Volunteers, house captains wanted for Labor of Love to help 26 homes in 2022 – Shaw Local
Since United Way of Eastern La Salle County’s first labor of love in 1992, volunteers of all ages have repaired and restored 919 homes.
Labor of Love celebrates its 31st year of helping low-income homeowners on Saturday, October 1.
The volunteer planning team, led by Bill Cairns, Brian Lacke and John Levy, has developed work plans for each of the 26 homes that Labor of Love hopes to provide services.
United Way’s Labor of Love is a one-day community volunteer effort to repair, restore and winterize homes owned and occupied by seniors, veterans, people with disabilities and low-income families.
As in previous years, Labor of Love anticipates that hundreds of community volunteers will unite and fan out into our local communities to provide free home repair services to neighbors in need of assistance. Organizers are looking for qualified and unqualified volunteers to help perform small miracles for deserving homeowners who cannot do the work themselves and cannot afford to hire the work done.
Anyone 14 and older can be a Labor of Love volunteer. Volunteer workers and at least one house captain are needed in every household. House captains provide team leadership and coordination of home projects. House captains will meet on Tuesday, September 6 and 13 to select their house of love work and coordinate plans for the work to be done. Meetings will be held at the United Way, 601 State Street, Ottawa. Enter through the front of First National Bank Ottawa, South Branch. If you want to know more about the house captain role, call United Way at 815-434-4003.
Skilled labour, building trades and contractors will take care of the more difficult aspects and provide the expertise; allowing volunteers of all levels to participate and help. Labor of Love needs at least 26 house captains; as well as handymen and women, licensed roofers, plumbers, carpenters, electricians, cement workers, HVAC professionals, flooring, coatings, and tree maintenance services.
The help of volunteers is also needed to serve breakfast at 7 a.m. and lunch at noon to volunteers, and to help with cleaning.
Volunteers will spend the day of October 1 repairing, replacing and sealing to make the homes of elderly, disabled and low-income homeowners warm, safe, dry and accessible. Projects will range from roof and porch repairs; replacement and repair of doors, windows, plumbing and electrical appliances; repairs and installation of flooring, gutters and siding; general cleaning, painting and trash removal, furnace inspections; gardening work, cleaning gutters, washing windows; and the installation of smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, among others.
“Some of the repairs seem minimal, like installing grab bars so an elderly person can bathe and move around their home safely,” said Bill Cairns, co-chairman of Labor of Love and carpenter of the Local 195/174. “Other repairs may involve extreme situations where people live with unsafe electricity or an inoperable heating system. All repairs have a significant impact on the recipient’s life.
Local homeowners approved to receive Labor of Love 2022 assistance live in the communities and rural areas of Ottawa, Marseille, Seneca, Sheridan and Naplate. The age of the candidates ranges from 50 to 93 years old. All Labor of Love homeowners own and live in their home, meet eligibility criteria including financial eligibility, and participate in a home preview process. Volunteers perform eligibility screening, confirm home ownership, perform home previews, and approve home selections. Priority is given to residences owned and occupied by seniors who need improvements to address serious deficiencies in health, safety and accessibility. The deadline to apply was August 1.
“You have to experience Labor of Love to appreciate the need that exists and the great sense of community that comes from working with other volunteers on a project to improve the lives of these homeowners and their families. “said Lisa Zoran, Kitchen Committee co. -chair. “The labor of love is possible because of the extraordinary spirit of local volunteerism that exists within our community.”
Individuals or groups interested in volunteering to help with any aspect of labor of love and for any duration on October 1 can pick up and complete a volunteer form and waiver. Forms are available from the United Way, 601 State Street, Ottawa. United Way is located in the South Branch of the First National Bank of Ottawa. Forms can also be downloaded from www.unitedwayelc.org. The volunteer form and waiver must be completed, signed and returned to United Way before October 1st. Youth between the ages of 14 and 17 must complete a student waiver, signed by the student and parent/guardian.
As in previous years, industry and business, churches, organizations and high school groups have stepped forward to adopt a house as their own project, providing the manpower and muscle needed to complete the work in a selected house. In 2021, more than 258 volunteers improved 26 houses. Contractors carried out critical repairs to four homes, including replacing a floor, a roof and converting a bathroom to be fully accessible, and Stevenson Transfer moved a disabled couple from an unsecured mobile home.
“The extent of work completed at each home will depend on the amount of contributions received and the number of volunteers who show up to help on October 1,” said Brian Lacke, co-chair of Labor of Love and electrician for Local 176.
“In addition to time donations and ‘sweat equity’, Labor of Love seeks financial support from the community,” Lacke added. “We need your help. Although we all face the expense of maintaining our homes, no one struggles more than the low-income homeowner. Now, more than ever, seniors and low-income families income are placed in the position of choosing between vital necessities, such as medicine or payment for a utility; verses preventing a leaky roof or repairing faulty plumbing.
Labor of Love works to ensure that as many seniors and homeowners with disabilities as possible do not have to make these difficult choices.
Contributions may be mailed or delivered to Labor of Love, c/o United Way of Eastern La Salle County, 601 State St., Ottawa.
Call United Way at 815-434-4003 with any further questions.