Thank you to to the 90 and 51 volunteers who served on June 22 and July 13 workdays, respectively, to help demo the new Rochester facility for renovation. We estimate that you saved the ministry over $50,000 to invest toward her new mission! Located at 1530 Assisi Dr. NW, the center is expected to open in January 2014. Please consider sending a much needed financial gift online or by mailing a check indicating "Rochester Center" on the memo line, sending it to: Minnesota Adult & Teen ChallengeAttn: Donor Accounts Coordinator 1619 Portland Ave. South Minneapolis, MN 55404
Join us on our next CareFest citywide mission planned for Saturday, June 14, 2014!
Online registration will begin April 1, 2014.
By Larry Orth, CareFest Coordinator
On a brisk February Sunday evening, a group of Zumbro Valley community leaders and residents gathered to brainstorm possible solutions to jumpstart their rebuilding process. Five months earlier, the flood of the century had devastated their community; government resources were scarce and buyouts were uncertain. The sea of volunteers that had come to their immediate aid had all but dried up and hope had faded. Many families had lost everything and dozens remained homeless.
That evening, the Lord began to move among His people. CareFest leaders sensed God’s call to get involved and, within a month, a two-phased event was planned. According to Lutheran Social Services relief coordinator Craig Richardt, new life was injected into the whole relief process. “Before CareFest showed up, volunteer and financial support had really diminished. I could feel the urgency that if something didn’t happen soon, the relief efforts would die and there was a lot left to do [$1.3 million].” He continued, “CareFest was the ‘shot in the arm’ that was needed to bring renewed awareness of the ongoing needs of the flooded region. CareFest brought a new level of credibility and trust to encourage other organizations to rally alongside the relief efforts. For example, United Way, Rochester Builders, and Salvation Army released designated flood recovery funds to us because they knew the money would be leveraged to do the most good for the victims. Immediately we started to build momentum and strength for a long term recovery process.”
CareFest planned a two-phased event involving over 1550 different volunteers of whom 200 served both days and countless hours beyond. On May 21, Phase 1, 350 people from 27 churches served the Valley along with about 20 businesses and other volunteers. Please see the June/July Courier for details.
On Saturday, June 18, over 1350 blue shirts served 97 sites in Rochester and the Zumbro Valley. Four hundred-fifty volunteers returned to the flood-ravaged towns of the Valley, serving a dozen sites in the Zumbro Falls/Woodville area, 42 public and private locations in Hammond/Millville, and a dozen places in Pine Island/Oronoco. Valley projects ranged from debris removal and cleaning, to landscaping, roofing, painting, siding, framing, tiling, sheet-rocking, and more; 22 involved major renovations including seven reroofing jobs and a complete home rebuild. As of the date of this writing, CareFest donated 7,829 hours and $40,000 of equipment, adding about $356,000 of value to the Zumbro community, not including the $155,000 given or pledged from the three aforementioned organizations. Mr. Richardt said, “CareFest brought back energy and hope and now many of the projects are done or are far enough along that we are able to turn them over to the residents to complete.”
In Rochester, 900 volunteers focused on deep-cleaning at a dozen schools and cleaning, painting, landscape, and other maintenance work at 20 other sites including Seasons Hospice, Hope Ranch, Women’s Shelter, Indian Heights Park, Graham Park (Olmsted county fairgrounds), and a number of private residences. We also hosted a rummage sale at Graham 2 throughout the day open to everyone with $4,000 in proceeds going to the various projects. We apologize to you who were notified of your worksite more than once or were not contacted at all as we had severe database problems on the few days prior to CareFest, affecting about 5-10 percent of our volunteers!
Many of you have shared stories of individuals deeply touched by our efforts. Reflective of many others, one Zumbro Valley resident said with tears in his eyes, “We could never, ever begin to repay you!” One obvious God-sized story is how the region was blanketed by rain all day—except on our 97 worksites! At many sites, the rain began to pour just minutes after workers finished. We gave over 200 More Than a Carpenter books to the people we served providing them more information about Jesus, the Reason for CareFest.
The residents of the Zumbro Valley and Rochester also thank you! If you or your family or group would like to help, please email Craig Richardt at
For we are God's masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things He planned for us long ago. (Ephesians 2:10)
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