Guest blog submitted by Moriah Koehler, 4imprint. Thanks to 4imprint for being a corporate partner and bringing your employees on Give Back Bus adventures throughout the year!
Sixteen people get on a bus to an unknown location to do a secret project. It might sound like the premise for a mystery novel, but a group of 4imprint-ers got to live it first-hand with a volunteering adventure on the Give Back Bus!
While waiting to board, Katelyn St. Peter, Give Back Bus coordinator, hinted at what might lie ahead, but each turn of the bus had us in suspense. We ended up at an Appleton nonprofit called Rebuilding Together Fox Valley that provides home repairs for low-income homeowners. Most recipients are elderly persons, veterans, or people with disabilities already struggling with day-to-day needs, so when something goes wrong with their home or health, the effects can be devastating. Executive Director Chip Wood shared about a woman they’d helped who went 6 years bathing with wet wipes when she was no longer able to step over the edge of her tub. By serving vulnerable community members like her, Rebuilding Together makes sure people can continue living in their own homes safely and with dignity.
How We Helped
Rebuilding Together works all year long, but we helped prepare supplies for a special event held in April called National Rebuilding Day, where 500 volunteers repair and remodel 12 local homes in a single day. Staff members Heather Burns and Mitch Boursin showed us how to assemble painting, cleaning, and safety kits so volunteers on location can get right to work on the day of the event. We also helped reorganize and clear out the storage area. There was something for everyone to chip in with, and plenty of fun, laughter, and lively conversation (don’t forget donuts and coffee breaks, too!).
It was clear how meaningful this was for Chris, Heather, and Mitch. As a 3-person organization, every pair of helping hands makes a difference. They could have spent a week of valuable time doing what we were able to do in just a couple hours. The relief and appreciation was easy to see on their faces. Having these tasks completed frees them to keep their attention on connecting with people in need.
Because as vital as the home repairs are to the recipients, what’s just as valuable is the caring presence Rebuilding Together provides— to give one-on-one time to make sure each recipient knows that they have an important place in our community and in our hearts.