On the morning of Saturday, June 12, a small army of community volunteers will help to make a part of Great Bend a better place to live. The 900 block of Jefferson will be receiving an exterior makeover as part of Damn it, Do it Day.
The work will take place from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m, A complementary celebratory block party will follow for those taking part.
“In a short morning with a lot of people who care about the community, we can make a big difference,” said Sara Hayden, president of Great Bend Economic Development Inc. and one of the organizers. “We hope this is not a one-time thing.”
OK, but what is Damn it, Do it?
“The idea is to fight apathy,” said Ryan Fairchild, who also helped coordinate the event. “If you see trash, pick it up. We are basically taking that to another level.”
The concept was born of a national, albeit informal, virtual conference dubbed the Three Day Bender. Conferees landed on a call to action which spawned the Damn it, Do it movement across the country.
The national day is June 9. But that was a Wednesday and local planners thought they’d get more volunteer help on a weekend and moved it to the following Saturday.
“We’re trying to get away from that mind set ‘well, someone should do something about that,” Fairchild said. This is an opportunity for folks to actually be a part of the solution.
Fine, but why this block of Ninth Street?
“Housing is a huge topic now,” Hayden said. “We are in a housing crisis. And, there is a lot of blight.”
This was a way to kill two birds with one stone, she said. They found this one-block stretch that needed attention, and it was an eyesore visible to passersby on 10th Street.
“This is another way for the community to show it cares,” Hayden said. Volunteers will convene in the neighborhood to spruce it up some.
The tasks for the day range from the simple, like lawn mowing and painting, to complex, like replacing siding and repairing doors. “There will be something for everyone,” Hayden said.
Some local contractors have already signed on to help assess what needs to be done. They will also be on-sight to supervise the work and offer assistance.
However, some of these homes have some pretty serious issues, she said. So, they are seeking sponsors to help pay for the repairs.
“Most people don’t let their property fall apart on purpose,” Ryan said. Many of these residents just don’t have the means, ability or resources to make the needed improvements.
The work won’t do it self
To make all this happen will take volunteers, a bunch of them, Hayden said. They have partnered with Volunteers in Action of Central Kansas to coordinate the help.
Those volunteering are asked to bring work gloves, paint rollers and yard equipment if they have them. Organizers ask that owners are sure everything is labeled with their names.
There will be T-shirts available for participants. The cost will be $6 and more information will be released before the event.
One can follow the event on Facebook at www.facebook.com/groups/damnitdoitgbk. One can also call Hayden at 620-796-2407.