Even though the 2020 Rock the Block Waupaca event was cancelled in spring due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the crew at Greater Fox Cities Area Habitat for Humanity worked hard on home repair projects that normally would take the hands of hundreds of volunteers.
By the Waupaca Rock the Block Committee
Robert and Jeane have been saving to make necessary improvements to their home. As a couple who spends much of their free time serving others through volunteering in the community, they have limited time and capabilities to make improvements to their own home. When the couple heard that Rock the Block was coming to Waupaca, they knew this was an opportunity they couldn’t pass by.
Although the Rock the Block event for May 7-9 was adjusted due to the COVID-19 pandemic, subcontractors were able to continue working to complete exterior projects for 32 homes, as allowed by the state. Robert and Jeane’s home received a much-needed soffit repair and replacement, a new safety handrail for the rear steps, storm door installation, windows wrapped, and the crumbled front walk has been replaced.
On Saturday, Rock the Block hosted a Community Day of Celebration to conclude the work in Waupaca. A group of about 50 volunteers disseminated from Swan Park to complete community directed projects. We couldn’t have asked for better weather, when six community-based projects were finished and included some much-needed clean up, vegetation removal, mulching, and replacing/installing fencing at two of Waupaca’s Historical Society locations. We had a local talent both entertain and serenade those of us gathered prior to dismissal to project sites. Even behind masks, an overabundance of sanitizer, and outdoor social distancing, the spirit of community and neighborly compassion was felt.
One of our project partner’s, Bryon, shared the impact partnering with Rock the Block had when addressing the sponsor volunteers. It was truly a blessed day filled with willing hearts and hands. The light drizzle of rain just began as the last of the tools were being secured in trailers to wrap up a successful celebration day!
We met and surpassed all the goals within our control with a total of 38 projects completed and oversight on six projects led by local contractors. Our volunteer participation was impacted by COVID and we were not able to use students and other volunteers for our efforts. In response to the challenging times, our staff and senior crew dedicated themselves to working in Waupaca a month before event.
When we first met Peggy, she hadn’t used her patio doors in two years. Her rear patio steps and porch side steps needed to be repaired and her garage door and patio doors needed to be replaced. Through Rock the Block Waupaca, Peggy was able to address the needed changes which will make her home safer for many years to come.
“Wow, two years ago was the last time I used that [patio] door,” she exclaimed, “it hasn’t been used because we can’t open it; we stopped cooking outside because we’d have to go out through the garage and walk around. This is so great! We’ll be able to cook outside again!”
Peggy’s home was one of 32 residential projects that has been completed.
Your support has helped to transform homes and improve lives for couples like Robert and Jeane in Waupaca. Robert recently shared, “We’ve been excited for this. Sometimes we have to pinch ourselves to know it’s real!”
On behalf of Robert, Jeane, Peggy and Bryon, thank you for your support in making their home a safe place for many years to come.
Waupaca Rock the Block Committee
We’re not done!
The work and investment in these communities does not end with the last day of the Rock the Block event, which is the catalyst that leads to long-term neighborhood revitalization. We will be accepting applications for the HomeBuyer program to help low-income residents in Waupaca have an opportunity for safe, decent, and affordable places to call home. We will complete additional interior and exterior critical repair projects that either didn’t fit the scope of work or the funding model for the initial phase of Rock the Block, but are closely aligned with Habitat’s Home Repair program.
Rock the Block Yard Signs Available!
In the coming weeks we will be placing Rock the Block yard signs throughout the community. The signs are approximately 18” x 24” and are no additional cost. If you are interested in hosting a Rock the Block yard sign at your business, please contact Samantha Uitenbroek for more information via email at [email protected] or by calling 920.967.8881.
Charitable funds within the Community Foundation and our Waupaca Area Community Foundation affiliate that supported this effort include the Rotary Club of Waupaca Charitable Fund, Robert and Christine Faulks Charitable Fund, Waupaca Area Community Foundation Fund, ThedaCare Medical Center-Waupaca Medical Staff Charitable Fund, Bright Idea Fund and the Tim and Joy Neuville Family Fund.