Organizers prepare for project's Blitz Day Oct. 25

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By Sharon Graves

As fall approaches, most people work to get their homes ready for winter.

But for many elderly people in Carroll County, preparing for winter is almost impossible.

That’s where a project organized by the Carroll County Ministerial Association and staffed by volunteers can help.

Project Comfort “Blitz Day,” this year set for Saturday, Oct. 25, offers weather-proofing and home repairs to seniors who have trouble paying for heat and other utilities.

Volunteers meet at First Baptist Church for breakfast, instructions and to choose from the 15 homeowners who have requested help.

This year Project Comfort has partnered with the Northern Kentucky Community Action Commission and is working with that group’s weatherization program, said community services supervisor Vickie Kemper.

Volunteers will meet at 8 a.m. on Saturday at the First Baptist Church in their fellowship room in the basement. Projects will be listed on a chart where volunteers can look at what needs to be done and how they can best help.

There will be a continental breakfast and sack lunches available for the volunteers as in the past.Volunteers can come individually or in teams. All tools and Supplies needed will be provided, White explained.

“Everybody that shows up works,” event organizer and First Baptist Minister, Chris White said. “Everyone is needed to hang plastic, caulk windows and doors and do light cleaning. This year the Boy Scouts will be cleaning up yards.”

Rita Westrick, a utility billing supervisor with Carrollton Utilities has served on the board of Project Comfort since its inception and says the project is going great this year. “It’s a lot smoother since this is our third year,” Westrick said.

We are doing some bigger projects such as wheel chair ramps and blown insulation in addition to caulking and hanging plastic, Westrick explained. “We are broadening our horizons.”

The board meets year round, according to White, to co-ordinate the efforts needed to winterize and improve the comfort level of the homeowners in the county. They have six auditors who go into homes, to determine what needs to be done and how best to help the homeowner.

“We will be applying for non-profit status as a 501 3-C organization after this blitz day,” White said. We are working with the Northern Kentucky Community Action Commission to connect these senior homeowners with grants to do larger projects in the future.

“We are working with the Kentucky Housing Corporation on their Houseworks Repair Program,” Kemper said. “It is a matching program and helps to do more major projects on homes. The match is a 50 percent match, but that can include labor and materials and the homeowner can get creative on this grant.”

The group receives donations from individuals and corporations and are grateful for that help. Grant money would allow the group to take on bigger projects such as windows and insulation that are needed, but expensive, White explained.

Several local contracting firms have donated the services of their crews for the Blitz Day, and several other contractors are also donating time to lead volunteers through the repairs.

“This is a whole community project and I wouldn’t be putting this much energy into if it wasn’t a good cause,” Westrick said.

“I’ll be here and I’ll do whatever you need me to do,” said Kemper. That sentiment seems to permeate the entire project.