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Field notes: December 2009 -- Habitat for Humanity Int'l 1

Field notes: December 2009

Perspectives from around Habitat’s world



Melissa Gilbert volunteers on a Habitat New York City build site.


Little House helps build homes

Touring musical supports Habitat affiliates across the United States. A musical version of a beloved television series offers a new way to emphasize the importance of home.

In October, Little House on the Prairie: The Musical began a 25-city tour — and a partnership with Habitat whose local benefits will last even longer. In each market the production visits, the musical will make a minimum donation of $1,500, and members of the cast and crew will help local affiliates build houses.

The musical and the mission are a perfect fit, says star Melissa Gilbert, who appeared as Laura Ingalls in the ’70s series based on the books of the same name and now performs in the stage version as Ma. “It’s the perfect marriage between a show and an organization because our show is all about home — the importance of home and the value of home and what home brings to all of us as individuals and as a community,” she explains.

“We are extremely grateful to Melissa Gilbert, the cast and producers of Little House on the Prairie: The Musical for supporting our mission and engaging audiences across the country to build greater awareness of the need for affordable housing,” says Habitat CEO Jonathan Reckford.

In August, Gilbert helped build a house alongside other cast members at a Habitat New York City build site in the South Bronx.

For tour dates and more information, visit

Habitat marks Whirlpool partnership

This year, Habitat for Humanity and Whirlpool celebrate a full decade of partnership.

Since 1999, Whirlpool has supported Habitat in many ways, most notably, donating a range and an ENERGY STAR® qualified refrigerator for every new home built in North America. In 2009, the partnership surpassed the milestone of 100,000 appliances donated, serving more than 50,000 Habitat families.

The partnership also closes out its first 10 years with Whirlpool becoming the first partner to give $1 million in planned product donations to Habitat ReStores.

Whirlpool and Habitat enjoy an active partnership in 19 countries, with more than 5,000 Whirlpool employees volunteering around the globe. By 2011, Whirlpool plans to support every Habitat home built globally, either through product donations, cash or volunteer support.



Habitat New York City family partner Waunda Lashley-Greer installs shelving made from the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree wood in her Atlantic Avenue condominium.



Tree times three

For the third year in a row, Habitat for Humanity will receive lumber from the Rockefeller Center’s annual Christmas tree. Tishman Speyer, the company that Rockefeller Center, has milled and donated the tree to Habitat since 2007.

The first year’s tree was turned into two-by-fours for a Habitat house in Pascagoula, Miss., which was built during the 2008 Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter Work Project. Last year’s lumber was used for shelving in each of the individual units of Habitat New York City’s Atlantic Avenue Condominiums.

The Brooklyn apartment complex was dedicated in late September and is Habitat New York’s largest and greenest project to date.

Watch for details about this year’s tree donation.

Jimmy & Rosalynn Carter Work Project 2009

Just this month, thousands of Habitat volunteers converged on five build locations in Southeast Asia’s Mekong region for the annual Jimmy & Rosalynn Carter Work Project.

These volunteers from around the world joined 300 Habitat homeowner families, newfound friends working side by side to create decent, affordable housing. Build locations ranged from a former orchard in Chiang Mai, Thailand, and a fishing village in northern Vietnam to sites in Cambodia, Laos and China’s Sichuan Province.

For complete coverage of the Nov. 15-20 build event, visit