SHAMOKIN - Hundreds of volunteers will arrive this month in the greater Shamokin area to make minor repairs to dozens of homes accepted into the Group Cares work camp program.

William Milbrand, city councilman, said Group Cares is in need of local volunteers to double-check that supplies ordered from Lowe's for 56 project sites arrive in full. Volunteers will be given a list early next week for a handful of sites and will be asked to compare the list with supplies on hand.

Also needed for loan are 71 ladders ranging in size from 6 feet to 24 feet. They'll be returned to the donors.

One of 42 projects

Group Cares is a faith-based, Christian organization stationed in Loveland, Colo.

It pulls youth volunteers and adult mentors from across the nation to join its various missions. Shamokin's is one of 42 work camps being organized by Group Cares in the U.S. this summer.

Robin Frahm, project manager for Group Cares, said 340 volunteers will work to make repairs to 56 homes in Shamokin, Coal Township, Mount Carmel, Kulpmont and Trevorton. They'll be performing interior and exterior paint projects, mending porches, building handicapped ramps and more. An average of $375 is estimated to be spent on each home.

The volunteers will stay at Shamokin Area Middle/High School from July 21 to 27, performing work Monday through Friday that week.

The number of volunteers is down from early estimates of more than 400. Frahm said it didn't come as a surprise; attrition occurs as the dates of work camps near.

"We're really happy with 340 coming. We're hoping the word gets out and the community sees the need and benefit so next year we are there," Frahm said.

Work camp volunteers raise money on their own to participate. Cost of the Shamokin camp is $451. Another $19,000 is asked as a donation from the community, and while the Shamokin area didn't quite reach that number, Frahm said Northumberland County Area Agency on Aging worked to approach that goal.

The volunteers' donations and the local match are used in part to purchase supplies for the projects.

Group Cares representatives will be in the area next week finalizing logistics. They'll be hanging signs on the doors or windows of homes to receive renovations. Frahm encouraged citizens to keep an eye out for a home being worked on by Group Cares volunteers, and to drop by to see the work firsthand.

"I just feel like it's going to be a boost to the community. Everyone should come out and see what's happening," she said.

Group Cares' visit is cosponsored by the county Area Agency on Aging and the City of Shamokin, and is supported by Central Susquehanna Opportunities Inc. City council approved the visit last July. The success of this project could lead to a return to the area by Group Cares volunteers next summer.