Volunteers gather to kick off Carter Work Project 2014
October 5 | 9:38 pm
Hundreds of volunteers gathered in Annette Strauss Square in downtown Dallas, Texas, on Sunday afternoon to kick off Habitat for Humanity’s 31st annual Jimmy & Rosalynn Carter Work Project. During the week, more than 5,000 volunteers will help build or renovate more than 100 homes with families in need of affordable shelter in Dallas and Fort Worth.
After a rousing ovation from the crowd, President Carter told the volunteers they were going to be surprised by two things during the week of building in Dallas and Fort Worth. “You’re going to be surprised by how hard you’re going to work,” he said. “And you’re going to be surprised that you will get a lot more out of it than you put into it.”
Former first lady Rosalynn Carter won the crowd when she said, “I love all the people who work with Habitat. They are the best people in the world.”
Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price shared that originally Trinity Habitat was going to build 15 houses in Fort Worth, but the city pitched in an additional $250,000 to increase that to 20. Her Dallas counterpart, Mayor Mike Rawlings, noted that Habitat has invested more than $100 million in Dallas. “It is making a difference in neighborhoods and changing lives day in and day out,” he said, and then concluded: “Let’s have a lot of fun, but more importantly, let’s do good work this week.”
Former Dallas Cowboys quarterback Roger Staubach, whose boots are about as big as they come in Texas, took the stage after the Carters to present them with white Stetson hard hats. “We were going to give the Carters horses, but we couldn’t get them up here,” he joked.
The Children of Africa Community Church Choir offered a spirited rendition of “Everything Is Possible to God,” sung in Swahili and English. Several of the choir members were part of the Kalala family, who recently moved into a Habitat for Humanity home of their own.
As the 31st annual Jimmy & Rosalynn Carter Work Project gets underway, Habitat for Humanity International CEO Jonathan Reckford offered historical perspective. “We were really a tiny, tiny organization in 1984 when the Carters got on a bus and came up with a team of volunteers to rehab a building in New York City,” he said. “And now in so many ways, influenced by their example, Habitat for Humanity worldwide has helped over 4 million people have a new or improved place to live.”