On Saturday, April 24th volunteers came together to provide needed repairs on four homes in Butlertown. Ranging from replacing a rotten fence and dangerous steps to installing native plants and painting a wheelchair ramp, the 22 volunteers worked from 9 until a little after noon to accomplish these projects for neighbors who requested a helping hand.
Last year, the Covid pandemic forced Rebuilding Together Kent County to make major changes in how they delivered assistance to local homeowners. Previously, they depended almost exclusively on volunteer labor to accomplish their mission. In 2020, they pivoted to hiring contractors, replacing 13 roofs and performing major repairs to two bathrooms and a kitchen.
Perry Bird, Eastern Regional Director for Rebuilding Together, welcomed the group on Saturday and reflected on the difficulties so many people and organizations experienced dealing with the pandemic. “2020 really almost took the wind out of the sails of nonprofits throughout the country and Rebuilding Together affiliates were no exception. We rely on neighbors helping neighbors so it’s a real challenge when you can’t do that safely. Rebuilding Together Kent County rolled up their sleeves and found a way to get it done.”
Now that local residents are receiving their vaccines and the weather is improving, Rebuilding Together Kent County is thrilled to re-launch their volunteer program. With the generous support of several local businesses, including the event’s Master [RE]Builder Sponsor, USA Fulfillment, they were able to stretch grant funds further.
National Rebuilding Day also saw the launch of a new collaboration between Rebuilding Together Kent County and ShoreRivers. Earlier this year, a grant from the US Department of Agriculture allowed the home repair nonprofit to perform mold remediation and re-grade the property for a single mother and her two children. Wanting to do more to prevent water from saturating the crawl space in the future, Rebuilding Together Kent County approached ShoreRivers to discuss a partnership and the response was an enthusiastic “yes!”. Sassafras Riverkeeper, Zack Kelleher, led a team of volunteers, including the homeowner and her children, in planting low-maintenance, aromatic native species that will wick water away from the home.
“At a time when our healthcare system is under extreme pressure, we owe it to each other to make sure our homes and the homes of our neighbors are safe,” said Caroline Blakely, President and CEO of Rebuilding Together, headquartered in Washington, D.C. “National Rebuilding Month is an opportunity to amplify the direct connection between our homes and our health and to encourage everyone in our community to take steps to be safer and healthier at home.”
The local National Rebuilding Day event was a true reflection of the community spirit. In addition to the volunteers and organizations mentioned previously, Rebuilding Together Kent County is grateful to Mt. Olive AME Church for allowing them to begin the morning there and donating their bathroom facilities to the cause. A special thanks also goes to the students of Horizons of Kent and Queen Anne’s who created beautiful, handmade door decorations and wind chimes for each of the participating homeowners. Anthony, Judge & Ware, Chestertown Lumber, Dukes-Moore Insurance Agency, Dunkin’ Donuts, Radcliffe Corporate Services, and The Dixon Group also provided support to ensure the event was a success. Together, these neighbors and partners are building a more prosperous and thriving community for Kent County residents to call home.
Rebuilding Together Kent County is a nonprofit group whose mission is “repairing homes, revitalizing communities, and rebuilding lives”. They leverage gifts of time, money and skill to complement professional contractors as they repair and modify homes for vulnerable seniors, those living with disabilities, and families. They are dedicated to ending substandard housing in Kent County. All work is done at no cost to the homeowner. Learn more at RebuildingTogetherKCMD.org.