When Carolina Meadows residents Gerald and Marilyn Jonas needed a serving cart for their new villa, Jerry, a master woodworker, made it himself. His neighbors were impressed, but they also wanted to know how he managed that feat without making any noise. “Easy,” he said, “I used the shop!”
The “shop,” as Jerry discovered even before moving in, is one of the hidden gems at Carolina Meadows. Located in a separate building near Apartment Building 2, it is comfortably air conditioned, well lighted, and fully equipped with power tools, hand tools, and an array of supplies for community woodworkers to use. Residents have donated many of the tools that are now in the shop. Other tools have been purchased, as needed, with support from the Carolina Meadows Residents Association.
Sometimes the shop is a busy place. Currently, more than 40 residents hold keys to it. Bob Rich, a resident and retired architect, serves as volunteer manager. Shop traffic, he says, picks up the most in the months before Christmas, when projects such as cutting boards, serving trays, bowls, and other gift items get underway. Throughout the year, however, visitors may find members in the shop at all hours, working on individual projects as their schedules allow.
As the keeper and distributor of keys to the shop, Bob invites interested residents to get in touch with him. There is no cost for using the shop, but before he can assign a key, Bob must secure from each prospective shop member a signed release for accidents or injuries, and he needs confirmation that each key recipient has the basic skills for operating shop equipment safely. As manager, he also handles all new equipment donations and purchases, finds new homes for outdated equipment, and keeps the shop in good order.
Bob continues a Carolina Meadows tradition in which members of the shop volunteer their services for repairs and other projects. “As the manager,” he says, “I receive most requests, and therefore do most of the work, but many other members fix things for residents.” Like the previous shop manager, Bob has repaired dining room tables and chairs, Christmas decorations, and other broken items brought to him by residents. When he heard that a Health Center resident who was confined to bed could not see her television, he made a small TV table that put the screen at a comfortable viewing height. Two of the pleasures he and many others find in the shop—creating and giving—echo in a comment he makes to a fellow resident, “I charge only for the cost of any supplies I have to buy.”
Below are some photos of woodworking projects completed by residents of Carolina Meadows.
By CM Resident, Beverly Patterson