It was still early morning when a crew of volunteers for Mission Trip Birdsboro started sprucing up outside Suzanne Pellicciotti’s home in Union Township on July 22.
Pellicciotti, 82, a widow, said she is recovering from her second knee replacement surgery and has been struggling to keep up with yard maintenance.
In just a few hours, the volunteers transformed her property on East Main Street by neatly trimming the grass and trees, and weeding and mulching the flower beds and borders.
“It looks beautiful,” Pellicciotti said. “They did a great job.”
The revamped mission project, themed "Unbroken," was held July 22 to 25.
In order to responsibly assure the health of the community and the volunteers MTB 2020 followed the guidelines of the Pennsylvania Health Department. For this reason, the mission focused on exterior work projects only and did not enter any homes. Despite the limitations, work was still able to be done at 23 of the applicants’ homes.
The effort helps homeowners in the Greater Birdsboro community, who are unable to care for their homes, by providing assistance with simple home and yard maintenance.
A project of St. Paul’s United Church of Christ, 300 W. First St., Mission Trip Birdsboro was begun in 2014 by the Rev. Joseph Motz, then pastor.
When Motz was called to another church last year, he asked church members to carry on the effort, said Ritchie Bowden, a member of the project’s executive committee.
“We have big shoes to fill,” Bowden said. "I am so blessed and proud to be a part of this.”
In the seven years since it started, Mission Trip Birdsboro has grown to include multiple partner congregations, more than 50 sponsoring organizations and has helped more than three dozen Birdsboro homeowners.
About 100 volunteers spruced up 23 properties during this year’s four-day mission.
The church began accepting applications from homeowners in March, Bowden said, noting properties were selected based on available time and funding, the number of volunteers and scope of work.
“We know our limitations,” Bowden said. “For example, we can’t tear off a roof and put a new roof on in four days.”
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, he said, work this year was limited to exterior home and garden improvements only.
“For the safety of our volunteers, the homeowners and residents, we will not enter any of the houses,” Bowden said.
Using her walker, Pellicciotti strolled outside, admiring the volunteers’ handiwork.
By that time, the crew was already working on its next property.
“God bless them,” Pellicciotti said. “I am very grateful.”