Tag Archive: Rebuilding Together Muscatine County

A Great Partnership!

October 22, 2020

When the Covid 19 quarantine began, everything, everywhere, came to a screeching halt.

Everything except need.

Need never takes a break.

One thing that the quarantine did very quickly, was to magnify where the need was the largest.

They called it “Food insecurities”.

feedingamerica.org defines food insecurities as “a household’s inability to provide enough food for every person to live an active, healthy life. Food insecurity is one way we can measure and assess the risk of hunger.”

With all businesses closed, and the inability to leave their homes, those affected, found themselves in worse condition than they were in before.

Rebuilding Together Muscatine County, like everyone else, had their ability to serve as usual, curtailed.

Rebuilding Together Muscatine County’s Executive Director, Frank Iliff, heard of this major need.

Looking to continue serving in the community, because “It Just Needs Done”, he began to seek where he could be the most help to the community.

Through his connections with United Way, he found that he could help in food delivery around town, redistributing overstock from HyVee and other local merchants to local food pantries.

MCSA, The Salvation Army food pantries have benefited from these deliveries, and many families have been helped through these efforts.

This Saturday, another opportunity will be made available to the public.

Rebuilding Together Muscatine County will partner with MCSA and the USDA Farmers to Families Food Box initiative.

All the details you need are as follows.

‼️ THIS SATURDAY – OCTOBER 24 ‼️

Spread the word!

MCSA will be hosting a Free Food Box Distribution on Saturday 10/24.

Come get yours!

Locations & Times for Box Pick-Up:10am – 1pm.

Staff and volunteers will set up distribution stations at the following areas:

  • Ripley’s Mobile Home Park in main parking lot
  • Van Acker’s/L&B/Gaslight Mobile Home Parks in main parking lot
  • M&W Mobile Home Park along entry road
  • Louisa Court Mobile Home Park along entry road
  • Downtown Muscatine in Richie Sound & Lights Parking Lot 818 E 8th St
  • MCSA at 312 Iowa Ave

1pm – 4pm: Open community distribution at Crossroads, 1424 Houser Street.

This location is for folks who did not visit one of the other sites.

Please SHARE to get the word out to our community!

Coming Out of Quarantine – It Just Needs Done

August 31, 2020

Some things in life just happen, and you don’t see them coming. You get blindsided. 

As with most of our new friends here at Rebuilding Together Muscatine County, these things happen, leaving people not knowing where to turn for help.

This is one such story.

This man’s beloved wife, although really quite young, had a stroke, and after going to the hospital for treatment, other complications arose, leaving her paralyzed from the waist down.

Their home was not at all accessible at all for their newfound reality.

Not knowing where to turn, he called his friend State Senator Mark Lofgren.

Mark has stood behind Rebuilding Together Muscatine County since it’s inception, and in turn gave him information on how to contact us.

Who told you about us?

So after the contacts were made, the planning began in earnest.

Frank took one of our volunteers with him to visit the home, to see what needed to be done.

Not able to use the front door due to accessibility issues, it was determined that the ramp would need to go around to the back.

In order to keep in line with state and city codes, ramps need a certain amount of “drop” for each foot that they are tall.

These numbers caused this to be the biggest ramp ever created by Rebuilding Together Muscatine County.

Let the games begin.

RTMC uses a ramp system that does not typically need concrete footings.

Our ramps are such that when they are no longer needed, they are disassembled, and put back in storage to be used on other projects when the need arises.

Due to the size of this project, footings were mandatory – Friday was spent placing holes for the footings

Getting things started.

Saturday morning dawned cool and bright. A perfect day for a ramp building.

After a good breakfast provided by a nearby church event, the volunteers were ready to get started.

Some of the volunteers had worked with us before and were well versed in what and how things needed to be done.

The ones who have never worked with us before came alongside and had a great learning experience.

This team was amazing; troopers all!

Progress.
Lunch Time!

Typically, our food and snacks are provided for us by the local Pizza Ranch.

But on this day … this day the family of the folks we were building the ramp for, decided to provide everything we needed.

Ice cold water, sandwiches, cold salads, chips, drinks, and amazing desserts!

What a treat to have these things available all day to our team of volunteers.

Team Work!
Our biggest ramp to date!

Of course, not all volunteers could stay all day, so they kind of came in shifts, each staying as long as they were able.

We believe that if everyone does their part, then the whole job gets done!

Shift change.

There is always more to do on a job this size.

Some who were unable to help physically, took up donations to give to RTMC.

We do not charge for our work, but we never say no to donations either! 

Always more to do!

At the end of the day, the entire ramp was installed.

Some volunteers will return next Saturday to install the handrails, and reinforcements underneath the structure.

Thank you to all who helped in ANY way!

We love helping our community, because “It Just Needs Done!”

What’s Happening Now?

