Cedar Rapids nonprofit Matthew 25 is looking for volunteers of all skill levels to help with home repair and maintenance projects as part of their sixth annual Transform Week. This year’s Transform Week will take place from Monday, June 21, through Friday, June 25.
Volunteers will help homeowners in the Taylor and Time Check neighborhoods with various repairs, including replacing windows, rebuilding porches, installing floors, repairing siding and more. Qualifying low-income homeowners are able to receive help on their home at no cost to them thanks to volunteer labor, grants and sponsorships.
Homes damaged by last August’s derecho will also be included as part of this year’s repairs.
“Transform is an important part of the mission of Matthew 25, as we believe a safe and functioning home is the basis of holistic health and wellness,” the organization said in a news release.
Transform Week started in 2016 and is typically the last week in June. The effort has grown since it started five years ago. There were six projects and 50 volunteers for the first event in 2016. In 2019, there were 22 projects completed by 325 volunteers.
Transform Week in 2020 looked different due to the COVID-19 pandemic and August 2020 derecho. Last year’s efforts were split into two weeks (one in late August and one in October) to have fewer volunteers in one place to help mitigate any possible spread of the virus, the nonprofit’s Development and Communications Director Jana Bodensteiner said.
“The last few weeks right before Transform when we’re normally prepping for that ended up all going into disaster recovery,” Bodensteiner said, referring to the impact of the derecho on Transform Week. “We still did a couple regular Transform projects in August, but the vast majority of our August projects were all urgent derecho repairs. In October, we were able to do a few more of our regular projects because all the issues that were there before the derecho didn’t go away.”
There were about 125 volunteers who helped last year, and Bodensteiner said the “downsizing of volunteers” was likely due to the pandemic and derecho.
This year’s Transform Week will be similar to those in pre-pandemic years and be more “standard,” Bodensteiner said. The main difference is in project selection, which has been more flexible with derecho repair projects being considered.
The nonprofit is expecting between 300 to 400 volunteers this year with a place for everyone, regardless of experience or skill level.
“We’re definitely still looking for volunteers,” Bodensteiner said. “They can go to our website to sign up to volunteer if they want to come help out. You can come up for a day or the whole week. Come solo or come with a group. We would just love to have people sign up and come help us.”
Tools and safety equipment will be provided. Most work days go from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. with a break for lunch. Lunch and snacks will be provided.
Volunteers are asked to follow the latest CDC recommendations, which means masks are recommended for unvaccinated volunteers. Anyone not feeling well is asked to stay home.
Anyone with questions is encouraged to read the volunteer frequently asked questions or can contact Matthew 25 by emailing email@example.com or calling 319-362-2214.