With the help of 15 National Grid employees, the North Area Meals on Wheels building looks spiffy and new.
The National Grid employees spent Friday March 14 painting the interior of the building on Church Street in North Syracuse. They also gave NAMOW Executive Director Donna Barrett, a check for $250 to help with the expenses of the center, which serves Liverpool, North Syracuse, Clay, Cicero and part of Bridgeport.
Barrett said the help of the National Grid employees was nothing short of a Godsend.
“We had been thinking that we needed to have an open house to let people know who we are and what we do,” Barrett said. “So we scheduled it for May. But first, we really needed to paint — we wanted the building to look clean and sanitized, to really clean it up.”
But who could do the painting? Barrett considered asking some of NAMOW’s volunteers, but they already have their hands full with preparing, packaging and delivering meals.
“I didn’t feel that we could ask any more of them,” she said.
Then came the miracle.
“It so happened that, just after we started talking about this, two girls walked in and they were looking for a service project,” Barrett said. “I couldn’t believe it. They just happened to come in. They were like angels.”
The “angels” were National Grid employees Anita Hogan and Terry Bowen. And it was no accident that they happened into NAMOW.
“There was a time not long ago when I was out of work and I was depressed and down in the dumps,” Bowen said. “I came here and volunteered, and my whole mood lifted. The volunteers here take you in like you’re one of their own, and the folks you help love seeing you. It’s a great organization.”
Melanie Littlejohn, vice president of Bowen and Hogan’s team, thought NAMOW would be a perfect place to conduct a team-building activity and sent the two to scout it out.
“We do team-building activities twice a year,” Littlejohn said. “This year, we wanted to take the opportunity not only to help connect as a team but also to make a difference in the community. Here, we’re doing good and giving back. We’re making this place more beautiful and sustainable.”
Barrett was thrilled to have the team come in and help her out.
“They’re so organized,” she said. “If it had been our volunteers, it would have had to be fragmented. We’d have to do it piecemeal and we’d never get it done. Thanks to National Grid, we’ll have it finished in a day.”
Sarah Hall is the editor of the Eagle Star-Review and the Baldwinsville Messenger. The 2012 winner of the Syracuse Press Club's Selwyn Kershaw Professional Standards Award, she has been with Eagle Newspapers since 2006. She is a Liverpool native.