At our Annual Community Service Event, we assisted over 150 low income Seniors in our local area who needed help with residential tasks and repairs. This was a no cost event for the recipients, (materials were donated by local vendors or underwritten by Costa Bella Builders).
In our community, many of our elderly neighbors on fixed incomes cannot afford simple repairs that can have a dramatic impact upon their safety and comfort. We were grateful for the opportunity to serve them, and we sincerely appreciate the 70 volunteers who willingly gave their time and effort to participate in the event.
see the 2017 Santa Cruz Sentinel article about the event…
Santa Cruz >>
The elderly got a day of service Saturday during the annual Senior Wish Day, an event that sends volunteers across the county to aid low-income elderly citizens in need of housework.
Roughly 60 volunteers met Saturday morning in front of the office of Costa Bella Builders in Aptos for breakfast and socializing before they dispersed across the county. To Watsonville, Aptos, Santa Cruz and other parts they went, fixing leaks, repairing windows, replacing light bulbs and doing other odd tasks around the house.
Jeff Thranow, owner of Costa Bella, has coordinated the event for years and he said he likes the idea of helping people.
In its 19th year, the event was founded by Thranow when he was walking in his neighborhood and saw a neighbor in need. “It started as just something I thought of because I saw a neighbor … trying to do something,” he said. “He was too old to be up on a ladder and I happened to be out.”
From there, Thranow brought the idea to a men”s group called Team Samurai. The group is comprised mostly of carpenters who liked Thranow”s idea. The group carried the cause for several years before Thranow”s company had to take over sponsorship it because it got too large for a small group to handle.
The requests jumped from a few dozen in the first years to more than 150 this year. While the volunteers will get to about 150 of the requests, there is a guarantee that a few will be left over because of a variety of reasons: Either the job was too large for the volunteer or the person had to leave before the task was completed.
But Thranow picks up the slack, distributing the tasks to other carpenters willing to work beyond the day of service or doing the work himself.
“It is really, for most people, a one-day event,” Thranow said. “But for a dozen individuals, it”s much longer.”
and the 2014 Santa Cruz Sentinel article about the event…
Every year, Santa Cruz County residents lend a hand on Senior Wish Day. The annual events aims to assist low-income senior homeowners with repairs.
While the volunteers have tackled countless electrical, plumbing and cleaning problems through the years, the need for the free repairs continues to grow, said Jeff Thranow, who launched the event 19 years ago with a group of friends labeled Team Samurai.
To date, 120 seniors have requested repairs, while only 35 volunteers have reached out for this year”s event, which kicks off at 8 a.m. May 3.
“If more of our community members were reminded about the situation that some of our elderly neighbors are in, I”m sure that many would be glad to help,” said Thranow, owner of Costa Bella Builders. “This is my hope.”
Last year, volunteers helped repair items in 147 homes for 48 people, but didn”t have the staffing to tackle all 189 requests. And the state of affairs are pretty dire for some residents, said Vitt Castelli, Thranow”s son-in-law and a volunteer for the last seven years. They”ve seen everything from leaks to electrical issues, not to mention basic computer problems.
“A lot of times, you don”t need to be an electrician or plumber to do these tasks that need to get done,” Castelli said. “There”s a wide range, and we need volunteers from every skill set.”
Plus, it”s rewarding to help those in need, said Ray Charland, who has volunteered for the past several years. Even though Charland recently underwent heart surgery, he”s still helping out with phone calls.
“At the end of every day, it felt like I got way more out of it than I put into it,” he said. “How often do you feel like you made a difference in someone else”s life?”