Volunteers repair homes in Springfield

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – The morning’s rain didn’t hold many people back from spending a long day helping others in need in the city of Springfield. 22News found out how many homes were restored Saturday by the group called Rebuilding Together.

Ruel Jackson has seen a lot in the 44 years he’s lived on Pendleton Avenue. Never has he seen his street in Springfield’s Old Hill neighborhood get the attention of a thousand volunteers.

Jackson said, “I couldn’t do it anymore, so I’m glad that somebody who is more able to do it could do it for me.”

Ruel’s home is one of 25 on the block that the non-profit, Rebuilding Together, chose to repair and beautify.

Marcia McFarland told 22News, “We walked on the property together to take a look exactly at what he wanted done, because we’re the volunteers and we’re here to make his vision come into action, and not do our vision.”

Ruel’s neighbors, young and old, helped volunteers in the rain to shovel, and replace the old with the new.

Volunteers say they’ve realized this is more than just about beautifying the neighborhood. They’ve seen neighbors come out of their houses and get to know each other, which they say is also helping to reduce crime in the area.

This is the second year of Rebuilding Together’s plan to renovate a new block each year for ten years.

Volunteers said they can still see a big difference in the sense of community and upkeep of Tyler Street, where they began their mission last year.

“They feel a sense of strength and taking back their neighborhood, taking back their community because so many good people are living in these neighborhoods,” said Rebuilding Together Executive Director Colleen Loveless. “We have two homeowners on this one block that lived in their homes for over 60 years.”

Those who have been helped donned their ponchos to help others in need this year.

“Those are things that you don’t realize; the good that happens” said Rebuilding Together Board President Frank Nataloni. “Plant one tree and all of a sudden, you have many trees.”

More than 80 organizations helped donate more than half a million dollars to make this annual project possible once again.

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