Little Forest Hills resident Linda Calvert cares about her neighbors. She cares so much, in fact, she created a group that provides much-needed home repairs to elderly and handicapped neighbors — for free.
“It’s just a neighborly kind of thing to do,” Calvert says. Residences in her neighborhood often are in need of repairs (many are at least 70 years old), so Calvert, the owner of the home maintenance business Helping Hands Handy Services, Inc., formed the Little Forest Hills Fix It Folks.
“There are 949 homes in this little community, so there is plenty for us to do,” she says. And the roughly three dozen volunteers have done it all — clean gutters, caulk windows, paint houses, install ceiling fans, repair locks and, when a project gets too big, call in the professionals.
“We’ve done just about a little bit of everything,” Calvert says. Their main goal is to ensure that residents stay comfortable and safe in extreme temperatures. They winterize windows in the winter, install solar shades in the summer and have even replaced a couple of air conditioners. The group is funded by donations from the neighborhood association, money raised at fundraisers and raffles, and, occasionally, customers who opt to pay for their services.
“If they give us $20, that’s wonderful; if they don’t, that’s wonderful, too,” Calvert says.
Above all, neighbors donate their time. About 35 people have volunteered for the organization since it was formed in 2005.
“They’re just a great group of people with all kinds of skills,” Calvert says. Most of the volunteers are retired, and none of them are professional handymen, but that doesn’t stop them from getting things done.
“The oldest member on my team is 80,” she says. “I have to constantly get after him to get down the ladder, or get out of the tree.” Also on her team are a “great group of guys who are just handy around the house” and a 76-year-old woman who is “dynamo.”
The female volunteers are just as involved as the men. “We gals get out the hammer and nails and go just like they do. You’d be shocked at what we can do.” And while the volunteers work together to rebuild homes, they also build relationships.
“We’ve all bonded nicely together, and we laugh a lot,” Calvert says. “I’ve made a lot of friends; we all have.” —Meghan Sikkel
• To contact the Little Forest Hills Fix It Folks, call Linda Calvert at 214.327.5508.
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