Preparing for the coming winter

While winter seems far away during the warm days of Summer, a local group is beginning to plan a winter weatherization program.

Central Iowa RSVP, in partnership with several other community organizations, will be coordinating the Warm Hearts Warm Homes Winter Weatherization Program in Hamilton County this year. The program aims to assist low-income individuals or families, the elderly, veterans and the families of those currently deployed by helping their homes better retain heat.

Becky Koppen, volunteer coordinator for Central Iowa RSVP, said preparing homes for winter can help people in need save money on their utility bills. That includes putting plastic on windows, sealing leaks in doors and window frames, and installing doors sweeps, among other measures.

“It’s just little fixes inside the house that will hopefully save quite a bit of money on their heating bills this year depending on how frigid of a winter we have,” Koppen said.

Those interested in receiving assistance through the project can pick up an application at Upper Des Moines Opportunity Inc. or the Veteran’s Affairs Office, both located in Webster City. Income guidelines are available on the application.

The project has a goal of servicing 30 homes in the county. To do that, Koppen is seeking volunteers to winterize homes. She is looking to gather 15 teams of four to five people with one leader to volunteer. Koppen plans to reach out to local churches, civic organizations and businesses to put together teams for the project.

Community members can also volunteer as auditors for the program. Before the winterization is conducted, auditors will visit the homes of approved applicants to determine the needs of the homeowner. As the project is still in the planning stages, Koppen is also seeking RSVP volunteers to help with the project from behind the scenes.

While the project will require a lot of work to come together, Koppen is encouraging volunteers to have fun with it. She’s encouraging groups of volunteers to come up with team names and wear matching clothing.

“I’d like to see people get excited about this opportunity to help some low-income families, to volunteer and make a difference for someone,” Koppen said.

Currently, the date set for volunteers to winterize homes is Nov. 15 from 8:30 a.m. to noon. A pizza lunch is planned for volunteers following their work. However, Koppen said she’s still working to secure funding for the project and can not guarantee that the lunch will be held. She encouraged community members to donate toward the project.

Those interested in volunteering for or donating to the project can do so by contacting Koppen at (515) 832-2525.