Chambersburg Project brings help for homeowners

July 15, 2008|By JENNIFER FITCH

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. -- It was from atop a roof that a 14-year-old boy got closer to God on Monday.

The teenager ripped shingles off a Highland Road home while chatting with a local youth leader about what has been keeping him from church lately. The pair talked over the problem, and the boy thanked Greg Glunt for the help.

"That's what we're here for this week," Glunt responded.

About 150 teenagers signed up for the weeklong Chambersburg Project, a workcamp celebrating its 10th anniversary. Teens and adult supervisors split into teams to tackle approximately 50 home improvement projects throughout Franklin County.

Homeowners submit applications declaring that they are financially or physically unable to do the repairs themselves.

"In this day and age, with everything going up in price, it's really something that an organization like this helps people," said Michael Rollins, who moved into the Highland Road brick home in 1984.


Rollins, 66, heard about Chambersburg Project through a friend who lives in Mercersburg, Pa. The Chambersburg Project's board of directors approved Rollins for a complete roof replacement, which is under way courtesy of assistant crew leader Matt Smith, seven teens and board member Glunt.

"I noticed water in my closet, dripping," Rollins said. "If you're a low-income person, with the Chambersburg Project helping people, especially the way the economy is ... at least things are getting done through the kindness of this program."

Laura Provard, who lives off Polktown Road in Zullinger, Pa., had been catching rainwater in a pot when her roof leaked in the kitchen.

"It needed to be done for probably the past year and a half," Provard said, with the sound of a nail gun popping behind her.

She praised the teenagers for being hard workers.

"They worked all morning, up to about noontime, without a break," Provard said.

Youth slept overnight at Chambersburg Area Middle School and set out for the homes before 8 a.m. Their evening was spent in fellowship with prayer and music.

"I just really like serving the people for Jesus," said Krista Wenger, 16, of Fayetteville, Pa.

"The people you meet and the people that are here are phenomenal. It's the people that make you want to come back," Smith said.

Smith, 20, of Roaring Spring, Pa., has been involved with the Chambersburg Project for eight years. His 13-year-old brother, Jason, joined for the first time and was painting a house early this week.

Caitlyn Helman, 17, of Chambersburg, pushed hair off her sweat-covered forehead and chuckled when she explained why she returned for a second year.

"I actually thought it was really fun," Caitlyn said.

"I did, too. I'm not sure about the roof (work) though," said Meredith Boardman, 16, of Chambersburg.

Benton Mitchell, 15, of Waynesboro, said a thermometer reached 150 degrees one afternoon when he was working on a roof last year. On Monday, he joined new and old friends to pull a broom out of a truck bed after accidentally burying it in debris.

"We dumped all the shingles on top of it. It was like digging through three or four feet of shingles," Benton said.

Chad Yoder, 17, of Greencastle, Pa., again joined Dan Smith, 17, of Mechanicsburg, Pa., on a work team. The boys laughed about an experience in 2007 when Dan was forced to hide in a truck because of his bee sting allergies.

"We were all working on a porch," Chad said. "We walked out and there were hundreds of bees everywhere."

For as much as she enjoys meeting new people, Rebecca Streletz also looks forward to the late evening when each participating church's youth group meets. A dozen youth groups registered for participation this year.

"One of the best parts about it is spending time with people you know and getting to know other people," said Streletz, 18, of Chambersburg.

"I thought it would be wonderful to help out people and do something I had never done before," said Katie Musser, a 17-year-old new participant from Greencastle.

Lindsay Baumgardner, 16, of Chambersburg, felt the workcamp would be the best use of her free time on summer break.

"It's hard work, but it's rewarding," she said.

Provard, who is disabled, described a feeling of elation when she learned that her family had been approved for a replacement roof.

"This has been a real blessing," she said.

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