City employees uplift ministry

Published 6:52 pm Friday, September 13, 2019

Lisa Barnes, in front, paints interior doors. With her is Stephanie Sumpter, both of the Franklin Police Department. Washing a wall in back is Margaret Anne Smith, executive director of the Franklin Cooperative Ministry. — Stephen H. Cowles Tidewater News

United Way volunteers clean Franklin Cooperative Ministry inside, out


‘Tis already the season — the season of giving, that is, through the Franklin-Southampton Area United Way.

Starting on Friday morning, many city employees got right to work at the chosen site, Franklin Cooperative Ministry on High Street.

Inside, executive director Margaret Anne Smith washed walls and baseboards as Franklin Police officers Lisa Barnes and Stephanie Sumpter painted doors and trim. Barnes said this was her first time volunteering for the local United Way, but she has been involved with Habitat for Humanity. In another room, Tarnisha Kindred, Lisa Gibbs and Elizabeth Burgess of Social Services polished brass plates. Next door, Commissioner of Revenue Brenda Rickman and Leslie Pearce of the Fire and Rescue Department cleaned the kitchen.

Outside, representatives of Public Works and Fire and Rescue cut, sawed and pulled out overgrown shrubbery and took them to the curb. Then they leveled the ground and added new mulch. This was done to help drain any water away from the building.

Capt. Tim Dunn of Franklin Fire and Rescue said he and other department volunteers — Lt. Wendall Lowe, firefighters Trey Stephens and Frank Land — started right at 9 a.m. along with men from Public Works, which included Robert Smith, Larry Blow and Jeff Fanning.

Franklin firefighters Frank Land, left, and Lt. Wendell Lowe work to level the ground around the building as a way to drain away water. New mulch was to be added later. — Stephen H. Cowles Tidewater News

Dunn said that Fridays are usually devoted to firehouse maintenance, but when the opportunity presented itself to participate in the volunteer work, “We figured we’d come lend a hand here and get in some good work for the community.”

City Manager Amanda Jarratt and Police Chief Steve Patterson were also present at the morning shift working alongside other employees.

Trish Tsitsera, executive director of the local United Way, later said more volunteer turnout than expected showed up that morning, and as a result much was accomplished.

“It’s so efficient and so exciting,” Tsitsera said, adding that patching and painting the ceiling, some more landscaping, repair work and hauling away trash were also put on the afternoon agenda.

From left, Tarnisha Kindred, Elizabeth Burgess and Lisa Gibbs polish brass screws and plates. — Stephen H. Cowles Tidewater News

Furthermore, rather than devoting just one “Day of Caring” for volunteer work, she said the local agency has made this a “Season of Caring.” Friday’s activity will be followed by more projects in October and November. There will also be work done next spring.

To learn more about United Way and how you can help, call 569-8929 or visit