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Fixit Program

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History:
In 1991 United Way of Merrimack County was one of three agencies in New Hampshire to receive a Project Care grant. The major objective of the grant was to “assess the unmet needs of the elderly in Merrimack County for services which would allow them to retain their independence to the maximum extent possible”.

 

In 1991 the New London Council on Aging asked Anne Stites to start a Mr.Fixit Program there.  Ms. Stites learned of the program while in New Jersey where she worked for the Hunterdon County Office on Aging.

 

United Way of Merrimack County concluded their three (3) year study in 1994 and started a chore service of volunteers called Workmatch. They had asked Ann Stites to start the chore program in the Concord area. In March of 1994 the name was changed to the Mr.Fixit Program. Since the United Way is not in the business of running specific programs they asked Community Action Program Belknap-Merrimack Counties, Inc.  to manage and operate the new program as well as integrate it within its services to seniors.

 

The new program was set up to  provide minor maintenance and repair to senior (60 years or older) and disabled homeowners. The work would be done, free of a set charge to the client, by qualified volunteers.  There would be a set charge for materials only if materials were needed for the project.

 

Initially, the Mr.Fixit Program was available to homeowners in the Concord area only. The program expanded into the Franklin area in 1995. Volunteers in these towns serviced calls from surrounding areas.  In the year 2000 there were 525 requests for service in Merrimack County. Some of those requests were from sister towns (i.e. Tilton) not part of Merrimack.

 

Realizing the needs of our aging and disabled population the Mr.Fixit Program was offered in Belknap County in April of 2001.  Funding for this initial year was provided by Community Action Program Belknap-Merrimack Counties, Inc. and by a grant ($7,500) from Franklin Savings Bank.

 

Expansion into Hillsborough County started in April of 2004. In August that year the program name was changed to The Fixit Program. Expansion into Strafford County started in November, 2005 and an Assistant was hired in March of 2006.  Expansion into Rockingham County happened in the summer of 2007.

 

There no federal or state ongoing grants providing funding.  The Fixit Program’s major funding came from the United Ways of The Lakes Region, Merrimack County, Greater Nashua and The Greater Seacoast. In 2011 all of the United Ways, including the founding United Way, stopped funding the program.

 

On almost a daily basis our volunteers throughout the state perform numerous tasks around the homes of our clients. Many of these tasks (a broken stair, a missing hand rail or a bathroom grab bar) require immediate attention because of the safety factor involved.  In addition to the repair of the home another group of our special volunteers works twice a year at cleaning the yards of seniors who request the service.

 

The Fixit Program is not only beneficial to seniors and the disabled, but also to the volunteer.  Retired women and men can continue to use their skills while receiving tremendous gratification in helping someone in need.  Often our volunteers work in a group of three or four developing friendships and real admiration for one another.  When asked why a volunteer was willing to give their time and expertise, one volunteer replied, “I have spent many years in a community that has been good to me.  Now I want to return some of the benefits I received by helping others.

 

 






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