Forty projects were accomplished Oct. 28 in the South Bay through SV chapter
Published in the November 22 – December 5, 2017 issue of Morgan Hill Life
Ascencion Gonzalez’s home on Torrey Court got a facelift thanks to a team of about 15 Rotary Club of Morgan Hill members. They volunteered their time Saturday, Oct. 28, through the Silicon Valley branch of the nonprofit Rebuilding Together organization to paint walls, build a new fence, put in a new gas stove in the kitchen, and install better lighting in his ranch-style home.
“This is awesome. It’s an unbelievable blessing to us,” said his daughter, Angie Gonzalez. “My father is disabled, he’s legally blind. He just had all the toes of his left foot amputated and on the right foot, only two toes are left. He’s in really bad shape, and he’s been sick for a while. He’s diabetic.”
Angie found out about the Rebuilding Together program through the city of Morgan Hill. She put her father’s name on the list and the home was inspected to see if it qualified under the guidelines of the program.
Rebuilding Together provided the materials including lumber and paint for the project. Rotary Club members got to work fixing Ascencion’s home under the guidance of Lynn Alens, the “house captain” with Rebuilding Together.
“I’m in charge of this project so I come here ahead of time to evaluate the home,” he said. “There’s a team of people who evaluate the project before I do to pick the project for the day. Once they’re accepted into the plan, I come out and look at the things that they’ve given me that they think should be done. I look at what we can do in one day and bring all the materials. I come here and organize all the people and give directions to them.”
People sometimes confuse Rebuilding Together with the more widely known Habitat for Humanity nonprofit. Habitat for Humanity builds homes for people in need while Rebuilding Silicon Valley brings volunteers together to fix up homes for owners who do not have the resources to take care of basic repair and more cosmetic chores such as putting on a fresh coat of paint on walls.
“They’re both nationwide bigger organizations,” Alens said. “Today (Oct. 28), there’s some 40 projects going on in the South Bay through the Silicon Valley chapter.”
Rebuilding Together got its start in 1973 when people in Midland, Texas, noticed their neighbors’ homes had fallen into disrepair and the homeowners could not afford to fix them on their own. They volunteered their time and skills to rehabilitate the homes of their neighbors.
The group formed into Rebuilding Together as a housing organization and opened the national office in 1988.
Teaming with corporate and community partners, it transforms the lives of low-income homeowners by improving the safety and health of their homes and revitalizing our communities.
Rebuilding Together’s local affiliates and nearly 100,000 volunteers complete about 10,000 rebuild projects nationwide each year. The Rotary Club Rotary got involved in 2015 and fixes up a home every six months, with Acencion’s house being the fifth.
The local club members take pride in working together to help low-income home-owners, said Rotarian Judy Henry as she stood on a ladder and applied gray-colored paint donated by Lowe’s to the exterior wall of Ascension’s home.
“This is the fun part of Rotary,” she said. “This hands-on community stuff is what I like.”