A few weeks ago, I was lucky enough to spend a day volunteering with Habitat for Humanity. Though it wasn’t during this treacherous heatwave we’re currently experiencing in New York City, it was stinking hot. But that didn’t stop the crew from building a beyond spectacular flower bed for the soon-to-be homeowners at this beautiful new house! I was silly enough to think that when I signed up for “landscaping” it would be planting flowers, not digging up the driveway, overgrown shrubs, and dead tree roots to build the bed! But I learned so much, like you shouldn’t put burn cream on a brand new blister. Ouch.
If you’re unfamiliar, Habitat is a nonprofit organization that helps to build simple, high-quality, and affordable housing in partnership with people in need. What I didn’t realize before I volunteered was the “in partnership” part. These homes aren’t just given to people in need. Each home is to be purchased by a first-time homebuyer that has at least a 1% cash down payment, and has as monthly savings account, among many other requirements. Habitat makes sure that the mortgage costs are no more than 33% of the owners total monthly household income, and they even require the new owners to spend a few hours volunteering on sites too, whether it’s their own or a neighbors!
I started the day not knowing anyone, and came out having had a great day with the other volunteers after bonding over lunch, chatting about how heavy a sledgehammer is, the darn tree roots that kept popping up, and everyone’s backgrounds. One of the leaders even let me pretend to smack him with an axe, but that was just a bonus for me!
If you want to find out more about how to volunteer or become a homeowner, visit Habitat for Humanity’s website here. And don’t worry if you don’t have work boots or a hardhat, they have a bin of spares! You might end up wearing two different shoe sizes (you might notice my boots), but it’s the hard work you get done while wearing them that counts!
Hope you had a marvelous weekend, and I can’t wait to volunteer again really soon! Check out the opportunities in your area, Habitat is everywhere! 🙂