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Volunteers spruce up homes

Calvert County’s 25th annual Christmas in April home repair activities took place throughout the county Saturday.

This nonprofit organization works in partnership with the community to restore homes for low-income families, the elderly and those who are disabled. However, despite being referred to as Christmas in April, the work to prepare for this event lasts year round.

Tracie Peters, one of the house captains, described the effort put into selecting these new projects. “There’s an application process you have to go through. Online you can visit our website, and the application process figures out what the individual needs are. There’s also a list of criteria they go through to determine their situation, and if it’s something we can get a crew to fix,” she said.

Christmas in April, originally starting with 25 houses per year, has grown over the years. This year’s program, thanks to numerous volunteers and donations made by local businesses, was able to restore more than 50 homes throughout the community.

Ruby Foster of Lusby was one of many on the receiving end of these services. She said, “I was very fortunate to have them here” because “sometime next year I’d still be doing all this work, since it’s just me.

Christmas in April has been assisting homeowners like Foster for more than 20 years now, but is particularly known for the amount of volunteer work, especially from licensed professionals, who make the work possible.

U.S. Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md., 5th) visited homes in Dunkirk, Mechanicsville, La Plata and Clinton on Saturday, where volunteers did a number of repairs, including painting, roof repairs, window replacements, electrical work, flooring upgrades and yard work, according to a release from his office.

“I was pleased to stop at several homes in the Fifth District today to see repairs and upgrades being done by volunteers that will preserve homes and help to revitalize communities,” Hoyer said in the Saturday release.

Some of the businesses and organizations partnering with Christmas in April this year included the Knights of Columbus Council 9254, Kiewit, Exelon, Dominion, Patuxent Habitat for Humanity, Arrow Electric, Smithville United Methodist Church, Howlin Concrete, PNC, Southern Maryland Electric Cooperative,

Prince Frederick Dodge and Jarboe Mechanical. Volunteers from other local churches, organizations and school groups also pitched in.

However, as the need for small repairs grows, so does the need for new volunteers. For those who seek to make a difference, the Christmas in April organization is always looking for fresh new faces to join the crew. To inquire about possible volunteer positions, go to www.christmasinaprilcalvertcounty.org, or call 410-535-9044.