EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

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April 22, 2014

Rebuilding Haverhill and its neighbors

Annual event Saturday to repair homes of seniors, disabled and needy families

HAVERHILL — For the 21st year in a row, volunteers will fan out Saturday across Haverhill and surrounding communities to make free repairs and improvements to homes of low-income senior citizens, disabled people, veterans and families with children.

This year’s Rebuilding Together Greater Haverhill event is targeting 11 homes in Haverhill, Groveland, Merrimack and Plaistow, N.H., said Michael McGonagle, a city councilor and president of Rebuilding Together organization. The group plans to make repairs to another four or five homes this summer, including a home in Georgetown, McGonagle said.

Typical projects include repairing roofs, fixing electrical and plumbing problems, installing energy-efficient windows, cleaning yards and building handicapped accessibility upgrades such as ramps and handrails, McGonagle said.

The all-day event begins at the Haverhill Lodge of Elks, where volunteers will be treated to a buffet-style breakfast including eggs, sausage and pancakes before heading to job sites. The lodge at 24 Summer St., across from City Hall and the Public Library, opens at 7 a.m. and breakfast ends at 8 a.m., McGonagle said.

The local Rebuilding Together group, which is an offshoot of the national program by the same name, specializes in home repairs, accessibility improvements and energy-efficiency upgrades for people who meet federal low-income guidelines.

More than 100 volunteers have pitched in with past Rebuilding days. McGonagle said the group is still looking for more help with this year’s jobs.

“Anyone who can sweep a floor, swing a hammer or clean a window can help,” McGonagle said. “And we need more skilled contractors too. The hardest thing we do is when we have to refuse someone who needs us. But it all depends on how many volunteers we have and whether they have the right skills to match the job.”

Anyone interested in helping should call the organization’s office at 978-469-0800 or show up at the Elks Lodge Saturday morning for breakfast, McGonagle said.

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