Fresh paint, fresh outlook: Volunteers to help needy spruce up homes - East Valley Tribune: East Valley Local News

Fresh paint, fresh outlook: Volunteers to help needy spruce up homes

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Posted: Friday, October 26, 2012 9:41 am | Updated: 8:32 am, Wed Oct 31, 2012.

Thousands of volunteers will come together Saturday to put a fresh coat of paint on the homes of those with the greatest need.

The event is part of the 2012 Rock ‘n’ Roll Paint-a-thon put on by Rebuilding Together Valley of the Sun. Volunteer teams will spread out across Mesa, Chandler, Phoenix and more to paint nearly 150 homes and mobile homes owned by the elderly or disabled.

“It’s very self satisfying to give back to the community in a way that helps people who are in need of help,” said Kathy D’Onofrio, who, along with husband Bill, head a team from Boeing. The couple has taken part in the event for nearly a decade, Kathy said.

Dennis Flynn of Rebuilding Together started the house painting project 10 years ago, he said. Wells Fargo is the title sponsor, helping provide paint and supplies. Honeywell, American Express and Boeing also donate supplies, as well as provide volunteers.

“It allows people to do good work in the community. The homeowners are so appreciative that someone came to visit them,” he said, noting the average age of the homeowner is mid-70s. “They don’t get a lot of visitors. It doesn’t seem much to us to paint a house, but it means the world to them.”

Kathy shared the story of one homeowner who sent she and her husband a Christmas card after a painting event and another who spent time talking to a 14-year-old team member, the daughter of a Boeing employee.

“The two of them bonded. Before you know it, she was getting out her high school yearbook, chatting with this 14-year old and talking about her career and path. I think that was probably as beneficial to her as we were painting the house,” Kathy said.

Teams sign up weeks in advance. They’re given instruction and supplies, including volunteer T-shirts, the beginning of October. Some, like the D’Onofrio team, visit a house prior to painting day to power-wash and clean it up.

During the event, Flynn said, neighbors may come out and notice what’s going on. It’s not uncommon for teams that have paint left over to walk next door and do the trim on someone else’s home.

“It’s a day of fun,” Flynn said.

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