By Tessa Bradshaw
The sound of hammering, raking leaves, chainsaws and weed eaters will fill the Jackson County air on Oct. 14, when Hands on Jackson volunteers fan out through the county to assist those in need.
Hands on Jackson is a volunteer based event that offers opportunities for people who are in need of assistance with projects such as but not limited to lawn maintenance, building accessibility ramps, cleaning gutters and helping around a community member’s home any way that they can.
Due to COVID-19, the organizers were not able to host the event in 2020. They tried to plan the event in spring of 2021 but many people who were in collaboration with the group were hesitant to do it then due to the virus.
“We still have people who need some of this service and that is why we thought we should go ahead and do another one,” said Eddie Wells, director of Jackson County Department on Aging and coordinator for Hands on Jackson.
The event is to look after people and make sure those in Jackson County are being taken care of, he said.
“It’s important that we have events like these that can help those that are in need that maybe can’t be served by other programs or services in the community,” Wells said.
The final day to become a sponsor is Aug. 30 and the final day to sign up as a volunteer is Aug. 31. The reason why the final sign-up deadlines are so far in advance is because they need to plan projects according to volunteers who have signed up and plan around how much money was received from sponsors. This allows them to decide what projects can be done and plan how many volunteers need to be involved with certain projects, he said.
There are three sponsorship opportunities for Hands on Jackson. There are 12 positions available for the House Sponsor for $1,000, eight positions are available for the Hammer Sponsor for $500 and 10 positions are available for the Friend Sponsor for $250.
In the past they have raised over $10,000, had more than 200 volunteers and helped complete 30-35 projects per event, Wells said.
Duke Energy will host an 8 a.m. breakfast at the Sylva First Baptist Church Mission and Fellowship Center for volunteers on the day of the event. The volunteers will work from around 9 a.m. until they are finished, he said.
“Jackson County is just an amazing place and people always show up to support anyone that needs help, so this is kind of one of those events that people come together and help people in need,” Wells said.
Tessa Bradshaw is an intern at The Sylva Herald.