Have questions about volunteering for Transform Week? Check here for your answers!
With all of the recent storm damage and urgent needs caused by it, we will be adding derecho repair projects to the August 31 – September 4 Transform Week and move some of the regular Transform projects to the week of October 13 – 18. For the derecho repair projects, we’re targeting low-income homeowners with damage that won’t be covered by insurance, and we’ll be taking applications for these projects August 23 – 28. Our aim is to be focused on projects such as repairing roofing and siding, replacement of broken windows, etc. For those volunteers who might not have construction-type experience, we may also have projects such as clearing of trees and removing debris from homes.
What COVID-19 precautions will there be during Transform Week?
To help reduce the risks of exposure to COVID-19, we will be implementing the following precautions:
• Masks or face coverings are required for all volunteers and homeowners.
• Volunteers are requested to maintain social distancing of at least 6 ft.
• Lunch will be served at each job site instead of gathering as a large group.
• Anyone who currently or within the past 14 days has experienced any symptoms associated with COVID-19 (such as fever, cough or shortness of breath) will not be allowed to volunteer.
• Anyone who may have been exposed to a confirmed or suspected case of COVID-19, or has been diagnosed with COVID-19 and is not yet cleared as non-contagious by their healthcare team, will not be allowed to volunteer.
How do I sign-up to volunteer?
Please complete our online registration form. Be sure to list any special skills you might have (you don’t need to be a professional — even DIY-level skills are super helpful for us to know).
What kinds of projects are part of Transform Week?
Projects could include carpentry, painting, landscaping, plumbing, replacing windows/doors, roofing, flooring, plastering, concrete work, cleaning, and more.
Do I need to have carpentry or other special skills to participate?
Special skills aren’t required but we value the skills you bring. We’ll work to connect volunteers with projects that match their skill level and experience, and no one will be expected to do work that they’re not comfortable with. If you have DIY-level or higher skills in something, please indicate so on your volunteer registration form. This information is very helpful for us as we match people with projects and figure out how many complex projects we an take on.
What will my project be?
Our project schedule changes throughout the week depending on the weather, what work prior volunteers are able to get done each day, and other factors, so we won’t know for sure what your project will be until the morning of your volunteer day. For this reason we have all volunteers meet at our urban farm every morning (437 G Ave NW) so we can communicate about the projects that day. If you’re part of a volunteer group, it’s possible that your project will be pre-assigned, so talk with your group leader to find out. If you’re a group leader that would like to be matched with a project in advance, contact Aaron at 319-200-2782 or firstname.lastname@example.org to see if that will be possible.
Can I bring a group of volunteers?
Yes, however each person in your group (including minors) must register individually so we have a record of their emergency contact information, t-shirt size, dietary restrictions, etc. Have everyone indicate on their registration form which company, church or organization you’re affiliated with so we know who is a part of your group. Please also encourage everyone to indicate what skills they might have, as that will help us determine what project might be a good fit for your group.
How does a group participate?
There are a few different ways that groups will participate:
• The most basic is just signing up for whatever days people are available and getting dispatched to the projects most in need of help those days.
• The next level is to coordinate with your group and sign up for the same time slot. Full day commitments are greatly preferred, but half days are possible. Depending on group size and skills, some groups will be pre-assigned to a project and others will determine their project on the morning of their volunteer day.
• The coordination level that is most exciting is taking ownership of a project. This typically requires one team member committing to at least 3-4 days and 5-20 additional members. For example, in the past we’ve had groups of 5-10 rebuild a porch or larger groups that have replaced all of the windows in a house. If your group would be interested in this, please let us know (email@example.com) and we can discuss further and consider some possible projects. This is a big commitment but it creates a huge impact for the homeowner and has been a very good bonding experience for the groups who have done it.
How long is the work day? Can I volunteer for part of a day?
Work days generally run from 8:30 – 3:30 with a break for lunch. We very much prefer that volunteers work a whole day, as that helps greatly with our planning, however we can accommodate half-day shifts — just please indicate that you only plan to work AM or PM in the comments section of your volunteer registration form.
