Members of the Stamford Board of Realtors and other organizations across the state tackled projects like painting and washing windows last Saturday as part of a national volunteer project.

Rebuilding Together is a national nonprofit organization whose mission is to “preserve and revitalize houses and communities to insure that low-income homeowners live in warmth, safety and independence.”

Saturday was the organization’s 16th annual National Rebuilding Day. The organization’s partners, including the Stamford Board of Realtors, worked in 955 towns and cities to help low-income homeowners – especially the elderly and disabled – to repair and maintain their homes.

In Connecticut, there are other programs in Hartford, New Britain and Litchfield County. Nationally, there were 275,000 volunteers working on 8,700 homes on Saturday.

A ‘Difficult’ Process

In Stamford and Greenwich, 24 teams representing more than 450 volunteers worked on 21 homes. But the need still exceeded the volunteer resources.

“We received over 90 applications from people requesting assistance with their homes; however, we could only accommodate 21,” said Gina Vinci, executive director of Rebuilding Together in Stamford and Greenwich, in a prepared statement. “It is a very difficult process to determine where the need is the greatest. We would love to be in a position to help all those who request aid.”

Although it rained on Saturday, most of the 30 volunteers on the Stamford Board of Realtors’ team showed up, said Louise Petersen, a Realtor and the team leader.

“They were great,” she said.

The team helped a Stamford woman in her late 70s by painting rooms in her house, washing windows and doing some exterior work on the house. The wet weather meant the paint didn’t dry in time to do a second coat, but Petersen and some other volunteers were slated to return yesterday to finish the job.

The day gave Board of Realtors members a chance to give to the community, but was also a chance to practice what they preach. Realtors often urge homeowners to maintain their homes throughout the time they live there and not just when they’re getting ready to sell, she said.

“We [also] have a strong sense of volunteering,” Petersen said. “We truly believe that whatever gifts we have should be spread around. If you don’t have a lot of money, give time, and if you don’t have time, give money.”

Other teams working in Stamford and Greenwich made improvements on leaking roofs, plumbing and electrical systems.

The materials – or funding for materials – for Rebuilding Together projects come from local and national companies.

Twenty-three sponsors, including the Stamford Board of Realtors, General Electric, The Home Depot, First County Bank Foundation, Ellington Management Group, Navy League of the U.S. and Pellicci’s Restaurant provided funds or teams of volunteers to make the day possible in Stamford and Greenwich. Many vendors – such as Ring’s End Lumber, Feinsod’s Hardware and Sherwin-Williams – provided materials at discounted prices, while Storage USA continued its support with discounted short-term storage.

“In addition to contributing to the welfare of the community, corporations benefit from Rebuilding Day as a team-building event,” Vinci said in her statement. “Many corporations plan out-of-the-office outings to expand working relationships. This achieves that objective while providing much-needed assistance to the people of Stamford and Greenwich.”

National Rebuilding Day went well, but the Rebuilding Together affiliate in Stamford and Greenwich hopes to become more of a year-round organization. Vinci is working toward that, with the ultimate goal of having enough resources to respond to emergency situations at any time of the year.

As generous as the outpouring of resources is, there is still more to be done, according to Tom Cuddeback, chairman of the Stamford and Greenwich affiliate.

“There are so many opportunities to get involved and make a meaningful difference in the lives of our neighbors,” he said in a prepared statement. “If you have a skill – plumbing, carpentry, masonry, roofing – or if you have construction experience and organizational abilities, we could certainly use your help. I guarantee you’ll find it rewarding.”