The time spent inside during the COVID-19 pandemic has given people the chance to take up many new hobbies. For one local man and his son, a new hobby has become a way for them to spend some quality time together, while also giving back to the community during tumultuous times.
Elmira resident Rick Weber and his eight-year-old son Ben have started building birdhouses out of wood from the barn belonging to Weber’s father-in-law. What was initially meant to be a fun spur-of-the-moment project to give some cardinals a new home has turned into a fundraising effort for local charities.
“I’ve seen postings of people doing a lot of sewing, the local guy that’s fixing bikes … for me it was just something I enjoy doing. It’s something I can do and I’ve got the materials and tools here to do it,” said Weber. “I think if we all sort of pitch in, in ways that we can, the community as a whole can come out of this stronger.”
When he first started this initiative he was matching the first $100 made off sales. Now he plans to sell birdhouses for $25, with all proceeds going to local charities.
He says the response has been beyond anything he expected, noting the community interest has blown him away.
“We built four and … the first three sold within 15 minutes,” said Weber. “I now have more material, got six orders in the queue now for more that people want to purchase.”
He says he plans to make at least another 12 birdhouses to fulfill his outstanding orders, along with any more that may come in. Once those have sold, he’ll “see what happens” and move forward if there’s interest from the community.
The plan is to donate proceeds raised through the sales to a local food bank and a township fund focused on aiding people dealing with the economic fallout of the coronavirus.
Weber extended a thank-you to the people who have responded to his posting for the birdhouse fundraiser, adding he will work hard to continue the project if the community wants him to keep up his work.
Those interested in buying a birdhouse can contact Weber through the Facebook’s ‘Elmira COVID-19 Resource Group.’ However, he wants people to be aware that things can change in an instant, and he may not be able to continue this project moving forward if he needs to return to work.