Ten years after flooding caused havoc in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Matthew 25 gathered about 260 volunteers from local businesses, churches, and families to help their neighbors during Transform Week 2018.
“For us, it kind of goes back to the whole idea of investing the talents that we have and investing them in the places and people that are overlooked,” said Clint Twedt-Ball, Executive Director of Matthew 25. “We bring in volunteers to work on homes and to push people forward. Our job then is to gather homeowners and ask, ‘How can the community can rally around you and invest in you?’”
This year, they had about 18 different projects in the area. Those projects included painting, repairing a deck, replacing windows and installing new bathroom fixtures.
“It’s a great way to get involved with the community,” said Steve Schmitz. “Working with Matthew 25 especially is just a great way to get involved and I look forward to doing this kind of work in the future. I just think it’s great to see people get their house improved, and their lives improved. It changes the lives of all of us.”
Schmitz helped replace 17 windows that had glass falling out and weren’t protecting the home from the weather, especially in the winter.
“The good thing is that the wood itself around the outside of the windows was still in pretty good shape. The new replacement windows work really well,” Schmitz said.
Patricia, a local homeowner, has been trying to save up enough money to do most of the needed repairs herself.
“I just had the roof done a few weeks ago, and I’m like okay, I spent $6,000 on that,” she said. “Where am I going to get the money to replace my windows and floors?”
She filled out the application from Matthew 25 for Transform Week and is thankful for all the help she has received.
“They have saved me a lot,” said Patricia. “I still have some more work to do, but they did the most important things for me.”
“One aspect of transform that I think is important to keep in mind is that the people that we are helping are people who are trying to help themselves,” said Jana Bodensteiner, Director of Development and Communications at Matthew 25. “These are people who have been trying to help themselves but just aren’t able to either financially or physically.”
God is really good. He is really good. All these angels are just here and they are really friendly,” said Patricia.
To learn more about the work Matthew 25 is doing, or to donate, visit www.hub25.org.
Sculpture a reminder of neighborhood's resilience
Trinity St. James United Methodist Church in Cedar Rapids recently helped dedicate a memorial sculpture named West Side Rising in the Timecheck neighborhood a few blocks from the church. Pastor Carol Sundberg, who retired in July, gave the benediction at the ceremony.
St James UM Church had several feet of water that damaged the building. The church was able to be repaired but Trinity UM Church was a loss. Now the congregations worship together. There are very few homes left in the neighborhood where the sculpture stands.
“Our hope and our fight is that no one in Cedar Rapids should ever have to face that type of devastating loss again,” said Cedar Rapids Mayor Brad Hart, who was quoted in an article by the Cedar Rapids Gazette. “We want our neighborhood, our business, our community to know we are working hard to protect everyone in this community. Our efforts will continue until we have permanent flood protection on both sides of the river.”