Revitalize CDC volunteers help revive local neighborhoods

(Western Mass News photo)

Local non-profit Revitalize CDC is dedicated to reviving homes, neighborhoods, and lives through preservation, education, and community involvement.

In the last year, the organization re-built 76 homes across Springfield and Holyoke with the help of 1,200 volunteers.

Revitalize CDC makes critical repairs on homes of low-income families, senior citizens, military veterans, and people with disabilities in Springfield and Holyoke.

"Our main job is to help revitalize homes. We don't build new homes. We help them stay in the homes they're in," said Ethel Griffin, associate director of Revitalize CDC.

The non-profit relies on volunteers. Thousands help rebuild local neighborhoods every year, but Griffin said one selfless woman really stands out.

"Marcia is so great! She's very meticulous though, she wants it done right and all the material there and you have to have it there or you won't hear the last word from her. She's so great," Griffin added.

Marcia McFarland has been helping Revitalize CDC for about seven years now.

"My role is to organize the volunteers and the work they do that day. We're really there to be the hands of the homeowner. You go into a property you think if it's yours what you'd do and we make the homeowners idea come to life," McFarland explained.

Bringing life back to homes with furnace installations, roofing, or minor repairs like painting.

"You don't need to be skilled. You just need to have passion and energy. You'll be surprised in the difference you can make in a day," McFarland added.

Although as a licensed social worker, McFarland comes with a great skill set.

"She helps us get money, volunteers. There's nothing she doesn't do. She managed to get this bus filled with people from all over the state to bring and work on the home. She makes us so proud because she not only gives, but she loves helping other people out, but she inspires other people to do the same," Griffin said.

Her work and inspiration is causing a ripple effect throughout the community

"When we do the neighborhood rebuild. We do 10 continuous blocks over 10 years and volunteers come from the previous year's street and volunteer the next year. Neighbors who never met meet each other, they form neighborhood watch groups. It's so impactful. You can't imagine. It's a lot more than cleaning up somebody's yard, planting new flowers, and putting paint on a house...the impact's so terrific," McFarland said.

When asked where the organization would be without McFarland, Griffin told Western Mass News she hates to even think about it.

"I haven't thought that sadly because we would be sad without her. I hate to even think where we'd be without her," Griffin noted.

For more information or to learn how to volunteer, visit revitalizecdc.com.

Copyright 2018 Western Mass News (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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