Volunteers with Project W.A.R.M keep community cozy
Heating and air conditioning are both things that a lot of people take for granted – until they don't have them.
For a lot of folks, that means a visit from a repair person. For some, unfortunately, braving the cold winter nights and humid summer days are just a part of life.
That's where Grace United Methodist Church's Project W.A.R.M. comes in. W.A.R.M. stands for Weatherization and Repair Ministry, according to project manager Buff Waters.
Waters, along with Caroline Dennis, headed the project on Murrah Road last week.
“We work in conjunction with the United Way; they have a project they call Project VISION, where people basically apply for repairs to be done to their homes,” Waters said. “They are mainly weatherization repairs to keep in the warm in the winter time and cool in the summer time. That includes any roofing leaks and wall repairs. It's not home restoration at all, it is simply to repair it to a state that is livable for most people.”
Waters said this is the fourth time the ministry has done a W.A.R.M. project. He said the number of individual projects was in the neighborhood of 16 to 20 over the past four years.
“It's a great ministry to be involved in,” Waters said. “You don't have a to be a member of Grace United Methodist Church if you want to come out and join us. It's all volunteer work; you don't have to be any kind of expert in anything. You're more than welcome to come out and pick up shingles off the ground. We welcome any and all professionals, of course, because we sometimes run into things that we aren't professionals at.”
“We're grateful for the partnership we've developed with Grace UMC,” said Tammy Davis, director of community investment/Project VISION with the United Way of Aiken County. “It's partnerships like these that helps the United Way impact the lives of so many in Aiken County.”
On Friday, the volunteers ran into a problem with gas lines.
“This project involves extensive roof repair, Sheetrock repair on the inside and we are trying to figure out a way to do away with some of the old gas units she has in the house,” Waters said. “While they aren't dangerous, they are obsolete, so there's no need for them to be in here. She also has a couple of windows that do not operate properly. Past that, we're going to make it as weatherized as we possibly can.”
Waters said during this cycle, there were approximately six weeks' worth of planning. That requires scoping out the location and figuring out the materials.
“We are going to continue to do this as long as we are allowed to, and the funds do not dry up,” Waters said.
There are some cases where Project VISION does not sign off on a project. Waters said at Grace United Methodist Church, the United Methodist Men and Project W.A.R.M. then have to take on any and all responsibility and material costs. If possible they try to avoid it, simply due to limitations; however, if a need is determined to be there, then every effort is put forth to try and meet it.
For more information on Project W.A.R.M. and other adult ministries at Grace UMC, visit www.gotgraceumc.org/adult-ministries. For more information and to get involved, call Davis at 803-648-8331.
Scott Rodgers is the news editor at the North Augusta Star.
and has been with the paper since January 2013 after previously working at the Aiken Standard. Follow him on Twitter @NAStarRodgers.