Habitat for Humanity, an international organization that constructs affordable homes for people with low or moderate incomes, depends largely on its corps of dedicated volunteers to donate their time. Many hundreds of hours go into planning the build, finding and developing the site, gathering the volunteers, and constructing and finishing each home.
Habitat for Humanity’s efforts are well known around the world, thanks to the organization’s promotion by former president Jimmy Carter and other prominent leaders and celebrities. Less well known are the contributions that businesses, both large and small, make to each home. Westinghouse routinely donates clothes washers and dryers and kitchen appliances to the new homeowner, while giant corporate megastores like Home Depot often contribute a variety building materials and supplies.
Local firms also make major contributions; for instance, Monadnock Habitat for Humanity, a chapter in Cheshire County, New Hampshire, has had all its roof trusses for all its homes donated by one area contactor. Plumbing contractors often donate time or materials or both; local hardware stores will contribute tools, materials, and supplies for every aspect of each build. And local delis and grocery stores often provide sandwiches, sodas, and other food items to make sure the volunteers on the build are well fed. The board of directors of each chapter is often made up of individuals from the business community, who donate their expertise ranging from accounting to contracting to administration. Business and individuals also contribute money to the cause.
The result is that each home built by Habitat for Humanity represents an enormous amount of time, energy, and generosity from every segment of the local community—truly a welcome to the family moving into the new Habitat home.
Aldene Fredenburg is a freelance writer living in southwestern New Hampshire. She has written numerous articles for local and regional newspapers and for a number of Internet websites, including Tips and Topics.