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Dave Olson, Published March 06 2014

Gift of pickup to help area nonprofit fix up homes

FARGO – A nonprofit group that helps low-income families maintain their homes received a pick-me-up Thursday.

Actually, it was a brand-new Toyota Tundra pickup with a list value of more than $30,000.

Local and national Toyota officials handed over the truck to the nonprofit group Rebuilding Together of the Fargo-Moorhead area during a brief ceremony at Corwin Toyota in Fargo.

“I just want to thank you from the bottom of my heart. This is huge,” said Russ Richards, executive director of the local Rebuilding Together chapter.

Richards said the group, which formed about three years ago, works to help people make crucial repairs to their homes.

“They’re on fixed incomes, they’re on disability,” Richards said.

“We go out and we find these people and we fix their homes so they can stay in them, and they can stay in them without getting sick,” he added.

The services are free to clients, with volunteers providing the labor, according to Richards, who said the new truck would be put to work this weekend in Ada, Minn., where a Sheetrock project is planned.

Richards said last year the group helped 20 homeowners accomplish 38 home-improvement projects with assistance from more than 155 volunteers who put in about 2,000 hours of work.

Homeowners can apply for assistance online at the organization’s website: www.rebuildingtogetherfma.org. The organization’s phone number is (701) 356-7836.

Richards said an emphasis is placed on helping seniors, people with disabilities and veterans.

Thursday’s donation was made through Toyota’s “100 Cars for Good” program, a national philanthropic effort that identifies worthy nonprofits for gifts via public voting on Facebook.

Drew Corwin of Corwin Toyota said the dealership was proud to support Rebuilding Together.

“We couldn’t be happier,” he said.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Dave Olson at (701) 241-5555