Unexpected gifts

By Mica DeAngelis, RV Care-A-Vanner volunteer




Learn more about the RV Care-A-Vanner volunteer program.


“Alan!” Judy shouted. “I know what I want for Christmas. A palm nailer!”

Judy is a retired nurse who can hang siding with meticulous precision. She can also bake a cherry jubilee cheesecake in her RV and did so for our Super Bowl party. Judy and her husband Alan, along with my husband Barry and I, are part of the “Reunion Builders” — 10 couples and a few singles from nine different states who traveled in RVs to Louisiana after Hurricane Katrina to help rebuild.

Like all Habitat volunteers, we volunteer for different reasons: to give back, to do God’s work, for fellowship, or to learn about another part of the country. After working together in Louisiana in 2006, we decided we wanted to keep building together; we just completed our sixth build. Our goal each year is to work together for five weeks and try to finish a home.

RV Care-A-Vanners set up their RVs in the driveways of homes under construction or anywhere the group can be reasonably close to the work site. We have evening pot lucks and spend time together discovering a new community. We are a diverse group, and we don’t agree on all things, for sure, but as we work to create a home with a new Habitat family, our differences become insignificant.

And we bring different skills to the work site. Some of us like to paint; others hate it. Many of us are uncomfortable on the roof, but there is always work on the ground. Before my first build in 2003, I worried that I wasn’t skilled enough to contribute to building a home. Nothing could be further from the truth. There is enough work at many different levels for each volunteer, and there is always an opportunity to learn something new, like how to use a chop saw. Maybe I will ask for one for Christmas this year.