East St. Tammany HFH: Light at the end of a long tunnel -- Habitat for Humanity Int'l 1

East St. Tammany HFH: Light at the end of a long tunnel

Five-year-old Tyler Simmons and his mom, Trolette, enjoy dinner with some of the 124 volunteers who helped build the family’s new home in Slidell.

This year’s Carter Project marked a turning point for East St. Tammany Habitat for Humanity in Louisiana. Nearly three years after Hurricane Katrina, local residents finally are able to pitch in and help their neighbors who are in desperate need of a decent place to live.

“Our affiliate has struggled since the storm to find local volunteers who are finished renovating and who have the time to dedicate to our efforts,” said Debbie Crouch, program director at East St. Tammany Habitat for Humanity. “When we expressed a need for volunteers for the Carter Project, one of our vendors, Stock Building Supply Co., stepped up to the plate with 25 volunteers!”

With the help of Stock Building and 100 other volunteers—some local and some hailing from Maryland, California, New York, Arizona, Wisconsin, Connecticut and Ohio—East St. Tammany HFH dedicated six homes at the end of the project week. Families will be moving in over the next three months, Crouch said. Volunteers also raised the walls on four more houses, all of which are scheduled to be completed by this fall.

“One of our Carter Project homeowners brought her children to have breakfast with the volunteers before school,” Crouch said. “Tyrese, who is 7 years old, addressed the volunteers and thanked them for helping build his Habitat house. After breakfast, he took the microphone and told everyone to get to work!”

Children may not be allowed on Habitat construction sites, but Tyrese seems to have absorbed the work ethic of the mission pretty well.

“The most important thing that comes out of any build week is that we are one step closer to putting another family back into a home,” said Crouch. “Our appreciation goes out to all the volunteers who have come to visit us. The greatest gift they could ever give us is to take their experience back home, share it with others and remind the country that the job is not done yet.”

How to volunteer:
Call 985-639-0656 or visit www.esthfh.org