Rebuilding Together, Inc. (RTI) is one of the largest volunteer organizations in the United States that is focused on improving the homes and lives of low-income families, seniors, people living with disabilities, and veterans. Formerly known as “Christmas in April,” RTI changed its name in 2000 because many of the affiliates were not rebuilding in April (i.e. Kansas City’s “Christmas in October”). Since its inception back in 1972, it has grown to close to 190 affiliates across the country. All new affiliates created after 2000 are called “Rebuilding Together ____________ (geographic area served).” The Clay County affiliate began as “Rebuilding Together Liberty,” then changed to “Rebuilding Together Clay County” in 2009 when our service area became county-wide, then changed again to “Rebuilding Together Kansas City” in 2017 when our services grew to also serve Platte and Clinton counties.
Inspired by his experiences with the affiliate in Wichita Falls, Texas, Clay McQuerry wanted to have similar experiences in Liberty, Missouri. He was moved by the idea of connecting volunteers who wanted to help with the neighbors who needed the help. Clay started the Clay County affiliate with the first meeting of its board on June 21, 2001. Membership in RTI required the completion of a four-step process which was finalized and approved on October 31, 2001. In the following months the board drafted By Laws, completed Articles of Incorporation, and was approved as a 501©(3) organization effective March 29, 2002. Along with Kansas City and St. Louis, Clay County was only the third such affiliate in Missouri. As of 2017, The official name of our affiliate is “Rebuilding Together Kansas City, Inc.” (RTKC)
What all affiliates have in common is Rebuilding Day. This is the one day each year that RTI affiliates utilize volunteers to make free repairs on homes in their community. Applications for repairs are received throughout the year, and the families that fall within our income guidelines (Housing and Urban Development 50% poverty level for this area) are approved for estimates. The estimates are completed in the following weeks, and volunteer crew leaders select their Rebuilding Day house at our House Selection Meeting. As a community-wide organization, anyone can volunteer to help with repairs. Civic organizations, local businesses, churches, school groups, youth groups, and individuals are all supporting our cause. With donated labor and discounted materials, RTKC is able to leverage the dollar of every donation.
The excitement was high as we sponsored our first Rebuilding Day on Saturday, October 5, 2002, We managed to preserve and revitalize a total of eight homes with 125 volunteers. In 2007, RTKC began its year-round Safe at Home program to provide urgent repairs and home safety modifications. In 2011, we celebrated our 10-Year Anniversary with a Party at the Freedom House on June 21. Since our inception, RTKC’s services have created these numbers: 4,693 volunteers, 525 homes repaired, 309 children served, 364 elderly served, 362 disabled served, 48,731 volunteer hours, and a total market value of $1,614,103 for the projects completed. These important service numbers continue to increase every year. By making these repairs and modifications, we strive to improve the lives of our neighbors by making their homes safe, warm, affordable, livable, and accessible.