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100 homes will have a brush with goodness

Volunteers will paint seniors' homes Saturday during the annual Paint Your Heart Out.

By SUSAN THURSTON, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published April 12, 2002

Hundreds of South Tampa residents will grab their brushes and ladders Saturday for the 14th annual Paint Your Heart Out charity event.

Volunteers from local businesses, churches and community groups plan to paint about 100 homes in Tampa for elderly people on limited incomes.

Organizers call it the largest, single-day volunteer project in the area. Up to 3,500 people from Hillsborough and Pinellas counties will take part.

"You'll see some of the these homeowners in tears," said Jerry Hansen, event coordinator since the start. "Some of these houses have gone 15 to 16 years without a new coat of paint."

Crews of 15 to 20 people will scrape, power wash and paint each house traditional white. Homeowners get their pick of five trim colors: gold, gray, green, red or white.

To qualify, each homeowner had to be at least 60 years old, own the home and live on a fixed income. Most have received help through the federally funded Senior Home Improvement Program.

Volunteers will begin work at 8 a.m. A breakfast team will deliver coffee and doughnuts, danishes and orange juice donated by Krispy Kreme, McDonald's and Tampa General Hospital. Most will finish by 3 p.m.

The supplies came from local businesses and chains. Glidden chipped in 1,200 gallons of white paint and 400 gallons of trim.

Hansen said volunteers have painted about 1,500 homes throughout the city, including many in the Ybor City and College Hill areas.

The list of volunteer groups includes several from South Tampa. Among them: AAA-South, Bank of America, Dollar Rent-a-Car, Hyde Park United Methodist Church, Interbay Rotary Club, MacDill Air Force Base, MacDill Federal Credit Union, Port Tampa Knights of Columbus and many Gasparilla krewes.

Beth Paulk, organizer of the Dollar Rent-A-Car team, said it's a great way to help others and have fun with co-workers. They'll head to the home of a widow at Dale Mabry and Spruce Street, who turns 76 on Sunday.

They plan to bring a birthday cake.

"It's a little bit of giving back to your community," she said. "You feel like you've done something good."

-- For more information about Paint Your Heart Out, call 258-4512.

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