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Matthew 25 looking for volunteers to help repair homes during Transform Week

Updated: Jun. 15, 2021 at 5:51 PM CDT
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - Tarps and tree debris are still scattered across Cedar Rapids, now 10 months after last summer’s derecho.

At the same time, Matthew 25 will soon be starting an annual effort to transform neighborhoods, which kicks off next week. Ahead of that on Tuesday, dozens of volunteers with Vincentian Marian Youth, out of Missouri, were making repairs through their Patch program.

“I think this is my third one,” Jill Dunlap, one of the volunteers, said.

Dunlap has been on several service projects, with this being her third one here on the Southwest side of Cedar Rapids. She and others were making repairs to derecho-damaged homes.

“I’m seeing just a lot more devastation, and seeing a lot of siding off things, tarps, and trees down,” Dunlap said.

The group spent the morning alongside Matthew 25 repairing a roof at a mobile home park. Next week, Matthew 25 will lead into its Transform Week projects, repairing low-income homes in the Taylor and Time Check neighborhoods.

“We found out from the derecho, there were a lot of manufactured homes that had damage and didn’t have other resources to go to for help,” Aaron Saylor, Matthew 25′s neighborhood building manager, said.

Beyond these repairs, Saylor said the focus is on investing in more interior and long-term improvement projects.

“We have several porch projects coming up. We also have a bathroom project that I’m really hoping can change someone’s life by making the bathroom usable again,” Saylor said.

In a typical year, Saylor said there are 30 projects with up to 300 volunteers. The derecho and pandemic created more projects, so they’re looking for more help.

“We’re looking for anyone with electrical or plumbing [experience], even skilled painters,” Saylor said.

Right now, they have about 125 volunteers but they’re hoping to reach 150 by next week. People can sign up through their website.

Saylor and Dunlap say they hope people can experience the joy of giving back.

“I’m giving my time, but I get much more out of it,” Dunlap said. “I think sometimes we don’t really know how much service can impact others.”

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