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From Fruits of the Field to Fruits of Their Labor

Hines Family of Benton Harbor, Mich.

by Shawn Reeves

When he was younger, Larry Hines used to travel from Louisiana to Benton Harbor, Mich., to work in the many fruit orchards throughout the western Michigan community, just a stone’s throw from Lake Michigan.

“We used to come up here working on the farms,” he says. “We’d work it all … apples, tomatoes, peaches, grapes, pears… you name it.”

Larry Hines (left), his wife Serena and their daughter share their story with Habitat World editor Shawn Reeves. Photo by Steffan Hacker

Through their partnership with Habitat for Humanity, during the 2005 Jimmy Carter Work Project in June, Larry and his wife Serena will harvest a different kind of fruit: the fruit of their labors. With the help of volunteers from across the country and around the world, they will build a solid, adequate, affordable Habitat house and begin creating a new home, where their family can thrive.

And it hardly can happen soon enough.

Currently, Larry and Serena Hines live with their four children in a two-room house that simply cannot hold them. In order to allow their children enough room, Larry and Serena sleep in the basement. Worse, their oldest son sleeps on a closed-in porch, and the Hineses fear for his health when it gets too cold.

“We’re so happy,” says Serena, “because we’re just in need of a bigger place.”

Upon completion of their new Habitat home in a few months, they will enjoy not only sufficient space, but the peace of mind that comes with creating a solid, comfortable home that’s affordable.

About Habitat, Larry says it “can make a person’s self-esteem somehow go up. That person can be down in spirit, and Habitat makes them want something out of life … It really does a lot.”

“It’s really a growing thing,” Serena adds. “It’s a togetherness thing.”
Shawn Reeves is managing editor of Habitat World.

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