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Electricians help supply power to feed the homeless

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MASURY, Ohio - A Mercer County nonprofit is trying to fill the need to feed the homeless in their own back yard. With the help of some skilled tradesmen, they're connecting the dots to make it a reality.

It's a labor of love inside a former Masury grocery store. The structure is being transformed into an expansion of a Sharon-based nonprofit that helps the homeless, known as Joshua's Haven City Mission.

Apprentice electricians from the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 573 are donating their skills to power a kitchen that will serve those in need in Western Pennsylvania and Trumbull County.

"We wouldn't have those resources," says Sherry Swetz, Director of Joshua's Haven. "We don't have the extra money that we can just say 'lets dedicate this much money to this project' so this is a tremendous help to us."

The installations are not only setting the groundwork for this outreach center, the fourth year apprentices out of Warren are gaining hands on experience they couldn't get in the classroom.

"You don't know what to expect and sometimes in an older building. A lot of stuff is out dated, a lot of stuff is  probably not up to code in situations like that," said John Bevelaqua, an apprentice electrician with IBEW Local 573. "So you learn what can to do to correct the problem in the most cost efficient way."

The practice is helping these workers secure their future in a business that is almost always in demand.

"I actually had 12 years as a production worker at Delphi Packard Electric, which I'm sure everybody in the area is familiar with, and I was lucky enough to get an opportunity to get into the trade," Bevelaqua said. "It's something that no matter where I go, once you have your ticket and you top out, you can go anywhere in the country and work."

The group is supplying a valuable resource for the organization, a sense of job security for the electricians and hope to those less fortunate.

In order to finish the kitchen, the organization is now looking for plumbers and carpenters who would be willing to volunteer.

If you're interested contact Joshua's Haven at (724) 983-0304 or go to http://www.joshuashaven.org/

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