I recently had a very rare and unique opportunity which left me with mixed feelings … regret and warmth.
REGRET that I didn’t get involved with this organization and its work long ago and …
WARMTH from the experience itself, those I worked with and those who benefited from our efforts.
I was invited to visit a Habitat for Humanity site and ended up working a with phenomenal group of people who united to offer their experience, talent and high level of energy to provide a HOME for one of the many families struggling in these times of dire straights.
I’ve known about Habitat for Humanity since 1984 when President Jimmy Carter got involved with this tremendous effort. However, it first started back in 1976. Since that time, they have built 350,000 houses around the world, providing more than 1.75 million people in 3,000 communities with safe, decent, affordable shelter.
I’ll provide a few more facts about this tremendous organization and tell you how you can get involved later in this article, but I’d like to tell you a little bit about what I witnessed during my experience.
First of all, it was COLD. After all, we are in the north, and it is winter. That meant nothing to this group of people I had the privilege to meet and work with. It was almost an added incentive to everyone as they worked to finish this house for a very special family in hopes of getting them into their new home by Christmas. Right now it looks as though they’re going to reach their goal with time to spare.
Secondly was the spirit which permeated that house and property. It was almost indescribable. Everyone involved appeared to be enjoying their work, happy to be there, chatting with others about their progress … you’d almost think they were on a payroll rather than volunteering their time and effort. It was indeed a joy to behold. This is the kind of spirit and determination that built this great country of ours. I witnessed teamwork, communication, progress, pride, and accomplishment by everyone involved. It didn’t appear to be work … no one seemed cold … everyone worked as though they were building their own home. I saw volunteers, both male and female, of all ages, creeds, and colors. The time flew by. Again, I was astonished. And to think that this is going on in every one of our 50 states as well as at least 90 other countries … and far too few people are aware of this tremendous opportunity.
If you’re interested in finding a project near your location or obtaining additional information simply visit Habitat for Humanity at http://www.habitat.org/ and use its search engine to find local affiliates. You’ll be glad you did.
- Habitat is not a giveaway program. In addition to a down payment and monthly mortgage payments, homeowners invest hundreds of hours of their own labor (sweat equity) into building their Habitat house and the houses of others.
- Through volunteer labor and donations of money and materials, Habitat builds and rehabilitates simple, decent houses alongside our homeowner (partner) families.
- To accomplish these goals, they invite people of all backgrounds, races and religions to build houses together in partnership with families in need.
- Volunteers work with future homeowners to build or renovate houses, which are then sold to partner families at no profit and financed with affordable loans, with no interest charged on the mortgage.
- The homeowners’ monthly mortgage payments are used to build still more Habitat houses.