Volunteers Needed For Habitat House
The house looks almost finished on the outside, but many hands are still needed to make one family's dream a reality.
"We're at the painting stage here, but we're going to need volunteers to do millwork, hang doors and put in laminate flooring," stated Nora Young, board president of the Southern Barry County affiliate of Habitat For Humanity.
Workdays are scheduled when volunteers are available.
"They're usually on a Saturday because people work," said Young, whose biggest challenge is to convince people who work during the week that they should give up time on a weekend to help those less fortunate.
"We'll accept any amount of time," stated Young who wants people to understand that having specific skills is not necessary to volunteer. "If somebody isn't skilled in a certain area, we'll teach them how to use the tools and what to do." Habitat also furnishes lunch for those who volunteer on workdays.
Skilled labor has already been used to complete those parts of the house that require a licensed contractor. This home was fortunate enough to have one contractor, an electrician, donate his time.
This is the fourth house that Habitat has sponsored since coming to the Cassville area eight years ago. Built to be energy efficient, the house has been constructed to withstand winds in excess of 120mph. Young estimates that 18 people have volunteered on this project and that it may take another two months or longer before the house can be occupied.
A significant number of volunteer hours are also a requirement of those families who partner with Habitat and eventually move into a house. Leah Moss and her mother, Candice Bower, are the current partners, and they have already completed their 150 hours of sweat equity. Leah's friends and other family members have also completed an additional required 150 hours.
Candice and Leah have also agreed to pay a monthly mortgage in addition to providing sweat equity towards the completion of the house.
"A house is not free," stated Young, "There will be a mortgage on it for what the material costs." Young estimates those costs to run less than $60,000.
Both Bower and Moss live on fixed incomes, and each of them are excited about moving into the house and starting this next chapter of their lives.
"You learn to live with what you have," stated Bower, who retired from the Civil Service after having spent a significant portion of her life living in Guam and working at Anderson Air Force Base. Moss was raised there, and they returned to the area when Leah was 14.
"We were lucky enough to buy a piece of property in Cassville and we paid it off," said Bower, who lived in the house for 13 years. Her experience with the American Dream fell apart when the house started to deteriorate. During a Sunday school class, Young asked for Habitat applicants and Moss decided to apply.
Funding for the Habitat homes in Cassville comes from donations, fundraisers and sales at the Restore.
Habitat's annual banquet, which is its major fundraiser, will be held on Saturday, Sept. 21 at the Family Life Center of the First Baptist Church. This event features a dinner that starts at 6 p.m. and entertainment at 7 p.m., which will be provided by The Texans, a local group.
Tickets can be purchased at the Restore located at 301 Main Street in Cassville. Those who wish to volunteer at the store or on the house can call 846-0110 or stop in during regular business hours.
Meanwhile Candice and Leah wait and continue to volunteer time at both the house and the Restore.
When asked if a ceremony would take place when they moved in, Leah shared a personal dream of her church surrounding the house, she said, "I'd like to have my whole church hold hands and bless it. Many hands could make this dream possible."