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Chambersburg Project starts new home improvement outlet

August 11, 2003|by DON AINES

chambersburg@herald-mail.com

NEW FRANKLIN, Pa. - For the past six summers, the Chambersburg Project has been improving lives in Franklin County one home at a time.

Now, those who are remodeling their homes can be a part of the project by donating used or leftover building materials to the New Life Home Improvement Outlet.

Last week, Chambersburg Project Director Tim Moran and other volunteers were unloading trailers of materials into the former New Franklin Volunteer Fire Co. building at 2395 New Franklin Road.

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"We have another trailer load of toilets to come. We have a trailer of windows," Moran said.

Renovations to a local church were providing the outlet with a plethora of old building materials and fixtures, he said.

A cast-iron and ceramic wash sink made in 1969, bricks from a torn-down outdoor barbecue, an old storm door and a used fiberglass bathtub were among the donated items starting to crowd the old firehouse.

"It's going to be pretty cramped," Moran said. "I think we're going to fill up the place by the end of next week."

Not everything donated is used, according to Moran.

"A lot of that stuff was donated by Habitat for Humanity," he said of the group that builds homes for low-income, first-time home buyers. There were sets of still-boxed faucets, exterior lights and other fixtures in the firehouse.

Opening day for the outlet is Sept. 1, according to Moran. The store will provide two ways to help rehabilitate housing in the county.

First, those who cannot afford, or do not want to pay, for something like a new set of kitchen cabinets may be able to find what they need at a low price. Second, the money raised will be used to help fund work camps sponsored by the Chambersburg Project, according to Brandon Barnhart, another volunteer.

In July, 115 youths and 50 adults from about 30 area churches completed 44 home projects in one week. Barnhart said most were relatively small jobs, but volunteers tackled projects as big as roof replacements.

"Bringing help and hope one house at a time is our motto," said Barnhart, who works for a supermarket chain.

The people they help are too poor, too old or too disabled to do these jobs themselves, according to Moran, a former policeman. By fixing a leaking roof, building a ramp or replacing drafty windows, they can stay in their homes longer.

"We're now a full-time, 365-day-a-year operation," Moran said.

If the store is a success, it will allow the nonprofit corporation and its volunteers to rehabilitate more homes throughout the year, he said.

The Chambersburg Project also has been working with the Franklin County Builders Association and contractors for leftover supplies such as paint, siding and lumber, Moran said. Anyone doing home remodeling also is encouraged to donate used fixtures and materials.

"We'll come pick it up," Moran said.

For more information about the Chambersburg Project or to donate materials, call Moran at 717-261-1828.

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