Hattiesburg, Area HFH: A beginning, not an end -- Habitat for Humanity Int'l 1

Hattiesburg, Area HFH: A beginning, not an end

New homeowner Marvin Hayes, in wheelchair, handles a saw like a pro at the build site in Hattiesburg.

Hattiesburg Area Habitat for Humanity has dedicated two of its five Carter Project 2008 houses. Families should be moving into the houses by the middle of July, said Andrea Dixon, executive director of the affiliate.

Construction has begun on the three remaining Carter Project houses; all should be finished by the end of August, Dixon said.

More than 200 volunteers pitched in to do the building so far. Just before the Carter Project week, students from Rhode Island’s Rocky Hill School and the University of Illinois traveled to Hattiesburg to volunteer their services. During the week itself, people from Georgia, California and Arizona joined local volunteers from the University of Southern Mississippi, Heritage United Methodist Church, Wesley Medical Center, AmeriCorps members from various state colleges, Dixie United Methodist Church, First Baptist Church of Hattiesburg, the Salvation Army, Citizens National Bank, Main Street United Methodist Church, Camp Shelby Youth Challenge Program, Ridgecrest Baptist Church and the Edwards Street Mission.

Bill and Anita Jones, of Tucson, Arizona, found the event life-changing. “We talked about doing this as a small way of giving back to the area hardest hit by the hurricanes,” the couple said. “But the experiences were certainly giving back to us more than the other way around!”

Dixon expressed her gratitude to the volunteers and donors who made it possible for the Hattiesburg affiliate to take part in the 2008 Carter Project. But she stressed the ongoing nature of Habitat’s mission.

“There is still so much to be done!” she said. “We are still in need of volunteers and we also need financial donations. We cannot effectively and efficiently serve our low-income families in Hattiesburg without the very important contributions of time, skills, materials and money.”

How to volunteer:
Call 601-582-4663 or visit www.hattiesburghabitat.org