So, in case you haven’t heard, Extreme Makeover: Home Edition is coming to the DC area next week. I’ve seen the show. I know they find a deserving family and build a house in 7 days. Being a reasonably intelligent person, I’ve always presumed that an advance teams shows up months ahead of time, moves in with the builder, plans every last bit of the house down to the nails the pictures hang on, Ty and the gang show up and through the magic of television the old house is demolished and a new one is built in “just 7 days”.
Boy was I wrong! It really does happen that fast.
This project came to United Way of the National Capital Area almost exactly a month before Ty will stand in front of someone’s house with his bullhorn.
I’m not sure the builders knew about it much before we did.
So what does United Way have to do with Extreme Makeover: Home Edition? Well, one of the things we do every day is bring together the people, companies and resources of the community for the greater good. Who better to recruit, organize and care for the volunteers working to change the life of a family and the families served by a community center?
Have I mentioned that this is not one project, but two? Oh yeah, Ty and the gang are building two structures in one week – a family home and a community center. That means double the volunteers (3,300), double the meals (10,000), double the water (30 pallets of bottled water), double the coffee (I can’t even begin to guess, but you may want to triple it since I will be on site), all donated by the caring people, organizations and companies in our community.
And, oh yeah, we weren’t allowed to talk about the project until about a week ago. That’s a lot free stuff, um in-kind donations, to get in just two weeks. Besides an exciting opportunity, we see this as a drill. There are some moments when this feels like an emergency response and it is clear that we, as an organization, are bulking up our capacity to respond when the emergency does not consist of a rather hyper TV personality with a bullhorn.