01/20/13 — Groups joins National Day of Service to give back however they can

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Groups joins National Day of Service to give back however they can

By Kenneth Fine
Published in News on January 20, 2013 1:50 AM

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Julie Alvarez nails down pieces of roofing as she and other volunteers work on a Habitat for Humanity house on the corner of Pineview Avenue and Laurel Street late Saturday morning. Local volunteers from Habitat for Humanity and members of Genesis United Methodist Church in Cary spent the morning and afternoon working on the new home, which has been under construction since November.

Julie Alvarez swung a hammer.

Ken Klem manned an electric saw.

And Sherry Frye sorted through dirty clothing at the Habitat ReStore.

Dozens of Goldsboro residents -- and even a few outsiders -- participated locally in the nationwide National Day of Service, an event that saw thousands, including President Barack Obama, give time to worthy causes on Saturday.

And for Mrs. Frye, the woman who organized efforts at the ReStore and a Habitat for Humanity build on Pineview Avenue, the hours of labor were "just awesome."

"To me, it was just a wonderful event," she said. "It was wonderful to be able to do this in Goldsboro. I think it looks great for (the city)."

But had it not been for her hard work over the past several days, it might not have been.

In fact, at the beginning of the week, the only National Day of Service event available in Wayne County was a door-to-door canvassing project sponsored by the African American Caucus.

"I'm just not a door-to-door type of person," Mrs. Frye said. "I need something where I can go to a location and really see results."

So she picked up the phone and contacted Habitat.

And when the organization agreed to participate, she hit the phones again -- searching for volunteers to show up at both the ReStore and the build site.

Klem was among those who signed on to participate on Saturday.

He has always wanted to "get up with Habitat," and since he lost his job, he has been itching to give back in whatever way he could.

"This is the best way I can contribute," he said, taking a break from cutting large pieces of material with an electric saw. "I'm on unemployment so I can't make a cash donation, but I've got skills."

Julie was at the build site, too.

But her job -- and motivation for being there -- were different.

She spent much of her Saturday wielding a hammer with her sister, Nicole.

"Our dad comes every month, so we try to come with him whenever we can," Julie said.

Her father, Julio, didn't wait for the National Day of Service to give back to the community.

"We've been coming down here since Hurricane Floyd," he said. "Down here, they put volunteers to work."

Across town, nearly a dozen more were cleaning the ReStore and organizing its inventory.

And while the job might not have been as labor-intensive as those unfolding on Pineview, Mrs. Frye said she was thrilled that so many people took the time to do something for someone other than themselves Saturday.

"In this country, everybody is so sided, so, for me, this event is a terrific way to bring people together for a totally worthwhile and positive cause," she said. "It was just terrific to have all ages, all races, coming together for the betterment of our community."