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Christmas in April ... for neighbors who need help.

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Neighbors pitching in to help others-it's the kind of hands-on voluntarism that feels good and nets results in a short time. Helping neighbors in one-day annual efforts is a growing national volunteer force called Christmas in April*USA.

The idea started in Texas some 20 years ago. By 1990, volunteer groups in 43 cities in the East and Texas participated in an intensive day of home maintenance and repair. The events attracted everyone from CEOs to housewives, contractors to students. And on that same Saturday last April, groups in the West took part for the first time; San Francisco and San Francisco Peninsula chapters each drew more than 500 participants.

To organize the peninsula event, the Palo Alto Junior League joined with neighboring cities, service organizations, businesses, contractors, and

building associations to gather materials as well as skilled and unskilled labor. Groups worked on 14 houses belonging to low-income families, the elderly, or the handicapped. Also renewed were four community buildings suffering from budget cuts. While unskilled volunteers did painting and cleanup, professionals donated their skills for plumbing or electrical repairs.

This year on April 27, more than 140 houses in the West-from Bremerton and Seattle, in the Northwest, to Sacramento and Monterey Park, in California-are scheduled for improvements. In addition to donated supplies and labor, Christmas in April establishes sponsorships by businesses, service clubs, and trade organizations.

These groups gather teams of 20 to 25 and funds for supplies.

If you'd like to participate or set up a similar program, write to Katrina Wollenberg, 555 Ravenswood Ave., Menlo Park, Calif. 94025.
COPYRIGHT 1991 Sunset Publishing Corp.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1991 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Community Action
Publication:Sunset
Date:Apr 1, 1991
Words:262
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