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Nov. 25, 2012

Setting up the camp at Christianville.Setting up the camp at Christianville.

Today, the Cars for Homes team officially arrived in Léogâne, Haiti, with fellow Carter Work Project volunteers, including President and Mrs. Carter. This week, 100 families will partner with Habitat volunteers to help build homes in the Santo community where last years’ Carter Work Project volunteers worked tirelessly.

Thanks to a team of hardworking volunteers and nonprofits like Haven, 600 volunteers were seamlessly transported to the Christianville campsite from Port-au-Prince.

The lodging in Haiti is extremely well-organized, with 600 volunteers being divided into men’s and women’s encampments in tents of various shapes and sizes.

Food and food preparation is generously provided by the Irish nonprofit, Haven. Haven has been involved with the rehabilitation of the country since the earthquake ravaged the country in 2010.

Before waking up tomorrow to build 100 homes, we reflect on the theme of the day “A year later.”  Since the Carter Work Project volunteers were last in Haiti, government has stabilized, rubble piles have been reduced and thousands of people have moved from camps to more durable shelter.

Progress is visible. We also remember that nearly three years ago, in just 42 seconds, 230,000 people were killed, 1.5 million were made homeless and 75 percent of the buildings in the capital of Port au Prince were reduced to rubble.

The situation in Haiti is still dire, with tents and other temporary structures filling downtown Port-au-Prince and surrounding areas.The situation in Haiti is still dire, with tents and other temporary structures filling downtown Port-au-Prince and surrounding areas.

We know how important it is that we’re here and ready to help rebuild some of what was lost.

Perhaps President Carter summed up the power of volunteering best in the foreword to the book “If I Had a Hammer: Building Homes and Hope with Habitat for Humanity,” when he made the following comment:

“I predict that every one of you who volunteers to help others in need will feel a sense of exaltation. I believe that, in making what seems to be a sacrifice, you will find fulfillment in the memorable experience of helping others less fortunate than yourself…I know this because I’ve learned the secret that so many other Habitat volunteers have learned: you always get much more out of the work than you put in.”

For more information about Cars for Homes and how vehicle donations help fund amazing efforts like the Carter Work Project, please visit: www.habitat.org/carsforhomes.