The Star-News


It's Christmas in October

Sat, Oct 16 2010 12:00 PM Posted By: Allison K. Sampite

Not many people get the opportunity to have their home repaired for free. It was a dream come true for seven Chula Vista homeowners.

For six hours last Saturday, more than 250 volunteers donated nearly 4,000 man-hours to paint and repair homes during the 12th annual Christmas in October event.

Selected applicants were primarily elderly residents who met low-income guidelines. Improvements included new paint and plumbing, windows and roofing.

Marian Pelc, 77, and her daughter Betty, 50, have lived in their Chula Vista home on Monserate Avenue since it was built in 1959. "We never would have been able to do even half of what they're doing," Pelc said. "All we asked for was carpeting and painting. I couldn't ask for anything better - I'm just so thankful for all the people who have volunteered," Pelc said choking back tears.

Bill Stacy, project captain, said they are almost always able to exceed their initial plans. "The objective is to improve their safety and comfort," he said. The Pelcs had a hall light that hadn't worked for 10 or 15 years, forcing them to use a flashlight to see at night, according to Stacy.

"I'm so happy for my mother," Pelc said. "It just goes to show that good things do happen. What goes around comes around."

Pelc also had a son who passed away last year from lung cancer. "He started projects around the house," Pelc said, but he couldn't finish them - there was so much to do."

Chula Vista Councilman John McCann has co-chaired Christmas in October for the last eight years. "It's by far the best event in the sense that you get to see your work," McCann said. "It really is extreme home makeover - the Chula Vista version. You really make a difference for the neighborhood and the community."

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