Sorority sisters to help repair houses in Westminster

April 27, 1994|By Mary Gail Hare | Mary Gail Hare,Sun Staff Writer

Sorority sisters from Frostburg State University are keeping up their good work after winning the 1994 Governor's Volunteers Award for Community Service.

About 40 students from Alpha Sigma Tau sorority, which lists several Carroll County residents among its members, will arrive in Westminster on Saturday with tools in hand, ready to help the needy. "We are always interested in service projects," said Jennifer H. Kelly, a Westminster resident and Frostburg State sophomore.

"Compared to a lot of people, we are all privileged girls," she said. "We all have the ability to make a difference."

Katie Shortley, her sorority sister, said she wanted to return to Westminster to help people in need.

"Allegany County might be needier, but Westminster has some places that can be improved," she said.

The sorority has organized canned food drives, toy collections and holiday parties for children. Now it is forming a construction crew.

The young women will join the more than 300 volunteers in Christmas in April, a charitable group that helps keep homes in good condition for low-income, disabled and elderly owners.

"We have grown a lot in the last five years," said Sam Maccherola, coordinator of the Christmas in April project. "We have had an increase in commitment and support. Everyone is pulling together."

The project originally involved 100 volunteers repairing five homes in 1993.

This year, the volunteers will tackle jobs at 20 homes in the county, from Mount Airy and Sykesville to Union Bridge and Keymar.

Each volunteer group -- many of them sponsored by churches or businesses -- donates $1,500 and labor to the renovation projects.

Participating organizations include Carroll County Bank and Trust Co., Baltimore Gas and Electric Co., the Westminster Rotary Club, St. Joseph's Catholic Church in Eldersburg and Faith Lutheran Church in Sykesville.

Wesley-Freedom United Methodist Church in Eldersburg has lined up 50 volunteers to repair two homes in that area. Several home repair businesses, including Hechinger and Home Depot, have donated materials, said Mr. Maccherola.

The groups will do jobs such as installing new kitchen sinks, roofs, windows and floors; painting; repair patching; yard cleanups and plantings.

"Many of the homeowners are elderly and financially unable to make it on their own," Mr. Maccherola said.

The sorority has been assigned to two houses on Charles Street in Westminster. One home was nearly destroyed by fire. Mr. Maccherola said the students are facing a massive cleanup project.

"We don't mind getting our hands dirty as long as we are making a difference," Ms. Shortley said.

William and Janet Kelly, Jennifer Kelly's parents, will house the Frostburg students overnight Friday so that everyone can get an early start on the repair projects the next day.

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