RSVP helps folks keep warmer

Once the clear window film is applied and shrunk to fit with a hair dryer, it’s almost impossible to tell that it’s there.

James Johnson, whose family owns one of the 27 homes that members of the Central Iowa Retired and Senior Workers Program volunteers helped winterize, will notice it however – on the gas bill this winter.

“It helps out a lot,” he said. “It keeps it down to about $175 a month.”

He said the home, at 603 Third Ave S., was built in 1919.

“It’s one of the original houses on this avenue,” he said.

Over the years, the walls have had insulation added, the old coal furnace was retrofitted with gas burners and several years ago, replaced with a modern forced-air system.

“It’s not bad for an older home,” he said.

Mark Gustafson, volunteer coordinator for the group, said about 40 volunteers planned to spend the day winterizing. Their work includes putting plastic on the windows, replacing furnace filters, installing door sweeps and even such simple tasks as closing the storm windows.

“We do what they need to cut down on heating bills,” he said.

Joe Luke, of Eagle Grove, is one of the volunteers who helped out Saturday. He was working carefully to make sure the plastic sheeting was applied properly.

He said he enjoys volunteer work a lot.

“I just enjoy helping people,” he said,

He was also getting to work with some younger volunteers, clients and staff from Rarebit Treatment Center.

“I’m really glad to see them help out,” he said.

One of those clients, Tanner Harms, of Sergeant Bluff, was learning some new skills as the worked.

“I’m learning how to measure,” he said.

Volunteering was giving him an emotional boost too.

“It’s nice to get out and help,” he said,

Nancy Clay, a youth counselor at Rarebit, was helping out too, deftly applying a hair dryer to shrink the plastic in place.

She said it’s a good experience for her clients.

“They learn to help others in a positive and constructive way,” she said.