Volunteering For Habitat
My husband awoke me at 6am . . . on a Saturday. I usually sleep until 8! But that’s okay because I had plans I really wanted to do for the day. I called Habitat For Humanity and wanted to put in some hours learning how to build a home so I could prepare for my Habitat trip to Nashville.
When I arrived at 7:45 am I met Debbie as she was saying goodbye to her husband, Scott, who was working elsewhere during the day. After he left no one else was there yet so we sat and talked. She has been involved with Habitat since 1997.
She has volunteered in many different areas of the organization including office work. She told me how people apply to get a house built. I liked how she described the process she said it was a hand up rather than a hand out. First they must go through an application process involved in filling out forms, a credit check and having their current home evaluated. The applicant is carefully screened before being chosen. For the down payment, they must put in some “sweat” equity. They have to put in 500 hours of volunteering, going to homeowner classes, home improvement workshops, money budgeting, etc. Then they must choose a location of property owned by Habitat For Humanity. Right now in Tulsa, the area mostly used is in west and north Tulsa. Then, they are placed on a short waiting list.
Right now Habitat is expanding because of a Tulsa improvement provision called Vision 2025. Instead of their old goal of building 15 houses a year now they need to build 25 houses. (Currently, they really need volunteers because they still need to build several houses before the end of the year.)
I was with a specific group called Women’s Build. As the name implies it’s made up of women only. But early in the day I asked Debbie if I could bring my son and she said yes but he would need to be 14 years or older. The house we worked on would be the first to be mainly built by women. It’s a three bedroom/1 bathroom house being built for a single 36 year old woman named Sharon and her daughter. It’s on the verge of being finished.
I met alot of nice ladies as we worked on the house. I met Rose, Helen, Deeanna, Sharon, her mother, Jody, Do (with a long o sound), and a few others. Deeanna’s husband also works with the organization. He works with a group of retired men who build houses. They are called the Miracle Workers. If I remember right, the oldest man is 86! They work on Tuesdays. Judy was the lead person for the day. Tina, the regular one, wasn’t there.
Do, was an interesting lady to me. She was a pretty older woman who was quiet and a good worker. At lunch I asked her how long she had worked with Habitat. She said she has just begun working on the houses a few months ago. She said the house building was addictive. Before that her and her husband just did fundraising for the organization. In order for our group, Women’s Build, to build another house we will need to raise several thousand dollars. She said $45,000!! She said the people of Tulsa are very generous. She and her husband do auctions. She collects many items for the auctions. She says she personally goes to places like restaurants and shops and asks them to donate. She says she gets creative and makes gift packs. Once she had obtained a script from the Reba sitcom (Reba supports Habitat for Humanity) and auctioned it off as part of a gift basket. Do says for about 3 to 4 months before the auction her house is packed full of all sorts of interesting items that they have gathered.
I enjoyed my day. It was filled with steady work. I mostly painted. I painted closet doors, the front door frame, and part of the white picket fence that went around the front porch. I loved getting to hang out with the other women. I loved the idea of being around older attractive women who had through years developed inner beauty that shown in their caring actions. They were focused on their work, talented, educated and friendly.
Habitat For Humanity has a good reputation in Tulsa. I guess that’s why Pizza Hut delivered us pizza for half price and the Metro builders delivery man donated $15 for our breakfast.