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Kiwanis pitch in to paint

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A Prairie Ridge family has a freshly painted house thanks to the members of the Kiwanis Club of Bonney Lake.

The painting crew showed up on Bill and Lenni Toney's front porch Aug. 5 to put the finishing touches on a house-painting project they started earlier that week. The volunteers had already pressure washed the two-bedroom house and the roof, did minor repairs, cleaned the gutters, caulked and primed.

The house painting, organized by Paint Tacoma-Pierce Beautiful, was free to the Toneys. Kiwanis members provided the labor, paint supplies and ladders. Parker Paint of Bonney Lake donated the paint and primer.

Paint Tacoma-Pierce Beautiful is a community service program that assists low-income seniors and disabled homeowners in Pierce County by painting their homes. A planning committee reviews each of the applications and conducts a site visit before assigning the project to a service group, such as the Kiwanis. Church groups, businesses, unions and government offices also participate. The painting is completed between July 15 and Aug. 15, a time Paint Tacoma-Pierce Beautiful calls the “Painting Daze of Summer.”

The program was founded in 1985 when several city of Tacoma employees, looking for a community service project, stumbled upon the idea of helping low-income seniors by painting their homes. The first year they painted two homes. Last year more than 2,000 volunteers painted 93 homes, but they couldn't get to everyone. The organization received more than 200 applications in 2005.

Kiwanis member Hazel Stewart brought the idea to participate in the program to the Bonney Lake group in March and it was unanimously approved.

“This is a wonderful chance for us to serve a real need in our community,” Phil DeLeo said, president the Kiwanis Club of Bonney Lake.

The Toney's daughter, Heather Fliehler, her husband and their two children joined the painting party.

“This is such a good example for the children,” Fliehler said.

The Toneys first read about the program in the newspaper four years ago and sent in their application. Their mobile home in Prairie Ridge needed painting and the couple, both disabled, were not able to paint it themselves. Lenni Toney's mother also lives with them.

The Toneys were able to choose the color.

“We've had a long time to think about what color we wanted,” Lenni Toney said.

A technical advisor from Paint Tacoma-Pierce Beautiful will inspect the work before signing off on the project, but the Toney's don't believe there will be a problem.

“It's beautiful,” Lenni Toney said. “You have no idea how much we appreciate this.”

Groups interested in volunteering for next years “Painting Daze of Summer” or homeowners interested in applying for the free program may call 253-383-3056.

Kiwanis International is a worldwide organization of women and men who share the challenge of community and world improvement. It is the leading service club in the United States and Canada with more than 13,000 clubs throughout the world. Founded in Detroit in 1915, Kiwanis became an international organization when the Kiwanis Club of Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, was chartered a year later.

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