The following information is provided for groups to better plan their day with Widows Harvest Ministries. To schedule a project, call (423) 266-0260, or email us at email@example.com.
We receive all kinds of requests for skilled and unskilled home repairs. Group projects are planned around the age, size, skills and leadership of your group. Some of our projects include:
• Roof patching/repair
• Exterior House painting
• Raking leaves
• Wheelchair ramps
• Step, porch, handrail building and repair
Most groups serve 9:00 am - Noon, however, we love for groups to serve longer, when possible, so that a project is fully completed on the day. We understand when groups can only work until noon but if the project is not completed by then the widow, who often, has already been waiting a long time to get help, will have to wait even longer for the work that has begun to be completed. For groups that plan to stay past lunchtime, please consider eating lunch at the work site. Our preference would be to either bring lunch with you or send someone in your group out to pick lunch up for everyone.
In most instances, Tim English will be leading your project. If you have other skilled leaders in your group, the project may go faster or we may be able to work on two different projects at one time. We recommend having an orientation to our Ministry prior to the scheduled workday, so that the group can meet at the work site and get started. Andy Mendonsa, the Director, or Tim English, The Projects Coordinator will be glad to come, at your convenience, and speak with your group to give more time for actually working at the project site. We will have the materials and tools onsite, however, you may want to bring some of the following items (depending on your project):
• Safety glasses
• Dust mask
• Work gloves
• First-aid kit
• Water cooler
• Hand cleaner
• Personal hand tools
Although, as a group, you will spend the majority of your time doing the actual home repairs, it is equally important not to overlook the widow that you have come to serve. Over the years we have discovered that it is just as important, if not more important, to spend time with the widow who owns the home you are working on as well as to do the actual work itself. Sometimes we forget, in the process of trying to help someone, that the person we are trying to help needs to be affirmed and honored for who they are. One way that this can be done is to have different individuals in your group take the time throughout the day to spend some time with the widow. One of the best ways to get a conversation going is to just ask questions. Once you start asking a widow about herself and show that you are really interested in her, in most instances that is all it takes to begin a, sometimes, really meaningful conversation.
The repairs are free of charge to the widow. The cost of the materials for each project that we do must be raised either by Widows Harvest or the volunteer group. An estimate of the cost would be $50/hour served for yard work projects and $100/hour served for construction projects. If a group desires to raise the specific cost amount for their project, we will supply that information in advance. If you cannot provide any of the funding to help offset the costs for the project that does not mean that we can't work together. We simply offer this estimate of costs for the purposes of potentially meeting a widow's need(s) much quicker, and so that we could be able to help more widows over the course of a year.
We arrived at this simple estimate of costs by considering all the pre-planning required for coordinating work days with groups. For each widow that contacts us with a request for assistance, an initial conversation and informal phone interview is conducted by our administrator, Lisa Eames. Then, an in-person visit by our Director, Andy Mendonsa is conducted to meet the widow, see the needs she has requested in person and determine if volunteers can likely assist with the need. Thirdly, an estimate of the project, including measurements, tools and materials needed is completed by our projects coordinator, Tim English. Once these steps are completed, the widow’s project is added to our waiting list for scheduling with the group that has the time, number of volunteers and skills needed to complete the project and once the materials costs have been raised. Sometimes a need for a widow can be met within a few weeks from the time of her initial request and sometimes it can, unfortunately, take as much as a year to meet those needs. This completely depends on being able to get both the volunteers we need as well as the funds that it will take to meet her needs.
The reason for explaining this process in such detail is to give anyone volunteering with us, and/or considering making a contribution to our ministry, an understanding of the overall costs involved with every widow's home repair need that we attempt to meet. It is our desire to make this process as easy and fluid as possible for our volunteers, and in order to do this a lot of time, energy, expense and discernment is required on our part. Our hope is that on your work day, you will have an understanding of why we serve widows, be able to show up and fill a need she has requested, visit with her and be blessed by her ability to serve you with her willingness to express a need and with prayer for you if she chooses.