Hands on Jackson

During last year’s Hands on Jackson event, a crew from B.H. Graning Landscapes worked on a variety of projects. From L-R, Keith Reece, Lucas Rosario and Isaac Ramirez work to level the deck before shoring it up and installing a railing on it.

A call for help went out last year and Jackson County responded in a big way.

Organizers of the second Hands on Jackson event are confident there will be a repeat.

“It’s just the spirit of Jackson County,” said Patsy Davis, director of Mountain Projects, one of the agencies behind the event. “It has always been a community where people help each other. It’s heartwarming.”

Last year $10,000 was raised and 200 volunteers came out to assist 35 of their neighbors in need of a helping hand.

This Oct. 3, volunteer crews are set to visit homes across Jackson County to rake, trim and pull weeds, build wheelchair ramps and perform a host of other good deeds.

A kickoff breakfast sponsored by Duke Energy will start that morning at 8 a.m. at the Sylva First Baptist Mission and Fellowship Center, before the teams report to their assigned jobs, said Eddie Wells, director of the Jackson County Department on Aging and an organizer of the event.

The Hands on Jackson Advisory Committee, comprised of county human service agencies, volunteers and businesses, manages the event.

“There are more people involved to make this happen than I can list,” Wells said.

“We’ve had a lot of projects come in,” he said. “There are a couple of requirements on projects. They have to be less than $1,000, they must be completed in one day by volunteers and cannot require any major structural work or require any type of permits. We’re not doing any roofs for liability reasons.”

Painting projects will not be considered because the team learned last year that they take more than one day to complete, Wells said.

But other projects are a go, and for those, “you need two other things – the volunteers and the sponsorships,” Wells said. “We’re really looking for team leaders this year. We’re going to have a meeting with the team leaders ahead of the event so that everyone is on the same page the morning of the event.”

Team leaders with a club, church, business or other group are encouraged to begin organizing a volunteer team now, Wells said.

Other volunteers can sign up at jacksonneighborsinneed.org/hands-on-jackson. Forms can be emailed or turned in to Mountain Projects.

“One thing I want people to know is that we have a job for everybody,” Wells said. “Some people might feel like they don’t have any skills and they don’t want to apply because they’ll get put on some kind of job that they are not capable of doing. We need people at all skill levels, and we’ll find something for them.”

Sponsorships are available at several levels, with a due date of Aug. 1. The Hands on Jackson team seeks 12 House Sponsors at the $1,000 level, eight Hammer sponsors at the $500 level and 10 Friend sponsors at $250. Each level of sponsorship offers differing amounts of recognition and other perks.

Contact Hands on Jackson at 25 Schulman Street in Sylva, at 586-2345 for details on sponsoring the event or volunteering. All sponsorships are tax deductible.