Lowe’s, Aaron’s Acres team to upgrade Manheim park

By on September 16, 2015

Two days after the Manheim Community Pool closed for the season, the pool and its surrounding area were bustling with activity. Nearly 150 volunteers from Lowe’s and Aaron’s Acres gathered for a two-day project to provide a facelift to the area on Wednesday, Sept. 9.

Volunteers power washed the concrete decking around the pool, painted the exterior of the bathhouse and pump building, painted both the men’s and women’s locker room areas and stained the shade shelters in the pool area. While several crews were busy in the pool area, other groups of volunteers dug, planted and mulched a flower bed between the outside of the pool fence and a newly constructed garden pathway. The 320-foot long, 4-foot wide pathway connects the small and large pavilions.

Aaron’s Acres uses the park and pool for its summer day camps. The organization was the recipient of a Lowe’s Heroes project.

“This is a dream come true. I’ve been in tears a couple of times today,” said, executive director Risa Paskoff, “The path is a tremendous asset to us-it makes it easier for our campers in wheelchairs. Aaron’s Acres’ wants to ensure that all children can participate in activities; we never want to have a kid sitting on the side because of a disability.”

 

Lowe’s Heroes volunteer Phil Rizzuto places a paver around a newly installed sign for Aaron’s Acres day camp at Manheim Veteran Memorial Park.

Lowe’s Heroes volunteer Phil Rizzuto places a paver around a newly installed sign for Aaron’s Acres
day camp at Manheim Veteran Memorial Park.

 

Lowe’s staff member Lisa Klinedinst nominated Aaron’s Acres for the Heroes project.

“I learned about Aaron’s Acres from a friend. I have two children who are ‘able’; they participate in everything. I wanted to support an organization that helps provide that same experience for children with disabilities,” she explained.

Aaron’s Acres recently completed its second season of summer day camps in Manheim. Nearly 100 children and young adults ages 5 to 21 with developmental disabilities participated in this year’s camp. Paskoff said that the camp utilizes the large and small pavilions near Chiques Creek, and on most days campers swim in the pool.

“We feel blessed to have this great relationship with the Manheim community. People there have welcomed our staff, campers and their families,” she said.

 

Gina Harbaugh (left) and Dani Cheek (right on ladder) were two of the Lowe’s Heroes volunteers who painted the shade shelters at the Manheim Community Pool.

Gina Harbaugh (left) and Dani Cheek (right on ladder) were two of the Lowe’s Heroes volunteers who painted the shade shelters at the Manheim Community Pool.

 

Jamie Wendorf, manager of the Lowe’s Hempstead Road location, said that each Lowe’s store participates in a Heroes community outreach project. He explained that this year the stores within the region agreed to pool their resources and select one project. Staff members from throughout the region turned out on Wednesday; some driving two hours to participate.

“Aaron’s Acres is the perfect fit for this project. They provide services to Lancaster, Dauphin and Berks counties, so we’ll be helping the region. The intent of the Heroes project is to add value to the community,” he said.

His wife and four children were among those lending a hand to improve the park area.

“It’s exciting to be part of a positive change in a community,” said daughter, Emilee Wendorf, a high school junior.

Manheim Mayor Scot Funk said that there was a lot of energy in the park during the volunteer effort.

 

Lowe’s Heroes volunteers Ray Beekler (left) and Wayne Buffington plant flowers along the newly created garden walkway in Manheim Veterans Memorial Park.

Lowe’s Heroes volunteers Ray Beekler (left) and Wayne Buffington plant flowers along the newly created garden walkway in Manheim Veterans Memorial Park.

 

“This project not only benefits Aaron’s Acres, but it also benefits our residents. It’s a great way to end the summer We had a very good pool season, and I hope this helps maintain the momentum as we look forward to the next season,” he said.

As part of the Heroes project, Lowe’s also created a directional sign on Adele Avenue by the pool for the summer camp as well as removable signs to designate the camp locations. Other projects included having a wrap applied by Vinyl Creations to Aaron’s Acres’ wheelchair accessible van and filling the van with needed recreational supplies such as rafts and swimming devices for campers and other supplies including computers and iPads. Lowe’s Heroes volunteers focused their efforts on Aaron’s Acres Lancaster office on Thursday, Sept. 10.

 

Lowe’s Heroes volunteers level supports to create a bench near the pool and pavilion area in Manheim Veteran Memorial Park. (Photos by Rochelle Shenk)

Lowe’s Heroes volunteers level supports to create a bench near the pool and pavilion area in Manheim Veteran Memorial Park. (Photos by Rochelle Shenk)

 

There volunteers built cabinets and storage areas and painted the office. Lowe’s also presented Aaron’s Acres with a painting to commemorate the Heroes project. It was created by Susan Alfeld of Lowe’s Waynesboro location and depicts a tree between the pavilions in the park. Each branch of the tree represents one of the Lowe’s stores involved in the project, and volunteers added their thumbprints as leaves.

Rochelle Shenk is a correspondent for the Lititz Record Express. She welcomes your comments and questions at RAASHENK@aol.com.

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