The Superbowl arrives in Tampa today, and luckily for all of us Tampa Bay natives, the weather is absolutely perfect. Sunny with a high about 65 degrees. It’s been a great week for our town, celebrities all over the place, the bars and restaurants packed with people – all in celebration of a football game that happens every year. Amazing!
I am a board member of an organization called Rebuilding Together Tampa Bay (http://wwww.rttb.org). It is part of a national effort to assist low income people with renovation projects for their homes, things that they would never have been able to pay for themselves – like a roof, kitchen appliances, repairs to HVAC and hundred other things.
This past weekend our local chapter along with the national organization and almost 1000 volunteers came together to renovate 22 homes in Old West Tampa, a nearly forgotten part of town because the residents are low income.
One of the homes was in such bad repair, that the volunteers and sponsor companies that were assigned that home decided it was better to tear it down and build the family a new home in its place. With the assistance of the City of Tampa fast tracking permits, they went from old house to tear down to rebuilt and move-in in less that 40 days – only about 20 days of actual construction! The home is just beautiful and the family was all in tears on Friday when they were handed the keys to their new home.
It seems kind of ironic that here we are in the city where thousands of people are spending millions of dollars to watch a football game that will last a few hours – while 1000 volunteers give up their days and weekends and contribute money that they probably don’t have to help 22 families with home renovations that will last a lifetime, and hardly anyone will ever know about it. We got 20″ in the local paper with no pictures, the Superbowl got about 10,000 or more inches and several special sections about the game.
No wonder our priorities are so screwed up. Too bad there’s no big corporate payback in helping people. I guess that’s what it takes these days to get attention. Sad.