News & Events

Ella's Story - A Paint The Town Success

04/16/14 at 09:11 AM by Jillian Hanes

Ask any volunteer for the Neighborhood Housing Services program, Paint The Town, ™ and they will tell you how rewarding the experience is for them. It’s hard not to get emotional as you watch a senior or disabled homeowner’s face light up as they see the finished product of their freshly painted home.   Over the past 31 years, we have seen many touching stories where this event has improved the quality of life of deserving people.  And Ella’s story is one that exemplifies the purpose of Paint The Town™ – a story of neighbors and community members giving back to a hardworking, 88 year old woman when she could not physically or financially paint her home.                                                                        

Last year, Paint The Town™ received two heart-warming letters nominating Ella to have her house painted – one from her neighbors and the other from her daughter.   Both of the letters confirmed that Ella had lived in her home for over 50 years.  She and her husband had raised their family in this home, and retired together in it until his death in 1984.

Since his passing, Ella’s sole income has been her late husband’s modest Social Security checks and a small savings account.  On a limited budget, she successfully pays her monthly bills with little to spare – insisting that she “pay[s] her own way.”       

This remarkable woman faithfully mows and waters her lawn, plants her own flowers, trims all her trees and bushes, and rakes her own leaves  – even  at nearly 90 years old!  One letter describes her work ethic with this statement, “[Ella] works hard from morning to night, then gets up the next morning – always with a smile on her face – and starts it all over again.”  Yet her day’s activities are not just about freshly cut grass and flowers.  The letters describe Ella as a caregiver too.

While many seniors at her age need care, Ella has been the one to take her sick neighbors food and make them her homemade milkshakes.  She also ‘pet-sits’ for her neighbors, and often spends entire nights sitting up with someone’s sick dog or cat. She does all of these charitable acts, and all she expects in return is a “thank you.”

Due to some health issues and the death of a close pet, Ella lost both her physical ability and motivation to take such impeccable care of her house and yard.  The aging home was also in need of a paint job – further dampening Ella’s self-sufficient spirit.

In appreciation for all of Ella’s hard work and good deeds over the years, her daughter requested that the Paint The Town™ committee send her our “A Team.”  We sent Adam Roe Painting, an experienced team of volunteers to paint her home and install rain gutters for her, and Ella couldn’t have been more grateful!  In her very own letter she admitted, “Prior to being chosen, I’d kind of given up on my house, yard, etc.  Every thing was starting to look rundown.  I was overwhelmed and just couldn’t do anything about it.  Shortly after you all left, I started planting flowers, trimming, and doing things I just didn’t feel like doing earlier.”  The improvements that the Paint The Town™ volunteers made to her home inspired Ella to continue to maintain it the best that she could even after the event and helped her regain her pride of homeownership.

It is stories like Ella’s that keep people coming back to volunteer and local companies sponsoring Paint The Town™ year after year.  This event is not just about the paint.  It is an event that brings co-workers together, allows members of faith-based organizations to serve those in need, and builds relationships between both families and neighbors. 

Since 1982, many Treasure Valley residents have participated in this important event – contributing 442,692 volunteer hours while brightening the lives of 3,110 senior and disabled homeowners.  We encourage you to join our plight this year in revitalizing neighborhoods, preventing potential health and safety risks of your community’s senior and disabled members like Ella, and improving their quality of life.

If you are unable to volunteer your time, Paint The Town™ would greatly appreciate  your support with a donation on May 1st, Idaho’s 2nd annual day of giving, Idaho Gives.  By supporting Paint The Town™ on May 1st, you can help us win extra cash prizes!

For more information about how to volunteer or contribute to Paint The Town™ call 258-6222 or visit our website.  To donate to Paint The Town™ on May 1st for Idaho Gives, visit the NHS Idaho Gives website.

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