Iowa City volunteer work ranks 4th in nation

Published: Jan. 3, 2017 at 4:01 PM CST
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More and more Iowans are giving a portion of their time to volunteer work. According to a report released by the Corporation for National and Community Service, Iowa ranks 10th in the nation. Iowa City and Cedar Rapids rank 4th and 7th for midsize cities.

Iowa Valley Habitat for Humanity in Iowa City is one organization that deeply depends on its volunteers. There are 3,000 spread out over four counties. Their work combined adds up to 14,000 hours of service and builds seven homes every year.

“For a non-profit it would be difficult to have enough staff to be able to complete that scope of work,” Volunteer Coordinator Cherie Cool-Rudd said. “Volunteers help us to do general cleaning whether it’s in the office or around the restore, writing thank you notes, helping us send out mailings, building homes, doing renovations.”

Americorp members are a big part of the help for habitat. Scott Hawes started volunteering four months ago. Since then he’s done plenty of different things within the organization.

“Sometimes I go out to site and I swing a hammer, sometimes I work the staff here to do volunteer coordination, sometimes I do community outreach,” Hawes said. “There is a lot of need in our community. The private sector isn’t fulfilling those needs, and the government isn’t fulfilling those needs, so it’s important for non-profits and the citizens to step up and fulfill the needs for people in the community.”

Tom Glau does just that. He started volunteering in Habitat’s Restore a year ago. He spends nine hours a week fixing items to go in the store.

“I just enjoy putting together stuff, and helping people,” Glau said. “You can just see you’re helping people. They can find something here, where they can improve their home, improve their life, it keeps a lot of things out of the landfill, it’s just fun.”

Rudd said these volunteers are crucial to Habitat’s mission.

“It really is the heart of what we do, and volunteers are the reason that we are able to do the good work that we do,” Rudd said.