Hearts and Hammers began as a simple notion. Noticing that some women of her church needed help with house repair and gardening, Lynn Willeford, a self-described “serial starter-upper,” organized people to gather and help their neighbors. With initial sponsorship by the Langley United Methodist Church, Hearts and Hammers began as a pilot program in 1994 to help repair and rehabilitate homes for those who were either unable or couldn’t afford to do the work alone. The group is now a 501(c)3 nonprofit.
“It doesn’t take a whole lot of time or trouble to make someone happy,” Willeford says.
Organized like a military unit, including military titles, this year’s event was headed by a new “general,” Matthew Swett, who runs Taproots Architects.
“We share the load — that’s the benefit of a team,” Swett said at the morning breakfast where volunteers gathered with their captains in the cafeteria of South Whidbey High School. A crowd of about 330 gathered to help out at 35 homes.