BANGOR, Maine — The side deck on the Ronald McDonald House is about 20 years old, and the pressure-treated wood is dry and splintering and becoming a safety hazard. But what could be an expensive project is getting some local help, the house’s executive director said Monday.
Patricia Beckwith said local contractors estimated it would take $15,000 to replace the wooden porch, which connects the outside children’s playground to the eating area of the home-away-from-home for families of sick or injured children in the hospital.
While searching for grants to help pay for the project, Beckwith found a group of local heroes willing to do the job for free.
“While investigating grants on the Lowe’s Web site, I came across Lowe’s Heroes,” she said. “It’s where Lowe’s employees actually go out into the community” to do projects.
Employees at the Brewer store and at each of the other 1,250 or so Lowe’s stores nationwide volunteer annually to do a local project that benefits the communities where employees live, Kelly Giles, human resource manager for the Brewer Lowe’s, said last week.
“Last summer we donated a piece of playground equipment to the Holden School playground,” she said. “This year, we’re rebuilding the deck at the Ronald McDonald House.”
Employees at the build-it-yourself home-improvement company donate their time and the store provides the supplies needed for each community improvement project, she said.
The project to replace the Ronald McDonald House’s old wooden deck with a new one constructed with wood composite is scheduled to start Tuesday, July 28, and take three days.
“Materials cost right around $6,000 and we’re estimating 360 man-hours,” Giles said. “It’s about a $10,000 project when you add the labor and materials.”
The Brewer store is partnering with employees from Lowe’s stores in Ellsworth and Augusta to do the project, she said. Fifteen to 45 volunteers from the three Lowe’s stores are expected to participate.
“We are trying to organize it to get five volunteers each day from each different store,” Giles said. “It’s all-volunteer. They don’t get paid for this. We do it to give back to the community.”
Beckwith said that in these hard economic times, it was a relief to find the Lowe’s Heroes program to replace the unsafe, 2-decade-old deck.
“We’re very glad to get that out of here and reduce that risk” of injury from the splintering wood, she said. “The new [wood composite] decking will never do that.”
To thank volunteers, the Ronald McDonald House staff plans to hold a barbecue on the last day of construction, Beckwith said.