cwheartsandhammers.org
Who pays for the Hearts & Hammers repairs?
There is no charge to the homeowners for labor or materials. Cost are covered by fund-raising events, donations from individuals, churches and service organizations, grants and donations from foundations and corporations, and by in-kind donations of labor and materials.
Why is Hearts & Hammers Needed?
Maintaining a home can be physically or financially difficult for the elderly, the disabled, or anyone with limited resources. Hearts & Hammers volunteers hope to build a community spirit and compassion while giving neighbors a helping hand.
How to Get Started
If you are a homeowner unable to do necessary work on your home and would like to be considered for our May workday, visit our website or phone. January 31st is the deadline for accepting project applications. A Hearts & Hammers board member will be in touch. Priority is given to health and safety concerns. Homes are selected by the end of March.
How are Hearts & Hammers Homes Selected?
Homeowners can apply directly through our web sign-up page or by phone. We also get suggestions from pastors, senior services, home health care, medical professionals, relatives, neighbors and community organizations. Work assessment teams visit proposed sites to determine needs and see if the work is within our financial and time constraints. Priority is given to health and safety issues. Final selections are approved by the board of Hearts & Hammers.
Who Can Volunteer?
Volunteers can range from highly-skilled to non-skilled, age 12 to 112, and willing to work! Whatever your skill level, we can find a place for you. Volunteer sign-up forms can be found on our website and at local post offices and lumberyards. Watch for our volunteer kick-off Spaghetti Dinner held annually in February at the Langley United Methodist Church.
Hearts & Hammers volunteers do whatever repairs and renovations are possible within the scope of a one-day work blitz, including, carpentry, plumbing, electrical work, painting, roof repairs, weatherization, heavy cleaning and yard cleanup, to mention a few.
The Red Cross provides a free smoke alarm installation service to those in need. To request assistance, please submit a request through their website.
Thank you to the Goosefoot Community Fund for their generous donation of a $10,000 matching grant. Awesome!