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Brush Up Buffalo Volunteers Regroup to Repaint University District Homes

More than 300 volunteers gave home exteriors in the University District a boost during Brush Up Buffalo – an annual event that is typically a day-before-Father’s-Day tradition in the city. Sixteen low-income, single-family, owner-occupied homes were revitalized in the area surrounding the University at Buffalo South Campus.

When Brush Up Buffalo was rained out for the first time in history on Saturday, June 20th, the rescheduling resulted in a loss of more than half the organization’s volunteer base. But the remaining volunteers and additional kind-hearted Western New Yorkers came to the aid of the University District homeowners. Painters arrived at houses around 8:30AM and most finished before 1PM.

More than 60 of the volunteers were affiliated with the University at Buffalo, which simultaneously launched its first-ever UB Community Day and helped stage a gathering spot for volunteers at the Diefendorf Lot. They worked on three homes along Lisbon Avenue, just two streets away from campus.

“Partnering with Brush Up Buffalo for this year’s UB Community Day helped us make an impact in the neighborhoods around our South Campus,” said Vincent Clark, director of community relations, University at Buffalo. “Maintaining a quality housing stock is a high neighborhood priority and today we worked to do just that.”

Roseann Scibilia, president of Brush Up Buffalo, was impressed by the generosity of sponsors and volunteers, particularly during troubled economic times.

“Our sponsors and volunteers came through for Buffalo’s homeowners more than ever,” she said. “The spirit of service and togetherness in this project never ceases to amaze me.”

Barbara Herrick, a homeowner at 81 Nicholson St. (photo above), was one of the residents served by volunteers. “The volunteers were so polite and did a terrific job,” she said. “I couldn’t believe how fast it got done.”

Herrick, who has lived at her house since 1968, now lives alone after her husband passed away last year at age 92. “He used to work as a painter, so I think he was up there looking over the project today.”

Brush Up Buffalo 2009 took place on Dartmouth, Highgate, Lisbon, Montrose, West Winspear and Winspear Avenues, and Heath and Nicholson Streets. It was the 13th event since the organization formed in 1996, and volunteers have now repainted more than 250 homes throughout Buffalo.

Valspar donated 75 five-gallon cans of paint for the event and ICI Paints provided tints for coloring. Additional sponsors and in-kind donors include the University at Buffalo, the Margaret L. Wendt Foundation, Bank of America, International Union of Painters and Allied Trades District Council #4, John W. Danforth Company, LPCiminelli, Painting and Decorating Contractors of Buffalo, M&T Bank, First Niagara, Harter Secrest & Emery LLP, Malcolm Pirnie, United Parcel Service, Tops Friendly Markets, 360 Professional Services Group, Buffalo Niagara Association of Realtors, Buffalo State College, clevermethod, Full Circle Studios, HSBC and University Heights Community Development Agency.

Brush Up Buffalo’s next event is slated for June 19, 2010. For more information, please visit www.brushupbuffalo.org or call (716) 250-3353.

N.B.: Organizers plan to paint two more originally-scheduled homes at a later date. They also will touch up the peaks of a few of the houses in the coming days.

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