Barrington-area volunteers heading to Texas to repair homes
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Barrington-area volunteers will leave next week for a 10-day mission to help less fortunate Texas residents whose homes sustained significant damage from Hurricane Harvey.
What's called Barrington Regional Hurricane Relief will focus on the Houston area. The effort will be operated through the Barrington nonprofit organization Build Team, which helps local families in need with essential repairs so they can stay in their homes.
John Dawson, who owns Dawson Builders in Barrington and founded Build Team, will be among the roughly 20 volunteers planning to head to Houston on Friday, Nov. 10. He said the goal is to repair four or five homes for Harris County residents who cannot afford the work.
North Barrington philanthropist Vince Foglia's family foundation will match the first $25,000 in donations for the rebuilding. The money will go directly toward the construction and materials that'll be purchased in Texas.
"We know that 100 percent of the funds that we collect will go toward fixing the homes," Dawson said Thursday. "We don't have any overhead. There's no paid individuals in our organization. Everything is volunteer."
Barrington Regional Hurricane Relief volunteers will pay their own way to the Houston area, with the donations covering only their meals while working there, organizers said. The men and women will have different roles, such as construction, errands, driving and cooking.
Dawson, who has volunteered in several rebuilding efforts after hurricanes and flooding, said he originally planned to bring a few people to help in Texas. He mentioned he was looking for some help to Barrington resident and longtime community volunteer Bob Lee, who then assisted in assembling the much larger relief effort.
Lee said he heard from a number of people who were looking for a way to help the hurricane victims. He said donors should be comfortable supporting the Barrington-area effort because it's backed by community leaders whose work in the economically distressed areas will be visible.
"It's a great use of money," Lee said. "There's no waste of it. And we know who's managing it."
Dawson said the Barrington group will be directed to the families in need by BakerRipley in Houston, a 110-year-old nonprofit community development organization. BakerRipley will find shelter for the volunteers, who plan to sleep on air mattresses or in sleeping bags.
Dawson said he hopes to provide more than repaired homes to the Hurricane Harvey victims.
"In a flood, you lose everything," he said. "You lose your furniture and you lose your appliances. And if we can raise enough money, then we'll do that part, too. First, we'll get the house back in order, but if we have enough money, then we'll turn it back into a home."
About 40 community groups, businesses, nonprofit agencies and governments in the Barrington area are backing the Hurricane Harvey rebuilding effort with volunteers and other support. Barrington High School students are raising money through the sale of special T-shirts, which cost $5, with an image of Texas and "STAY HOUSTRONG" on them.
Barrington High Associate Principal Heath McFaul said along with the student-designed T-shirts, popcorn sales and dunk tanks with administrators have been among other fundraisers.
"It's really been a whole-school effort," McFaul said.