Barrington-area volunteers help 4 families affected by hurricane

Four low-income Houston families affected by Hurricane Harvey were beneficiaries of a Barrington-area relief effort that entailed community donations and about 20 volunteers who spent eight days making home repairs and performing other chores.

About $60,000 in cash and supplies were contributed to Barrington Regional Hurricane Relief. The project was operated through the Build Team nonprofit organization in Barrington, which business owner John Dawson started to assist local families in need with essential repairs so they can stay in their homes.

"It couldn't have been used more efficiently, when you've got free labor and we watched the expenses, every dollar, being spent for materials," volunteer Bob Lee said of the hurricane relief donations.

Lee, a Barrington resident, and the other volunteers have been reflecting on their eight days in Houston, which began Nov 10. He said new friends were made on the trip and that the volunteers returned home with a broader sense of awareness by going beyond their comfort zones to help others in need.

About 40 community groups, businesses, nonprofit agencies and governments in the Barrington area backed the Hurricane Harvey rebuilding effort with the volunteers and other support. Houston's BakerRipley, a 110-year-old nonprofit community development organization. directed the Barrington group to the four low-income families that needed the help to fix their homes.

Tom Malia of Barrington worked in Houston by running errands mostly to Home Depot stores for building supplies. He said it was a rewarding experience.

"When you can sit down with the homeowner and see the impact on their life, it definitely makes it more rewarding than just writing a check to some anonymous organization," Malia said.

Most of the volunteers slept at St. Martin Episcopal Church in Houston. Two of them cooked for the group.

"The mixture of people worked out perfectly," Lee said.

North Barrington philanthropist Vince Foglia's family foundation matched the first $25,000 in donations that were raised for the rebuilding. The money went directly toward the construction and materials that'll organizers said were purchased in Houston to help the local economy.

Barrington-area volunteers heading to Texas to repair homes for hurricane victims

United Airlines flight attendant Christina Perillo does wiring on a home in the Houston area that was badly damaged by Hurricane Harvey. She heard about the Barrington area volunteer effort from a co-worker and said she wanted to join in. Courtesy of Bob Lee
Volunteers from the Barrington area remove debris from a home badly damaged by Hurricane Harvey. About 20 volunteers spent eight days making home repairs and performing other chores on four hurricane damaged homes. Courtesy of Bob Lee
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