June 1, 2012

Wanted: Skilled volunteers to help with next phase of rebuilding process

By John Shaughnessy

Three months after tornadoes unleashed a devastating trail of death and destruction across southern Indiana, skilled volunteers are now desperately needed to continue the process of rebuilding lives and homes.

“The area is still devastated,” says Jane Crady, coordinator of disaster preparedness and response for Catholic Charities in the archdiocese. “The debris is cleaned up. Now, we need skilled volunteers. When I say skilled, they don’t have to be professionals. They can have home experience where they’ve remodeled a room or helped to build an addition.

“We have to have groups that have at least one skilled person for every four to five unskilled workers as long as that one skilled person is willing to work with and teach the others.”

A number of youth groups have already registered to help with the rebuilding—enough to cover the month of June. Crady appreciates their volunteer spirit and the skilled workers who have signed up to direct them.

“A lot of our college and high school kids don’t have the skills yet, but we’ve still done some wonderful things with them as long as they have good skilled leaders,” Crady notes. “After the floods of 2008 [in Martinsville], I took groups of mostly high school girls, and we dry walled, mudded and taped an entire house. Once they were shown how, they did a nice job. That’s what we’re ready for now.”

Volunteer skilled workers will be needed in the area for the next two years, Crady estimates.

Expertise in plumbing, drywall and electrical work is needed. So are volunteers to paint, landscape, install kitchen cabinets and help with other projects to aid people in returning to their homes.

Volunteers can register to help at www.archindy.org/cc/disaster.

Catholic Charities officials also say there are many ways for people to help the rebuilding effort even if they are unable to volunteer. They suggest holding fundraisers to purchase gift cards from home improvement stores. They also ask people to continue to pray for families whose lives have been uprooted by the tornado damage.

“Volunteers are our lifeline,” Crady says. “Without volunteers and donations, we couldn’t do anything.” †

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