Habitat for Humanity is committed to helping those in need, in a very tangible and practical way. When I arrived there to volunteer, I was greeted by Amy, the volunteer coordinator as well as one of the construction managers. Amy and I immediately got busy setting up the registration table with snacks and coffee. Minutes later, construction workers started lining up at the table. Part of my volunteer duties were to have each worker complete a waiver, and give each of them a wrist band and name tag. Once this was complete, the construction manager led the group in the safety talk and morning prayer. As the construction workers gathered their materials, and got busy working on the house, Amy told me a little about the family that Habitat was building this particular home for. This home was being built for a grandmother and her granddaughter. The grandmother is in a wheelchair and needed her home to be completely accessible. The grandmother and granddaughter are renting a home just a couple of houses down the street from the site of their new home. Amy explained that their new home was being built with special accommodations to allow the grandmother complete access to her entire household. Later in the morning, the homeowners stopped by to watch their home being built. It was great to meet them; it allowed me to put a face with the project were working so hard to complete. The family loved talking about the different paint colors, carpet, and tile they were going to use in their new home. I could tell by the smiles on their faces how thankful they were for each of the volunteers and their hard work.
I really enjoyed my time volunteering with Habitat for Humanity; before volunteering there I was unsure of what the organization was about and how people qualified for the program. Amy, their wonderful volunteer coordinator was excited to share with me about why Habitat is needed. She told me that over 26% of Memphis residents live below the poverty line, and more than 12 % of those have incomes 50% below poverty line. Many of the families in poverty use more than half of their income to pay rent. Three major criteria must be met in order to qualify for habitat housing: a physical inadequacy of a family’s current structure, overcrowding in a family’s living conditions, and overwhelming cost burden. Each homeowner must complete Financial Peace University which is taught by Habitat staff, as well as contribute Sweat Equity hours- by either helping to build their own home or volunteering on another home build. The family’s new home will be ready at the beginning of November. I look forward to being there the day the family gets the keys to their new home. I know they will be so excited.
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