Community Housing Improvement Project, aka CHIP Inc., will hold its 17th annual Community Cares Day on Saturday, Sept. 7 from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. People are asked to please consider volunteering; preregister online at chipinc.org prior to the event at the Second Congregational Church, 51 Main St., Newcastle.
CHIP Inc. needs volunteers of all skill levels, men and women. There are restrictions for those under 18 years of age, so please inquire. It always needs help with food preparation for work lunches, general volunteers, and, of course, those skilled in carpentry, working on roofs, plumbing, electrical, painting, ground work, and cleanup.
Since 2003, neighbors from across Lincoln County and beyond have joined together to fulfill the mission statement of CHIP Inc.: “Neighbors helping neighbors keep their homes safe, warm, and dry.”
In one home, grandparents take care of their grandchildren. With volunteers, on Community Cares day their floor will be fixed and their deck repaired so the kids can play safely.
A senior citizen needs a cement pad for his oil tank so it is up to building code and deemed safe for fuel delivery by the oil vendor.
Another senior has a leak in the entryway roof.
All of these projects require thoughtful and dedicated volunteers to reach the end goal.
For the past 17 years, over 100 volunteers have signed up on average to repair 10-12 homes of neighbors in need in select towns of Lincoln County, but this year the number of volunteers registered is below past years’ level immediately prior to Community Cares Day.
The late Ruth Ives, of Pemaquid, started CHIP Inc. in 1984 when a couple of families were discovered living in substandard housing: one family in the back of a pickup truck, another in a shack having an earthen floor. She approached several churches and addressed the issue by intervening with the combined resources of church and community members, thus CHIP Inc. was born.
In 2003 Ives announced she would be stepping down from duties as coordinator. Fortunately, two newly found friends to CHIP Inc., Mariellen Whalen and Tom Ward, heard of the need to locate a new coordinator and stepped up to the task. Whalen and Ward tirelessly scoured the countryside mustering up support from all in the local community, learning who were good carpenters and potential crew leaders. They also focused on learning about the clients, the people in need, and substandard housing issues and home repair options.
The added benefit in 2003 was the Community Cares Day concept, which was put into action a few months later in September, on the first Saturday following Labor Day.
Those who cannot participate but want to support CHIP Inc. should consider making a donation to CHIP Inc. to aid in this event and its longstanding service to community.
To contact CHIP Inc., email email@example.com or call 677-3450. The mailing address is: P.O. Box 6, Newcastle ME 04553.
Together, each crew solves the technical problems, looks out for each other, and makes the families worked with feel comfortable. Together, people make a difference in the community.