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Rock the Block gets to work in Appleton

Published: Sep. 10, 2020 at 3:59 PM CDT
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APPLETON, Wis. (WBAY) -The coronavirus pandemic forced the Fox Cities Habitat for Humanity to postpone its Rock the Block event scheduled for May in Waupaca. That event will now take place later this month. But first, volunteers are working to revitalize an Appleton neighborhood.

After months off because of the coronavirus pandemic, Habitat for Humanity staff and volunteers are finally back to work for Rock the Block.

“We found ways to adapt and be flexible with it and we have amazing supporters and sponsors and a core group of senior crew volunteers that have been with us for over a decade that we are able to still work with,” says Rock the Block Outreach Coordinator Sarah Wylie.

Focusing on the historic central neighborhood in Appleton crews began working on Thursday on a home on North State Street. As part of Rock the Block, over a two day period, exterior home repair and preservation projects will be completed for low-income homeowners in the neighborhood.

Wylie adds, “Working on 26 projects total, 21 of those are residential. So, today we’re working on fence repairing and painting, but we’re doing siding, windows, doors, roofing, porch repairs, porch railings, anything exterior.”

Ordinarily, projects like this would bring in hundreds of people to complete the work. But, with limitations because of the pandemic, Rock the Block can only use its senior crew of volunteers who understand the importance of projects like these that improve and beautify the neighborhood and surrounding homes.

Fred Ebbesen is a member of the senior crew. He says, “It’s nice to get back into a neighborhood and start to see it get better, get revitalized and watch the neighbors look over and say, you know I could probably do something with my own house. That’s the thing, we might be doing 26 different projects but there will be 50 different houses that end up benefiting from it.”

All of the work will not only improve the look of the area, but it also leads to maintaining home ownership rates and most importantly -- pride among the people that call this area home.

Projects like this cost money and that’s why the Fox Cities Habitat for Humanity is looking to raise an additional $75,000 before the end of the year to reach its $400,000 goal.

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