Are meals provided?
Lunch is provided every day from 12 – 1 PM at your project site. We will also have a short reflection via Zoom each day at 12:30 for those that want to participate.
Are snacks provided?
Every project will have a bag of snacks and a water cooler available.
What should I wear?
We recommend you wear closed-toe shoes, long sleeves, and long pants. Other safety clothing such as goggles, hard hats, and gloves will be provided.
Do I need to bring tools?
We will provide all necessary tools. If you have tools of your own, please bring them to help supplement our tools.
Will there be water?
Please bring a water bottle. A water refill station will be available at each job site.
Will there be restrooms?
We have restrooms here in our building where people will gather each morning and for lunch. There will also be port-a-potties within walking distance of the job sites.
What is the minimum age for volunteering?
There is no set minimum age, however children and youth age 15 and under must be accompanied by a parent or guardian who will be working at the same project site and can provide adequate supervision. Youth age 16 and 17 can come without a parent or guardian, but must have their liability waiver signed by a parent or legal guardian. Note that youth under age 16 cannot be on ladders or use power tools.
Can I bring a youth group?
Yes — for youth groups with middle school students we require 1 adult for every 4 students, and for high school students we require 1 adult for every 6 students. Any children younger than middle school must have 1 adult for every student. All children and youth under age 18 must have a liability waiver signed by a parent or legal guardian. We cannot put anyone under age 16 on ladders or let them use power tools, so youth groups will likely be doing general neighborhood clean-up activities like painting, landscaping, or trash pick-up.
Where should I go?
Start your day at the Matthew 25 urban farm, 437 G Ave NW. If you are working more than one day at the same project, please come to the urban farm on your first day and then you can go straight to your project site on subsequent days.
When should I arrive?
8:30 AM for full-day and morning shifts, 12:30 PM for afternoon shifts
How do I get a t-shirt?
You need to register as a volunteer before July 31 to be guaranteed a t-shirt. After that, the remainder of the t-shirts will be given to volunteers on a first-come, first-served basis (based on when they registered).
Do I need to sign a waiver?
Every volunteer will be required to sign a liability waiver and photo release. You can print it and bring it with you or sign it when you arrive. Anyone under age 18 will need to have their waiver signed by a parent or legal guardian.
What will we do if it rains?
There will be both indoor and outdoor projects. Outdoor projects that can be safely done in the rain will continue as planned. If it’s unsafe or impractical to do certain outdoor projects or tasks in the rain, we will move those volunteers to an indoor project. Our project schedule has some flexibility, so we’ll be watching the weather throughout the week and will shuffle projects if necessary – moving indoor projects to any day where bad weather is expected and outdoor projects to better weather days.
Why can’t I register more than one person with the same email address?
The registration system we’re currently using requires each registrant to have a unique email address. If you need to get around this to register your spouse, child or whomever, you can just put in a fake email address. As long as we have one correct email address to contact your party, we don’t need to have legitimate email addresses for everyone.
Where will my project be?
All projects will be in the Taylor or Time Check neighborhoods on the west side of Cedar Rapids. Most will be assigned on the morning of your volunteer day because projects are in flux throughout the week depending on weather, the skill sets of volunteers each day, the amount of work accomplished by prior volunteer groups, etc. Please report to Matthew 25 urban farm (437 G Ave NW) on your volunteer day to receive your project assignment.
NOTE: For derecho projects during the week of August 31 – September 4, projects won’t be restricted to the Taylor or Time Check neighborhood.
How do I get to my project site? Will we be bussed?
Depending on where your project site is, you’re welcome to walk, carpool or drive your car to it from Matthew 25. We won’t have bussing.
Do I need to return to Matthew 25 at the end of the work day?
No, you’re welcome to leave directly from your project site at the end of the day. Group leaders or site leaders will need to check in to make sure the home is left in good condition for the night.
Can I bring more volunteers?
Last-minute volunteers are welcome! Have them fill out the online registration form.