Each year, employees at Nexstar television stations across the country take part in Founder’s Day where we volunteer our time at non-profit organizations doing good in our communities.
This year, the staff at NewsChannel 34 will be helping out the Impact Project with its latest project.
Our Reporter Dylan Kuhn tells us about this charitable organization’s humble beginning.
A group that helped elderly community members with things such as picking up groceries and prescriptions was having a little trouble.
Jim Willard Executive Director says “I said what’s going and they said we can’t find any help for Barb McClaren. I said I’ll do it, we’ll get a couple guys we’ll go out there.”
Barb needed help clearing off her porch roof that was being damaged by the excess snow and ice.
When Jim and his crew got there, the problems ended up being much worse than anticipated.
After finding out Barb’s husband had recently passed away and she was on a fixed income, Jim sprang into action.
A couple months later Jim returned with 104 volunteers and made a brand new enclosed porch, re-did the electric work, carpeting, landscaping, and driveway for Barb.
Willard says “At the end of the project there was 3 or 4 of us the original group that went and shoveled the roof. We kind of made a pact. We said wouldn’t it be neat if we got together one a year in Greene New York, and we just picked someone that we heard needed help.”
And there the Impact Project was born.
Since that initial project with Barb beginning back in 2004, the organization has helped 104 families in need across 5 different counties in the Southern Tier with a wide variety of home renovations including, new roofs, plumbing and landscaping.
Each project is completed in just hours and Willard says that’s because of the great volunteers they have.
Willard says “Man or women doesn’t matter. Our youngest volunteer has been 5 years old and our oldest has been 87. So if you fit into those parameters and you can hold a board, you can paint, plant a bush, swing a hammer, whatever it is we’ll take ya.”
Willard says the roller coaster of emotions that you go through as you help a family that truly needs it, makes the ride worth it.
Willard says “At the end we have a ceremony we cut a ribbon it is very emotional. People’s lives have been restored. You just know you made a difference after a project.”
Now with 2 offices, one in Greene and another in Sherburne, and over 3,500 volunteers, the Impact Project continues to grow and Willard says he doesn’t plan on slowing down.
Willard says “If the next 14-15 years is nothing different than the last. You better hang on to your bootstraps because it has been unbelievable to say the least.”
In Greene, Dylan Kuhn NewsChannel 34.
Willard says they do as much as they can but they receive anywhere from 30 to 40 applications a week so their backlog is growing.
You can volunteer or donate by visiting The ImpactProjectGreene.org
Wednesday, we’ll tell you more about the project we’ll be working on, alongside members of the Binghamton Rumble Ponies, to help a Binghamton family.