July 15, 2020

While the world seems to have ground to a halt by COVID19, your Rebuilding Together, although not actively doing any projects, has not ceased in it’s behind the scenes work.
We are actively spreading the word about what we do, and are still seeking grants, donations, and other forms of backing. In this way, when the world opens back up again – We’ll be ready!
Here is the latest impact statement from our corporate office;
Survey Finds Rebuilding Together’s Repair Work Positively Impacts Low-Income Families
Data indicate improvements for service recipients in areas of safety, physical health, mental health, independence, economic security, and community connection

July 06, 2020

WASHINGTON, D.C., JULY 8, 2020 – Today, Rebuilding Together released the results of its pilot impact measurement survey designed to assess the effectiveness of the organization’s core practice model. Affiliates surveyed service recipients and conducted home assessments before and after repairs, using a checklist of 25 safe and healthy housing principles. The results indicate that work done by Rebuilding Together’s affiliates achieved positive outcomes across all categories included in the survey: safety, physical health, mental health, independence, economic security, and community connection.

Results from the survey included the following:

Seven in 10 neighbors who received repairs report low or no chance of falling.

Nearly two-thirds of neighbors who reported their health was less than good before repairs said their health improved after the repairs were completed.

Three in five neighbors who received repairs report feeling happier, and almost 90 percent of the most stressed respondents feel less stress about home repairs and maintenance after receiving repairs.

Nine in 10 neighbors who received repairs plan to age in place.

More than three-quarters of neighbors who received repairs plan to pass their properties down to family or friends.

Three in five neighbors who received repairs say their homes are now more valuable as an asset.

The full report can be viewed on Rebuilding Together’s website: https://rebuildingtogether.org/our-impact

“The results of Rebuilding Together’s impact measurement survey show home repairs enable our neighbors to stay in their homes safely, creating a ripple effect of positive change,” said Caroline Blakely, president & CEO of Rebuilding Together. “A safe and healthy home strengthens our mental and physical health, fosters independence, increases upward mobility, and causes community connection to thrive. We’re encouraged to see that the survey results speak to the efficacy of our mission and will continue to follow these indicators in the years to come.”

To measure the impact on homeowners themselves, Rebuilding Together affiliates surveyed the clients they served in five months. The survey asked about changes they may have experienced since repairs were made. The project was executed throughout 2019 in partnership with external evaluator Actionable Insights.

National Rebuilding Together Day – 2020 Shout Out!

April 25, 2020

Well today – April 25 – is National Rebuilding Together Day.

The year 2020 will go down in history for the COVID19 virus.

Many things have been postponed or cancelled.

In America where Rebuilding Together resides, and literally every where else on the planet.

We are not able to have our National Rebuilding Together Day today.

But we can give a shout out to our volunteers.

They come and they sign up

They get their instructions.

Whether it’s inside;

Or outside in the rain.

They get the job done.

And smile when it’s over!

We could not do what we do with out all of you!

Today we celebrate YOU!

We hope to see you in the fall!

RTMC, National Rebuilding Day, and COVID-19

March 17, 2020

To all Rebuilding Together Muscatine County Volunteers and Family,

As we approach our annual event, National Rebuilding Day (NRD), scheduled to take place on Saturday, April 25, we must use caution.  We are closely monitoring recommendations from Iowa Gov. Reynolds as to how we can help reduce the chances of spreading the Coronavirus. At this point, all area restaurants, bars, and places of entertainment have been closed to prevent gathering. Area schools are closed for the next month, and many other businesses may soon follow.

It is with the safety of our volunteer family, as well as our clients that the advisory board has implemented the following changes for NRD 2020:

  • Work will only proceed with the homeowner’s approval, which may be removed due to increased risk as time passes. If the homeowner is uncomfortable, we will reschedule for a later date.
  • All volunteers will receive a medical screening on the day work is to be completed. Volunteers who are found to pose a potential risk will be thanked, provided a donut, and sent home.
    • Screenings will include temperature and a questionnaire, as well as any additional information the medical team deems necessary.
  • Workgroups will be assigned in groups of 6-8 to accommodate the under 10 per gathering recommendation. This number will include the House Captain.
  • Volunteers will be assigned a check-in time, group check-ins will be staggered to allow for medical screenings, and to accommodate the small gathering requirements.
  • No volunteers will have direct contact with any homeowner at any time.
  • No volunteer will enter the resident at any time. All of the approved projects are accessibility ramps, therefore the work will be outside.
  • All ramps will be cleaned and sanitized before the workgroup leaving for the day.
  • All of these regulations are subject to change as more information is made available, including the potential to cancel or postpone the projects.

Due to the changes that are being set in place for 2020, our NRD will look different than in years past. Additionally, our volunteer force will need to accommodate. Within our smaller workgroups, we would like to ask returning volunteers and skilled builders who are willing to assist when needed.

