The extreme makover of Jamaican emigrant Delores Powell’s home at 228 Massachusetts Avenue on the lower west side of Buffalo has developed into a neighborhood makeover. David Stapleton, the owner of David Homes, claims he did not feel right doing just one home in this decaying, crime-ridden section of town where so many families are in desperate need of basic necessities. David Homes is donating building materials and labor for this monstrous project which involves a makeover of 50 homes in the ten-block area which includes Massachusetts Avenue.
ABC-TV’s popular show has captured the imagination of the City of Buffalo since beginnng the transformation earlier this week. Western New York AmeriCorps is coordinating the effort, using 300 of its own members and thousands of volunteers who have shown up at the rate of 800 each day.
While work is being done on their home, Delores Powell and her four children were sent to Disneyworld. Her teenage son, Joe, a member of the Lafayette High School Football Team, heard the good news that high school officials will postpone one of its important games while Joe is away.
Volunteers, both inexperienced and professionals, show up with toolboxes, hard hats, paint brushes and ladders, offering their services. They are putting new roofs and siding or a fresh coat of paint on neighborhood houses as well as pouring concrete sidewalks, cleaning up vacant lots and creating community gardens. Some have worked 12 to 14 hours a day.
Brady Connell, the executive producer of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition has stated that the effort in Buffalo has been unlike any other in the six-year history of the show. Initially, there were reservations on the part of the producer who feared that the neighborhood project would distract from the main premise of the show. Instead, Extreme Makeover has received more publicity from the Buffalo undertaking than it has ever experienced before.
Brady Connell stated “Having only been here for a week, I have a deep respect for the City of Buffalo. I hope the story we tell sheds light on how fantastic the people of Buffalo are. The volunteer spirit here is off the charts.”
The show’s host Ty Pennington and the rest of the cast showed Delores Powell her new home for the first time on Saturday, November 14th. Also present were pop singer Ashanti who has been in Buffalo for most of the week to offer her support. Ten members of the Buffalo Bills Football Team as well as the Buffalo Jills cheerleaders joined the crowd welcoming the Powell family back to their new state-of-the-art home.
Buffalo – the City of Good Neighbors – has always been known for pitching in when someone needs help. There is already some buzz that the project could possibly continue once the cast of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition
has left town. The seed has been planted to have it continue block by block, neighbor by neighbor.
ABC-TV will air this episode of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition early in 2010.
The Buffalo News – November 12-13-14, 2009
Rating: 4 out of 5