CLINTON — The Hearts and Hands group is gearing up for another year of helping area residents in need of a little assistance with home improvement projects. Proceeds from a roast pork dinner on Monday will help fund this year’s projects.

The all-volunteer group is made up of members of the First United Methodist Church and community volunteers of all ages. The group helps local families that are physically or financially unable to do improvement projects themselves.

Last year, volunteers donated more than 2,000 hours of work to complete more than 20 projects. The group shingled five roofs, built three handicap ramps, raked 72 bags of leaves, painted two garages, replaced two water heaters, fixed a bathroom floor and completed three landscaping projects.

Dennis Glew, assistant pastor at FUMC and a coordinator of the Hearts and Hands group, said there always are projects that need to be done.

“I don’t think we’ll have any trouble finding projects,” Glew said. “There’s definitely a need in Clinton.”

The program began seven years ago with the Retired Senior Volunteer Program and its Executive Director Tammy Meyer. She said Hearts and Hands was started to help people stay in their home if it needed just a few repairs or improvements. The group soon collaborated with the FUMC. The group also receives assistance from meambers of the Clinton Rotary Club.

“We’re able to do a few projects every year,” Meyer said.

“It has really grown,” Glew said. “It’s almost overwhelming when you think about what gets done.”

Glew said volunteers really step up to help out those who need it. He noted one local contractor, Tom Wiebenga, has donated his time to projects in the past and was instrumental in those efforts because of his leadership and the use of tools and equipment.

“We’ve been blessed with a lot of good help,” he said.

The Hearts and Hands program always welcomes new volunteers. Glew said any area contractors who would be willing to donate their time, equipment or materials would be especially helpful.

“We would welcome any volunteers willing to help,” Glew said, explaining the group already is planning work days and upcoming projects.

“The challenge is finding time for people to help and getting the weather to cooperate,” said Glew. He added that most projects entail work just about anyone of any age can do, such as painting and landscaping. Glew said no specific training is necessary to help those in need in the community. Work days are scheduled on Saturdays in the spring, summer and fall, depending on what is needed and availability of volunteers.

The program recently received a Pearson Foundation grant for $5,000 to fund improvement projects to be completed this year. Glew said a water heater was donated from Riverside Presbyterian Church as it was being torn down and the heater has been installed in someone’s home. Donations of money and materials are greatly appreciated and put to good use.

To donate money to the Hearts and Hands program that will be used to buy materials, call Glew at FUMC, 242-5868. To volunteer with the group or to apply for assistance, call Meyer at the RSVP office, 243-7787.

The annual church dinner is Monday at FUMC, 621 S. Third St. The meal will consist of roast pork, mashed potatoes and gravy, green beans, cole slaw, applesauce, a roll and dessert. Advance tickets cost $7 for adults and $4 for children ages 5 to 11. At the dinner, tickets will cost $7.50 and $4.50. Children 4 and younger eat free.

Dinner will be served from 4 to 7 p.m. Carryout and delivery of meals is available by calling the church at 242-5868. Glew said last year’s dinner served 700 meals and the church serves almost as many meals at the church as they deliver. Half of the proceeds from the dinner go to fund Hearts and Hands projects.