For more information on how to volunteer, or with questions over the procedures in place, visit https://rebuildingtogethermuscatine.org/

Thank you for your understanding and overwhelming support over the years,

-RTMC Advisory Board

RTMC’s Executive Director is Featured on the National Web Page!

February 5, 2020

Frank Iliff

Frank Iliff, Rebuilding Together Muscatine County’s executive director, keeps an extra shirt in his truck, but not because rebuilding homes is sweaty work. It’s because the shirt he wears is often soaked with tears by the end of the day.

“The homeowners we help will hold me and hug me and cry,” Frank said. “Once, I was hugged by a war veteran after our Rebuilding Together Muscatine County volunteers put a new sidewalk, kitchen sink and bathroom vanity in his home. He’d been so hardened by life, and he just stood there in my arms and cried and cried. It’s that kind of thing that gives me the impetus to carry on.”

Frank has done much more than just carry on. Since he founded Rebuilding Together Muscatine County in 2007, the organization—and Frank—have become fixtures in the local community. Muscatine is both a city and a county stretched along a scenic bend of the Mississippi River on the southeast edge of Iowa. Around 24,000 people live within the city’s borders, and the county has about twice as many residents. Tourists tend to call Muscatine a sleepy town, all while praising its spectacular sunsets and Iowan charm.

“My family and I have lived here for 30 years. Arriving in Muscatine was the first time I felt like I had a real home town. Though I haven’t lived here my whole life, I’m from here now. I’m a Muscatiner.”

Frank had always wanted to devote all his working hours to Rebuilding Together Muscatine County. But with his career set on a different path, he’d instead pressed ahead as its volunteer leader, fitting it into his schedule whenever possible. “Once I turned 66,” he explained, “I could get social security and make it happen.” In 2018, after decades working swing shifts at a local corporation, Frank retired from the private sector. Today, Frank is Rebuilding Together Muscatine County’s full-time executive director and first paid employee.

Now that Frank is free to devote himself fully to Rebuilding Together Muscatine County, his ambitions have grown. In summer 2019, the organization took on its first remodel of an entire building. Frank and his volunteers put in two bedrooms, a full kitchen, laundry room, shower and more into the small former office space. Once the transformation is complete, it will become a new home for a local family in need.

These kind of comprehensive home repairs are sorely needed for Muscatine to flourish. According to a 2017 study, the county’s existing housing is its largest economic asset. However, most of the existing housing is older and needs maintenance and rehabilitation. As a result, Muscatine County doesn’t have enough homes that people earning the lowest incomes can afford. More and more, people over age 55 are leaving Muscatine in part because their homes are not places where they can comfortably and safely grow older.

There’s little chance Frank would ever leave Muscatine.

“What makes me stay is the people. The people are just the best. When there’s a need, they step up. They step up and they go out of their way. They just do. I’ve had hundreds of volunteers show up to fix up their neighbors’ homes just by simply asking for help.”

Frank intends to make Rebuilding Together a household name in Muscatine County and beyond. He explained his plans: “The need in this area is so great. I want to get the word out more in Muscatine County about the work we do. Then I want to bring Rebuilding Together into other counties to help even more people and communities.”

To start on these goals, Frank has already joined the Rotary Club of Muscatine and become an ambassador with the Greater Muscatine Chamber of Commerce and Industry. He is sitting down with local corporate leaders to figure out the best way to get them involved in Rebuilding Together Muscatine County’s home repair projects.

Frank also has an eye on the long term in another way. “I have seven grandkids. They’ll sometimes help out on our home rebuilding days. That means I’ve got seven really important people watching me and learning from me.”

Rebuilding Together is really about hard-working, compassionate people helping other people. Volunteer with your local Rebuilding Together affiliate and become a partner in your community.

It’s Bigger Than a Kitchen Sink

March 4, 2019

Sometimes it’s bigger than a kitchen sink.

Sometimes it’s more than a roof that does not leak.

It is about value; Value of the human spirit.

It is about community; Community that makes every one in it better.

In this video, you will see more of what we mean.

Rebuilding Together Muscatine County is in the beginning stages of giving people hope in a different way.

We won’t stop doing what we are doing, but we will expand our reach to more of the people who just need a hand up.

Would you be a part of this? More details to come.

It will be easier when we do it [Re]Build Together.

And besides, “It Just Needs Done”.

 

Impact Neighborhood Model

Partner With US

February 27, 2019
Rebuilding Together: Partner With Us

Coming soon, along with Spring, is one of the most exciting times of the year for Rebuilding Together.

The last Saturday in April – April 27 – is

National Rebuilding Together Day

 

Rebuilding Together Muscatine county, along with over 150 other affiliates,

will come together and make a difference in communities all across America.

Please save the date!

 

If you can’t participate with us on the 27th,

we still have much to do during the month to prepare.

 

Please watch for updates as the day approaches –

We cannot do what we do without your help.

And as Frank says;

“It Just Needs Done”.