In 1997 the Emergency Residence Project (our local shelter for the homeless) partnered with our local Habitat for Humanity to build a new four-plex apartment building to serve as transitional housing for homeless families. The plan was for Habitat to supply the labor and ERP to supply the materials. We did them one better. We were able to raise Over one hundred fifty thousand dollars worth of in-kind donations of labor and materials was raised, with over eighty local businesses contributing to the cause. Even more remarkable was how we built it. In addition to Habitat volunteers, the Iowa State University Homecoming Committee, the Story County Building Trades class, and local homebuilding subcontractors all provided volunteers to build the project from foundation to drywall in only six days.

During the week of the “Blitz Build”, Alan Christy who organized and managed the project, recalls the feeling that they were standing on Holy Ground. At the beginning of each shift, there was a short safety talk and then a person from Campus Ministry gave a short devotion. The current proposal to renovate these well-worn units will follow this same plan for volunteers

It has now been fifteen years since we dedicated that apartment building, and it has been a blessing to the community beyond our wildest dreams. Over three hundred children and their parents have called this humble building home as it continues to serve the Ames community. Vic Moss, the director of ERP, has said that during the summer, as he walks about the grounds, the sounds of children at play greet him as though it were schoolyard at recess.

Fifteen years of use like this have been hard on the building, and it is in need of remodeling. The cost of the materials to remodel one unit is $13,000. We plan to remodel using volunteer labor wherever we can. Our hope was to involve 4 local churches to donate the money and supply the volunteers. Saint Cecilia Catholic Church was the first to take on the challenge, and their unit has been completed. Cornerstone is renovating the second unit currently, and CUMC/Wesley is scheduled to begin work on the third unit on July 11. Alan Christy, is using his many years of homebuilding experience to organize material delivery and supervise the volunteers. Please consider donating money and/or volunteering your labor to this worthy project. Together we can build upon Holy Ground once again, and with the help of God, create a safe haven for families in need of a place to live.

If you are interested in participating as a volunteer, please contact Jon Banwart by email or by phone. You will be given a schedule of the work planned, and will be updated as the time approaches. The bulk of the work will be done on 4 Saturdays, staring on July 11, and continuing the following consecutive Saturdays. If you wish to donate money for materials, please make checks payable to CUMC/Wesley and send to Church office with note stating that donation is for ERP Renovation Project.


Jon Banwart

Click for the (revised) remodeling schedule.