Chirpy fundraiser for Helping Ministries

Published 12:00 am Monday, March 14, 2011

Looking over the work table covered with newspapers, eight unpainted wooden birdhouses await. Each birdhouse is different, but all share the need for paint and decoration.
“If you feel a kinship to one of these birdhouses, take your pick. We have blue, red, yellow, and gray paint and other items for the birdhouses,” said project co-ordinator Gail Kimball.
Keona Simon, a staff member at Rowan Helping Ministries (RHM), is the coordinator of the New Tomorrows Program. Park Avenue United Methodist Church offers its classrooms for the program.
The RHM guests are offered activities Monday through Friday at the church in Bible study, job preparation, cooking, gardening, yoga, creative arts, creative writing, health issues, and many field trips to places such at the Waterworks.
“Art is one of their favorite projects,” Simon said.
On this day, the art of painting birdhouses is planned.
Kimball’s son-in-law Brian Howell built the birdhouses for the guests to complete. Upon completion, the birdhouses will be sold at the 6th annual Pass the Plate Silent Auction at the Norvell Theatre on April 16 as a fundraiser for the RHM. The project is a way for the RHM clients to give something back to the community.
All of the clients are serious about making their birdhouse the prettiest of the lot.
Patrick Zolfo, who picked the largest of the houses, says he is sure that the person buying his birdhouse will pay $1,000. He covered the large birdhouse with yellow patterned contact paper.
He said that his big yellow birdhouse “will attract a new variety of bird never seen before in these parts.”
He enjoys working on the birdhouse because it is for a good cause. Money from the auction comes back to the New Tomorrows Program.
Working next to Zolfo, Bobby Forbes paints a multi-colored roof on his birdhouse.
“It gives me something to do with my mind rather than being idle time. It gets me moving in the right direction and helps me go forward,” he said.
There is a saying, “When Life Throws You Lemons — Make Lemonade!” on the blackboard behind Aurora Cortez. She quietly paints and adds flower cutouts to her birdhouse.
Bobby Forbes brags on Cortez’ work, telling her, “This one is beautiful.”
Cindy Williams’ birdhouse is painted red with glass crystal balls “on the front porch and around the opening.”
Kimball tells her that the birds who move into the house will be able to sleep well listening to the rhythm of the rain drops on the tin roof on a rainy night.
Two of the houses that Kenneth Smith and Carlos Garcia painted had two glass sides.
Would the birds like a house with glass see-through walls?
Kimball told them those were for “exhibitionist birds.”
Maybe the most unusual birdhouse was a little yellow house with shards of an old, maybe antique, dinner plate glued to the top.
Kimball confessed that she broke an old dinner plate that once belonged to her mother to get the flowered pieces of glass.
Surely someone will treasure that little birdhouse at the silent auction.