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Warm Hearts, Warm Homes

R.S.V.P. continues annual winter weatherization program for local residents

November 11, 2016
Adri Sietstra ( ,

Local volunteers will be weatherizing 30 Webster City residences during this year's Warm hearts, warm homes event. On Saturday, Nov. 12, 50 to 60 individuals will spend their morning helping area families protect their homes from the cold and snow. During the 2015 Warm hearts, warm homes project 26 households were winterized.

Central Iowa R.S.V.P. had been spearheading the Warm Hearts, Warm Homes program since 2014. Central Iowa R.S.V.P. is a volunteer organization with locations in Story, Marshall, Webster, and Hamilton County. The program is designed to help residents across the county winterize their homes.

"The purpose of this program is to help low-income, frail/elderly, and veterans to tighten up their homes, make them more comfortable through the winter, and to save them money on their heating costs," said R.S.V.P. Volunteer Coordinator Becky Koppen.

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According to Koppen, this year there are nine volunteer teams consisting of four to seven people signed up for this year's winterizing projects. Each team is assigned a specific list of homes in (size depending) to work on.

"It's also an opportunity for community members to get together, volunteer, and help people in need," Koppen said.

Households in need of assistance applied for the program in September and October. The accepted applicants had their homes "audited"prior to the volunteer event. Each residence was visited to determine what needs had to be met in order for parts of their homes to become weather-proof. This included measuring windows, calculating how many exterior wall outlets are present, and checking to see if furnace filters are in need of replacement.

"Our program just does interior weatherizing. We put plastic on the inside of people's windows, we do weather stripping around doors, draft dodgers on the bottoms of doors, put foam gaskets into switch plates and electrical outlets on exterior walls where cold air leaks in, and we replace furnace filters," said Koppen.

Once each audit is complete, the plastic, caulk, and other materials needed for each residence is purchased and bagged individually for each home. Materials for each house were purchased using funds secured by Central Iowa R.S.V.P. This includes grants, donations, and gifts from churches, groups, and individuals in the Hamilton County area. Each home costs an average of $50 to weather-proof.

"We are hoping this is making a difference for those we assist," Koppen said.

Churches, groups, and other organizations also have the option of adopting a home. This includes paying for the weatherization work that must be completed, going to the residence and measuring and determining needs, and completing the work needed on the program date.

Koppen hopes that as the program grows more groups will adopt homes in need.

"What I would love to see happen is for groups to not only put up the funds for the home, but to be the ones to go to that home and do the measurements, and be the ones to take the team there and put the materials on the home," said Koppen.

According to Koppen, more funds will be needed for the November 2017 event.



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