AMERICUS, Ga. (June 19, 2006) – In the initial days after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita slammed into the Gulf Coast, thousands of people signed up as potential home-building volunteers for Habitat for Humanity International. Now, with nearly 300 homes under construction or complete along the Gulf Coast, the organization is putting out the call to enlist even more hands to swing hammers.
“We had a huge outpouring of support after the storms,” said Ken Meinert, senior vice president of the organization’s hurricane recovery program, Operation Home Delivery. “And since we started building in earnest at the end of last year, we’ve found that we need even more volunteers.”
Volunteers have been traveling to the Gulf Coast from around the country and Canada to help Habitat for Humanity and low-income families displaced by the hurricanes. The organization had about 30,000 volunteers sign up who were interested in helping but with the goal of building 1,000 homes by mid 2007, even more help is needed.
“Our volunteers have done a tremendous job,” Meinert said. “People have come from all over North America at their own expense to lend a hand. We would not be as successful had we not had their generous support, and for that we will be forever grateful. But you can only go back to the well so many times. It’s time for fresh troops.”
Habitat is building all along the Gulf Coast in big cities and small towns. Construction is under way in Houston and Beaumont, Texas; Lake Charles, Lafayette, Baton Rouge, La., and throughout the greater New Orleans area. Habitat is also expanding its building efforts along the Mississippi coast and east to Mobile, Ala. In all locations combined, the organization could use 500 or more volunteers each week from now until at least the end of the year and beyond.
Habitat for Humanity works with volunteers at all levels of construction experience, from first-time builders to experienced professionals. Volunteer opportunities are available for individuals and groups and range from just a few days to several weeks or months in the Gulf Coast. Volunteer activities vary depending on location and construction schedules but can include siding, roofing, framing, landscaping and support activities. Habitat for Humanity International can help interested volunteers find a location and date to volunteer, as well as advice on lodging options in the Gulf Coast.
Volunteers interested in working in the Gulf Coast should register at the Habitat for Humanity Web site, www.habitat.org . Those who do not wish to travel but still want to help are encouraged to contact their local Habitat for Humanity affiliate to help build simple, decent housing in partnership with families in need in their own communities.
About Habitat for Humanity International
Habitat for Humanity International is an ecumenical Christian ministry that welcomes to its work all people dedicated to the cause of eliminating poverty housing. Since its founding in Americus, Ga., in 1976, Habitat has built more than 200,000 houses in nearly 100 countries, providing simple, decent and affordable shelter for more than 1 million people. For more information, visit www.habitat.org .