If there’s one charity out there that deserves your time, money and admiration, it’s Habitat for Humanity.
I have so many fond memories of volunteering with Habitat! When I was in college, I helped lay down the foundation of a house in Poland (where I got my shoe stuck in cement). As a teenager, I helped put up walls after a tornado devastated a small town near the college I would eventually attend (where I stepped on a nail). As soon as I was old enough to use a hammer without being a threat to myself or others – around age 12 or so – I climbed up ladders and helped install roofs with Habitat (where I hit my thumb more than once).
And during that period between being old enough to help out but too young to be trusted with tools, my mother and I carried cups of water to the workers and set the table for lunch.
That’s what’s so great about Habitat for Humanity. No matter your age or ability, there’s some way you can help. You can build a house for a friend, family member, stranger or for yourself – a brand new house.
On top of meeting certain income guidelines, families who apply to receive a house – referred to as “partner families” – have to invest “sweat-equity hours.” This means they make up for reduced mortgage payments by working for a certain number of hours on Habitat houses. They help pay their mortgage with their sweat! There’s a great sense of community, mutual compassion, loyalty, teamwork and generosity between the volunteers and the families.
Habitat does more than build homes, however. It hosts a Youth Leadership Conference, recycles cars, sells reduced-priced furniture and appliances at the ReStore shops and helps homeowners with exterior home preservation like painting, landscaping and weatherstripping. Habitat helps needy families all over the world, from the United States and Africa to Europe and Asia.
Enter your zip code on Habitat for Humanity’s webpage to find out about local volunteer opportunities!
Have you ever volunteered with Habitat for Humanity?