Another helping hand; T ‘N G taking applications for 2017 Pay It Forward

To Gina Grundmeier, the best part of the annual Pay It Forward bathroom remodel comes when the family receiving the work returns home to see the fruits of the project.

“The happiness that you see that you have brought them and the peace is immeasurable,” she said.

The application period opened earlier this week and runs through Jan. 29 for the fourth year of the program to remodel a bathroom for a family in need. Grundmeier, who owns T ‘N G Plumbing with her husband, Todd, called the project a fulfilling way to give back.

“It’s like a soul food,” she said. “When you’re done —you’ve just had this big meal, this big piece of soul food.”

The Dexter-based T ’N G Plumbing formed the project in 2014 and continues it to this day to redesign a bathroom with the help of other contractors for a Mower County family.

The first year of the project created a bathroom valued at about $20,000 to $25,000, had the family been paying for it themselves. The 2016 project reached a value of about $41,000.

“It’s grown so much,” Grundmeier said.

T ‘N G accepts applications from people nominating a family member or friend in need of a bathroom renovation. Applications are made through essays, though Grundmeier urges people not to be put off by the term.

Essentially they’re just looking for enough to tell the family’s story, why they need the remodel and about the family dynamic. They also require a few photos of the current bathroom.

Past remodels have helped hardworking families that have a hard time affording something as costly as a new bathroom, Grundmeier said.

“They’re doing everything they can to function in life, and because a bathroom is so expensive to do, it’s just something that they just can’t afford to do that part of it,” Grundmeier said.

Grundmeier says they look for a family with a physical or spiritual need for the remodel.

One year, T ‘N G and area contractors redesigned Jason and Shannon Ferth’s bathroom to allow Jason, who is handicapped to have more space to use the facilities.

In 2015, Gary and Marsha Wilde received the remodel gift after their family had endured several tragedies over the years.

Last year, Becky and Gary Josephson received the remodel as she suffered from polycystic kidney disease and waited for a kidney transplant.

Grundmeier estimates 60 to 65 people participate each year, whether they help, give food, give lodging and help in some other way.

T ‘N G has typically received more than 100 nominations each year, but some are weeded out if they don’t meet the requirements.

The home has to be owner occupied, located in Mower County and have only one bathroom.

The family is housed at the Austin Holiday Inn for a week during construction, and several restaurants and businesses also donate gift cards or food to the family for the week.

Pay It Forward previously received nonprofit status, something Grundmeier hopes will help in future years. She said it helps encourage people to participate, and then people supporting can write it off as a tax deduction.

The Pay It Forward project is the key piece, but Grundmeier said those involved give back throughout the year in smaller ways.

Applications may be submitted to payitforward@tngplumbing.com or 64456 230th St., Dexter, MN, 55926

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