tampabay.com

AARP helpers ready Habitat site

By JON WILSON
Published May 14, 2007


Volunteers from the nation's most influential retiree organization broke a sweat and got dirty last week clearing land for a new home for the needy.

Judy Thames, president of AARP Florida, joined about 25 workers at a Habitat for Humanity site at 13269 116th Lane N in Largo.

The volunteers spent several hours raking, weeding, clearing debris and laying down mulch.

"My shoulders are sore, " said Kathy Murma, an AARP Florida spokeswoman who wielded a weed whacker.

The occasion was AARP's sixth annual day of service.

AARP closes its offices across the nation and sends employees and members out to work on projects. It is a "walk the talk" exercise in community service, Murma said.

Tampa Bay members and staffers worked at three Habitat for Humanity sites, one in Hillsborough and two in Pinellas. Another group spent the day at the Willa Carson Health Resource Center in Clearwater, speaking with the public about health and financial security.

Some of AARP's service providers, such as the Hartford, also participated, Murma said.

Among other projects, AARP works to provide affordable housing for people ages 50 and older.