Neighbors helping neighbors next Saturday

By KAITLYN NAPLES
STAFF WRITER
Next Saturday, over 50 volunteers from Saint Gregory the Great Church will be gathering at 173 French St., to help make the Botteons’ home a better place.
Last year, Deacon Stanley Piotrowski attended the Social Justice Conference at St. Paul Catholic High School where he learned about the HomeFront project, a home-repair program based in Stamford.
“It is similar to Habitat for Humanity,” where individuals who can’t afford to make repairs to their home would qualify to possibly be part of the project, Piotrowski said.
This is the first time since its inception in 1988 where the HomeFront project will be doing work in Bristol. Piotrowski said he spoke with parishioners at Saint Gregory, and throughout the community to find a family that would benefit from the project. Al and Bonnie Botteon, of French Street, will have several repairs done on their home on May 4, like new windows, doors, lighting, painting and yard work.
“There are so many people who can’t afford to make even basic home repairs,” Piotrowski said, adding that anyone who benefits from the program must fall under a certain income level to even be considered.
The Saint Gregory parishioners raised $2,250 for the project, which goes to HomeFront to re-supply its warehouse for other projects. On average, a homeowner benefitting from the project will receive about $4,600 in work done. Piotrowski said he asked around for volunteers who were skilled in many different areas, and also for anyone who was willing to assist in the project.
“The response for volunteers has been remarkable,” Piotrowski said, adding that he thinks this was a good project for the parish, and community, to participate in because it gives volunteers “the opportunity to step up and help someone else, in their own community, in need.”
Piotrowski said HomeFront has served about 2,600 homes in Connecticut and New York in the last 25 years, and he said he hopes Saint Gregory, and other organizations, will utilize the project again.
According to its website, HomeFront receives nearly 500 applications each year, and applicants are chosen on a basis of need, skills and the number of teams and funds available. Applicants must follow a variety of guidelines, like being the owner and occupant of the home being considered, and must live there for five years after the repairs are done.
The work will take place at 173 French St., Bristol on Saturday, May 4, from 7 a.m. to about 5:30 p.m.
For more information on HomeFront, visit www.homefrontprogram. org.