Tampa Nonprofit Renovates Land O' Lakes Family's Home
The Hopes For Home Project renovated the home of Jeff and Amy Calkowski. Jeff is an oral cancer survivor.
Sunday nights are usually reserved for winding down from the weekend and preparing for the week ahead. But on Sunday, Oct. 28, more than 75 people took time from their normal routine to volunteer their efforts to a home renovation project for a family in need. And they inspired an entire community along the way.
The Hope For Homes Project, an initiative by nonprofit Current of Tampa Bay Inc., aims to help families whose homes need improvement but are facing financial hardship. On Friday, Oct. 26, Hope for Homes began its first Pasco Country project for the Calkowskis—a Land O' Lakes family.
Jeff and Amy Calkowski are the owners of Accurate Signs On Time, an 11-year-old sign-making business off U.S. 41. In 2008, Jeff was diagnosed with oral cancer. While Jeff battled through surgery, chemotherapy and radiation, Amy was left to care for the family’s two children, their home and business. Their home, which suffered damage from a tornado and Tropical Storm Debby, was in desperate need of repair.
The transformation totaled $12,500 worth of repairs. It included painting the inside and outside of the home, renovating the kitchen, adding stainless steel appliances, repairing the roof and walls and granting the Calkowski girls' wish of converting the atrium into a playroom. There were more than 150 volunteers throughout the three-day project.
The family enjoyed a relaxing vacation for the weekend while the renovations were done. They spent Friday at The Florida Aquarium. On Saturday, Amy and her daughter were pampered at Bangz Salon and Spa while Jeff and his son enjoyed a day of fishing.
“We are so thankful,” said Amy to the crowd of volunteers standing outside her home on Sunday afternoon. “And we vow to pay it forward.”
Jeff agreed: “We will definitely be at the next project contributing. Thank you to everyone who has made this possible. You have truly changed our lives.”
A loyal customer and friend of the Calkowskis, Tim Harvey, recognized their need for assistance. He shared their hardship with members at his church and eventually the word reached the board members of the Hope For Homes Project.
“When we first met the Calkowskis, Amy didn’t really smile much,” said Jason Sowell, founder of Current. “I have seen her smile more today than in the whole time I have known her.”
But the volunteers felt they wanted to do more than just help the Calkowskis; they wanted to unite the community. On Sunday, more than 30 volunteers offered to canvas the neighborhood and clean up the residents' lawns.
Gloria Martinez is the Calkowskis' neighbor. Her lawn was canvased and beautified by the volunteers.
“My family and I have been struggling with health issues and things weren’t getting done, and the work the volunteers did was amazing,” said Martinez. “The love that everybody has shown is amazing.”
Local companies that volunteered their time and services include: Krewe of Agustina de Aragon, Tibbetts Lumber, Sherwin Williams, Legacy Building Contractors, Wholesale Coaching Inc., Vistra Communications, We Haul It Dumpsters, Seven Days Glass, Grow Life Church, Reality Church, Amoroso Cabinets, Crowell Aluminum, TOPerformance Tree Service, Hilton Garden Inn Riverview, Florida Aqurium and Bangz Salon and Spa.
For more information about Current of Tampa Bay, visit the nonprofit's website.