FIRST TIME EVER: Volunteering on a Big Team Project

Surprises from the Krail Street Rebuild


Eastfallslocal ryans dad group living room

Volunteer’s diary: I expected to wind up bone-tired, and I was.

I was hoping I’d be less fumbling/unfocused than usual, but I wasn’t.

I feared it’d be awkward to fix up someone else’s house, and even felt a little squeamish about the “do-goodie” thing, secretly wishing we could all just pretend everything’s cool: Nothing to see here. Colleen’s fine, we were totally gonna build a house today, anyway…

Eastfallslocal getting started colleen

I had a million other concerns from “How much should I lift?” to “What good am I?” — but then, POOF. All this crap vaporized, when projects got going. People needed me to sweep, clear, hold, measure, mark, carry, find this, tell them that…

It felt good — suspiciously good. Like, this sorta good should be fattening or expensive or possibly illegal in some states. I had to stop myself from constantly thanking Colleen for inviting us over & sharing all this work we got to do together. Cause that’d be crazy.

Eastfallslocal war paint kiss collage

But it was SO FUN! Ryan & Sean, our two project leaders, are former Eagle Scouts* with years of construction experience, so we were like a machine in that house. I’d follow along and after awhile I’d look up:  wow, we’ve made progress, wouldja look at that! 

And we’ll continue chugging along until Colleen & her kids have floors, walls, & basic appliances.

Eastfallslocal daredevil saw lift collage

This determination is palpable on-site, and adds to the fun immensely. It’s an undeniable thrill, to be executing a plan so far outside my skill set. It’s exciting to be a part of bringing a whole home back to life.

And a bit harrowing! We’ve had one nail-in-foot incident (thru a boot, yet) and a sheet of drywall came THISCLOSE to giving me video I could sell to Tosh.0, ha:  Nice catch, Steve!

I’m so enjoying this. Really cool how quickly personalities gel when we’re all on-task, how fast strangers bond into almost a “pop-up family.” In fact, a lot of team members *were* family — even Ryan’s parents got into the action.

Eastfallslocal Gentle Giant moving drywall stairs COLLAGE text

Businesses, too. Andrew & Slaven from Gentle Giant Movers quickly distributed slabs of drywall thru the narrow, twisty halls & rooms of Colleen’s hundred-year-old rowhome. They were also expert drywall hangers, and really nice guys. And funny!

Eastfallslocal Pizzs thank you collage text

Wasn’t all work, either: we had lunch! Not just any lunch, but the best kind of lunch there is — FREE LUNCH! Specifically, a whole buncha delicious pizza from Golden Crust on Saturday and Couch Tomato on Sunday. (BTW, Pizza is my food of choice if I’m ever stuck on a deserted island with only one thing to eat for the rest of my life. If anyone’s asking.)

Eastfallslocal chicks collage

Most of the sheet-rock hanging’s done — as that finishes up this weekend, we’ll be moving onto skim-coating & then sanding/priming. All hands on deck for all kinds of unskilled labor you can lose yourself in for awhile. Before you know it, you’ll be glowing with gratitude, too, for this opportunity to do something big with your time!

As I said earlier — I expected to feel bone-tired.

I did NOT expect to feel:

and thoroughly entertained.

So buzzed, frankly, that I did! Totally recommend the experience for anyone open to the fun of a good old-fashioned Barn Raising — East Falls-style.

Eastfallslocal get in here

WANNA HELP? Call or text Felicite at 405-503-0035 or just show up at 3325 Krail Street this weekend ready to work! Teams’ll be plugging away from 10 am to 5 – 6 pm both Saturday and Sunday, come on by to pitch in or drop off tools we can use or just show your support.

For those of us who prefer to throw money at good causes (you know who are), Team Colleen’s GoFundMe account is half-way to our goal, every little bit helps boost morale & get us dreaming about finishing touches like paint, appliances and maybe even a kitchen table.

Eastfallslocal Say cheese team colleen 100 more camera

Welcome cub photographer/videographer Finn Moorman, adding his unique perspective to our documentation of this tremendous neighborhood-wide effort! 

* PS  speaking of “scouts” — this rebuild is the first service project for East Falls’ new BPSA scouting troop, the #42 Philly Makers.

Eastfallslocal Finn photographs team 3rd floor



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