The homeowners add to the fulfillment! Please volunteer. You won’t regret it.
My wife, Mary, and I have coordinated Paint Tacoma-Pierce Beautiful crews for about 20 years. Our church, Spanaway Lutheran, has painted a house each year since 1990. Does it take work? Yes. Do we find it fulfilling and enjoyable? Absolutely! Each project brings new memories and stories to share.
It’s not just about the paint job. The homeowners add to the fulfillment. One year, an elderly owner surprised our group with a barbecue on paint day. Another year, an elderly woman cooked delicious Filipino Pancit for the group. One homeowner came out of his house with pet flying squirrels clinging to his shirt. Our most memorable homeowner had a guard duck. This Muscovy duck trooped the perimeter keeping unwanted intruders out. He looked scruffy and tough but liked being petted on the head.
Although the owner had little money, she made weekly trips to a local supermarket, where she collected free, expiring food to distribute to her needy neighbors. What a gracious and caring host! Expressions on homeowners’ faces, as they watch their homes transform, makes PTPB worth every minute. They often get emotional, weep with joy, and give us hugs as we leave. We also receive compliments from the neighbors. They love seeing the neighborhood improved. At times, our work inspires the neighbors to start cleaning up their property.
Now for the practical stuff. How much time does it take? Our team almost always completes a job in three Saturdays. We use the first Saturday to pressure wash, scrape and make minor repairs. That often only requires a half day. Priming bare wood and caulking joints usually takes a half day. About a dozen volunteers can completely paint the body and trim in one full day. Our team has a small group of dedicated volunteers that sees a project through from beginning to end. However, we typically get more volunteers on paint day, because that’s the most rewarding day. As a coordinator, this works out great because that’s when I need the most help.
Can a homeowner get the paint for free and do the work themselves? You bet! Parker Paints provides the paint to our program at cost, and Gray Lumber provides discounted supplies. Gray Lumber also sponsors a golf tournament to benefit PTPB. A family team can paint its own home for free as long as they finish the work in the year PTPB selects their home as an approved project. The operation of our program is funded by the cities of Lakewood and Tacoma, along with several local foundations and, of course, individual and congregation donors. Gray Lumber also sponsors a golf tournament to benefit PTPB.
What if I have no painting equipment? PTPB has two pressure washers, ladders and limited scrapers, brushes, etc. to check out. However, when you discover the satisfaction of belonging to PTPB, you may find yourself wandering around the paint supplies aisle at a hardware store getting your own equipment for next year.
Twenty years ago, I started with only a paint brush and a scraper. Now, I have a shed full of equipment.
Please volunteer. You won’t regret it.