2011 MLK Service Project

2011 Photo Gallery

We entered the week leading into the Jan. 15-17, 2011, Martin Luther King Jr. Service Project with much trepidation following the snow and ice event that had brought the metropolitan area virtually to a standstill. On Saturday morning, ice still covered the streets, sidewalks and parking lots and ice-coated snow blanketed yards.

We were concerned whether we would have enough volunteers to make repairs at the homes selected for the project, all in and around the Oakhurst area. If yard work volunteers came, we wondered if they would even be able to rake and to do other yard work.

Thankfully, the weather began looking up. On Saturday, a small army of volunteers went to homes to make repairs. Other volunteers who had come to rake yards worked instead to remove snow and ice from walkways and ramps at senior citizens’ home.

By Sunday and Monday, the project was back on track. A miracle occurred in Decatur. A total of 1,234 volunteers came over the three-day project and many of them worked multiple shifts throughout the weekend. Even with the bad weather, that total was slightly higher than last year.

Even more unbelievably, we were able to surpass the number of homes worked on last year. This year, we did repairs on a total of 16 homes. Yard work was done on these homes plus another 51 homes. This brought us to a record number of 67 senior citizens’ homes that were worked on by volunteers!

Among other work and repairs, volunteers, which included skilled professionals, such as electricians and plumbers:

  • Replaced an exterior door and wall because of water damage.
  • Installed a basement sump pump, repaired water leaks and reset toilets.
  • Installed and cleaned gutters.
  • Repaired unsafe wiring, installed carbon monoxide and smoke detectors.
  • Repaired attic framing, performed weatherization, including caulking and sealing windows and doors.
  • Repaired exterior door locks, repaired and replaced screens and doors, installed dead bolt locks.
  • Cleaned out attics, basements and garages.
  • Replaced damaged siding, repaired roof leaks, sealed flashing around chimneys.
  • Repaired loose handrails and installed grab bars, constructed a handicap ramp.
  • Raked leaves, trimmed bushes and removed invasive plants.

Although this is the 9th year of the project, it is still impressive to see the dedication and the remarkable skills of the volunteers who repair these homes. The diligence of the yard work volunteers is remarkable. They find joy in the results of their work and in the camaraderie of their teams.

The senior citizens who benefit helped make our city what it is today. It is an honor to give back to them and to help them live safely, comfortably and affordably in their homes.
Thanks again to all our volunteers. Hope to see you next January!


Please let us know what you enjoyed about the project and what we can do to improve the project next year. We would love to hear about your experiences volunteering at Decatur’s Martin Luther King Jr. Service Project. The applications committee is accepting requests through May 31, 2011 for repairs to be considered for the 2012 Project. Did you encounter any seniors while you were volunteering that you thought would be a good candidate? Do you have a neighbor who can use some help? Please ask the senior to contact Susan Cobleigh (see below) or contact her yourself on the senior’s behalf.  You can request to remain anonymous. To be considered:

  • Home must be in the city limits of Decatur.
  • Senior must be the homeowner and reside in the home.
  • Senior must be at least 65-years-old.
  • Senior must be on a fixed or low income.

We would love to have you join our leadership team. Consider being a House Captain (overseeing home repairs, supervising volunteers and communicating with the homeowner). Or, you might want to be a member of one of our committees, such as the Landscape committee (reviewing yard work prior to the project and overseeing yard work during the project), the Energy Efficiency committee, or the Food committee. Please contact either Lee Ann Harvey, Volunteer! Decatur, at 678-553-6548 or leeann.harvey@decaturga.com or Susan Cobleigh, Decatur Preservation Alliance, at 404-371-4444 or susan@decaturpreservationalliance.org.

Thank you for helping these seniors to live more safely, comfortably and affordably in their homes as a result of these much needed repairs and yard work. We look forward to your joining us during the next Decatur Martin Luther King Jr. Service project, which will take place January 13, 14, and 15, 2012.

Susan and Lee Ann