On Thursday morning, I went to a breakfast for Habitat for Humanity of Monroe County and learned a lot about an organization that has always seemed great to me, but I had no idea how great it really was!
I learned during this breakfast that it's not just a hand out. I knew there's an application and selection process involved when people get their houses, but I had no idea that once they were selected as a "partner family" (meaning, they were approved to have their own Habitat house), each adult living in the house is required to put in at least 250 volunteer hours of building into the other houses in their neighborhood, or other neighborhoods in the city.
Another thing that I did not realize was that the families who are approved for the homes are buying the homes. They have a mortgage with a 0% interest rate, but they also pay property taxes, which obviously contribute to their community. In Monroe county, we have a 0% foreclosure on our Habitat homes, which obviously means that they are selecting the right families to be a part of ther communities.
We heard from a Habitat homeowner who has 2 kids and who has held the same job for something like 8 years. He and his wife could just not seem to get ahead enough to get a home for their kids. He was elloquent, hard-working and so very thankful for their chance to give their kids a yard to play in and a space to call their own. I'm not saying that I was expecting something less from him, but I was especially touched by his story and his tears.
While working in Texas, we were asked each year (as state employees) to be a part of the State Employee Charitable Campain, and I always donated. My money usually went to the Parkinsons Research Foundation, since my Grandfather had Parkinsons and it was something that affected our family so greatly. Now that I am not in Texas anymore, I was trying to determine how and where I contribute, and where better to contribute than right in my own community? I think once J and I get our feet under us financially in the next few months, we will make a contribution to Habitat.
I was invited to my breakfast by my boss, who also invites the Gradute Assistants who work with us. This blog is inspired by something she said to them...
I invited you today, not because I want you to feel as though you need to donate today. But one day, you will be in a place financially that you have money to give to a cause, and there will hopefully be a Habitat in your community, wherever you end up, that you'll think of at that point.
So, with this, I hope you'll look into Habitat in your community. Maybe you can just start with some hours on Saturday morning, given to the construction of a house in your community. Maybe like us, you have a Habitat "ReStore" where you can donate things in your house that you may no longer need or want, or maybe you are in the place financially that you can make a contribution. I hope you'll learn more about Habitat and see if it's something you find worthy to support.
Hope you're having a great weekend!!