As Simple As installing A Light Bulb


Last updated 8/21/2014 at 9:19pm | View PDF

Photo courtesy of Hands in the Community

Volunteers help with various tasks, such as moving large appliances or furniture.

As the local population ages, and the unemployment rate continues to hover around 11% in Tulare and Kings Counties, there are those living in our cities and towns with ongoing needs or emergency situations that require help from area agencies and nonprofit organizations.

Hands in the Community is one such nonprofit, an organization started in February 2008 by Lester Moon, who had relocated to Visalia after working in the biopharmaceutical industry in the Bay Area, along with several nonprofit organizations there.

In its first year, Hands in the Community received more than 300 calls for service from throughout Tulare County, ranging from replacing light bulbs to building handicap ramps, completing 12 projects that required help from multiple individuals. Although it does provide direct services to those in need in some situations, the organization many times serves as the solution creator by cultivating new volunteers and donations of time or materials from local businesses to make the solution happen.

Last year, Hands in the Community helped more than 850 people and completed 152 projects, and the number of calls is expected to grow as its Christian-centered service becomes better known. But the need for volunteers grows right along with the calls for help.

"We need help with everything from taking calls in our office from those needing help, to those who can provide direct services such as driving an elderly or disabled person to a doctor's appointment," Moon said. "We aren't here to replace or complete with other agencies like The Red Cross, Visalia Emergency Aid or the United Way. In fact, we collaborate with them to provide solutions for those in need who call us seeking help."

The most acute needs currently are for contractors, appliance repair technicians, air conditioning repair, and those who can provide handyman services, anything from replacing light bulbs to loose hinges, door knobs or latches.

Photo courtesy of Hands in the Community

Volunteers are also needed for to help with basic office tasks.

"We have 12 positions that are ongoing in the office, and some of them aren't being done right now," Moon said, adding that help with tasks such as regularly posting to their Facebook page are among the many tasks they need help with. Additionally, someone is needed who can help with writing and photography.

While the tasks inside the office are varied and growing, helping those in the community in need is the ultimate task at hand. "The majority of people we service are widows, and they just lost their handyman," he said. "Others are people who own a home that need help with something that they can't do anymore because of physical limitations. There are calls for help that will take longer for the volunteer to drive over to the house than it does to complete the task."

On larger tasks, Hands in the Community works with local businesses that can provide small teams of people that can help complete a project. For more information about volunteering, contact Hands in the Community at 625-3822.


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