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Volunteers' painting effort is rolling again

After a year of inactivity, the organizers of Paint Your Heart Out Hernando say they are back in business.

Jimmy Berg, co-chairman of this year's event, said poor planning prevented volunteers from painting homes in 1993.

"We had . . . some organizational problems last year, and it didn't come together," Berg said. "Because it is a worthwhile project, we wanted to start it up again and keep it going."

Paint Your Heart Out is designed to help elderly or disabled people improve the appearance of their homes if they are unable to do the work and can't afford to have it done. The program was initiated several years ago in Philadelphia and has spread nationwide.

This year's paint day is April 16.

The event is organized by the Junior Service League of Brooksville, which coordinated the first effort in 1992. This year the Service League has been joined by a committee of representatives from several local organizations helping with the planning.

Karen Beasley, president of the Junior Service League, said her group decided to take on the project after seeing the success other groups had with it.

"It seemed like a great program for us because we are always looking toward the needs of other people in our community," Beasley said.

Homeowners qualify for the painting help by meeting criteria based on age, finances, health and the condition of the house. The deadline for this year's program was in January.

Daisy Daniels' home on Peach Street in Brooksville will be one of 14 houses that will be painted this year.

Daniels said that since she moved into the house 13 years ago, she has watched the paint fade from white to dull gray because she couldn't afford to get the one-story frame house painted.

Until now.

"I think (the program) is wonderful," said Daniels, 65. "I really appreciate it."

The volunteers who will paint the houses come from several area companies, civic organizations and service clubs that sponsor a home for $500. The money is used to buy paint, supplies, food and T-shirts for team members.

In 1992, Berg said 18 homes were painted and $1,000 was left over to put toward this year's effort. Next year, the group wants to paint at least 20 houses. Most of the homes that will be painted this year are in Brooksville, with a few scattered in Spring Hill.

Berg is still looking for sponsors, as well as professional painters to be at each house to keep things in order, answer questions and give advice.

Berg said volunteer sponsors should not be worried about lack of expertise.

"It's something the average layman can do," he said. "Anyone can work a paint brush."

Anyone who wants to volunteer or sponsor a home can call Berg at 754-5730.