Rock the Block in King Irving

The day was forecast for thunderstorms on Saturday, and it seemed like the weatherman was finally going to keep his word. But even as the neighborhood was drenched with rain, the volunteers kept showing up – into triple digits – to work on 17 projects in King Irving. As long as there was no lightning, Greater Des Moines Habitat for Humanity would go on with whatever Rock the Block projects were still doable. Luckily for us, or maybe it was divine intervention, Iowa weather is never really that predictable; the clouds parted and made way for one of the most beautiful days of the spring so far.

The 17 projects the volunteers – a mix of neighborhood residents and members of Lutheran Church of Hope – were a mix of home and neighborhood improvements. They landscaped at the King Irving and Mondamin Presidential neighborhood signs, tilled and planted a new garden at King Elementary, built new retaining walls, handrails, painted, and so much more.

If you drove by that part of the neighborhood, you would have been caught off guard by the sea of orange that identified that days volunteers, but it wasn’t just them. As part of the partnership with GDM Habitat, the homeowners must fulfill “sweat equity”. That means they have to get out and work with the volunteers, not just sit back on the porch and drink lemonade. The amount of sweat equity required is dependent on the scope of the project and ability, but most sweat equity is able to be fulfilled by helping out the day of a Rock the Block.

Rock the Block is a home improvement program through GDM Habitat. It works with exterior repairs, weatherization, beautification, and landscaping. They come out on a day during the month and work on up to 25 projects. To be eligible, you must live in a targeted area, be willing to partner, have a need, and depending on the scope of the project have the ability to pay. For more information, contact Justen Jones at 515-471-8686×130.

Rock the Block photos, captured by Andrea Shandri at Objects of Art Photography.