Volunteers at The Tool Library are no strangers to rolling up their sleeves and getting their hands dirty. While most people might know The Tool Library as a place to borrow a drill or sander for a weekend DIY project, the organization also puts its inventory of over 3,400 tools to work through hands-on community-based volunteer opportunities.
After cancelling its spring service days due to concerns around COVID-19, The Tool Library’s Board of Directors and volunteers have been hard at work rolling out socially distant service events this summer and fall. Summer Service Days 2020 kicked off last month along William Gaiter Parkway as volunteers equipped 50 newly planted trees with watering bags to help them thrive through this especially hot and dry summer. The Tool Library’s next service event, a cleanup and stewardship event along Minnesota Linear Park and the North Buffalo Rail Trail, will take place this coming Saturday, August 8th starting at 10AM. The Tool Library will be joined by special guest Erie County Legislator Lisa Chimera as she announces new county funding for The Tool Library provided by her office.
Additional events will be held through the summer and fall, culminating with another tree planting along William Gaiter Parkway on Saturday, November 7th. Individuals who are interested in participating should RSVP on The Tool Library’s website.
Beginning in 2017, the Tool Library and close to a dozen community partners scheduled regular service events during the spring and fall of each year. This calendar of service events included a concerted marketing effort – press releases, a social media campaign, and colorful calendars that could be hung up around the community.
Whether it was a park cleanup, planting and maintaining community flower beds, transforming vacant lots into community gardens, planting trees, or removing graffiti, these community-driven projects have not only helped beautify the neighborhood, but have also built collaboration and cooperation across University and Masten Districts’ many diverse neighborhoods. Students, residents, and businessmen have rolled up their sleeves and worked side by side to tackle many pressing quality of life issues. The power of organizations like The Tool Library is that it democratizes access to resources and allow community members to cultivate self-sufficiency and an increased sense of community pride.
“We believe that a strong community is a civically engaged community. We put our tools to work on large-scale community projects such as neighborhood clean-ups, tree-plantings, community gardens, and public art installations. When communities come together, incredible things can happen!” said Darren Cotton, Founder and Volunteer at the Tool Library.
By organizing a consistent calendar of over two dozen service events each year, the Tool Library and its partners have attracted more than 600 volunteers to events since 2017.
The Tool Library Summer Service Days are proudly sponsored by M&T Bank.