Hundreds of volunteers brave the elements to stay on schedule to complete 10 homes by Friday.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Nov. 8, 2006) – Even though their clothes are soaking wet and their boots are heavy with mud, the 300 Whirlpool® Building Blocks volunteers are in high spirits and unaffected by the low pressure system bringing heavy rain to the area. The volunteers are participating in the inaugural Whirlpool® Building Blocks project, an initiative created by the company to raise awareness of the affordable housing crisis and to help eliminate substandard housing in the United States. Whirlpool selected Nashville Area Habitat for Humanity to host the inaugural event during the week of November 5-10, inviting more than 300 volunteers from across the country to build 10 homes for 10 families on one block in one week.
“I’m from Oregon, so I’m used to the rain,” said Habitat for Humanity volunteer Dave Saunders. “We are all soaking wet and cold, but none of us are leaving and risking not finishing this house by Friday. When you are cold, exhausted and freezing, you just look at the families you’re building for and it warms you right up. The families aren’t leaving, why would we? We’re in it together.”
Construction began Sunday in the Providence Park neighborhood, Nashville’s first all-Habitat subdivision and one of the nation’s largest contiguous all-Habitat communities. Of the 300 participating Whirlpool® Building Blocks volunteers, 100 are Whirlpool volunteers from across the country, 100 are from national Habitat affiliates and 100 represent the local Nashville Area affiliate. The build concludes on November 10 and is the largest multi-home build in the Nashville Area Habitat for Humanity’s 22-year history.
“We are absolutely on schedule to complete these ten houses by Friday,” said Gary Bigelow, chief operating officer for Nashville Area Habitat for Humanity. “Our crew leaders and volunteers are committed to these families and to the success of Whirlpool® Building Blocks, regardless of the weather. We’ll finish siding today and focus on interior painting and hardware, cabinets and landscaping the remainder of the week. Friday will end with 10 families receiving the keys to their new homes.”
For Scharnita Walden, the homeowner of house number 1, she couldn’t be more inspired by or thankful for the volunteers braving the rain to work on her home. “These are the most amazing, caring, sharing people I’ve met in all my life. I’ve always wanted to buy and own my own home and these folks here, all soaking wet, are making that dream come true for me. I can’t say enough about them, about Whirlpool and about Habitat. I’m truly blessed.”
Nashville Area Habitat for Humanity was chosen as the inaugural affiliate from 1,700 Habitat affiliates across the country. Every year, Whirlpool® will recognize an outstanding Habitat for Humanity affiliate in the United States and its relationship with its local community by holding a similar weeklong building blitz.
“It’s true, the volunteers participating in the Whirlpool® Building Blocks event are immeasurably passionate and dedicated,” said Jeff Terry, director, Corporate Commitments for Whirlpool. “No amount of wind, rain or sore muscles will stop these volunteers from completing these homes for these families. Their willingness to work, regardless of the elements, is a testament to the type of people volunteering for Habitat and working for Whirlpool. They are a special group, one I’m proud to be associated with.”
Whirlpool is one of Habitat for Humanity’s largest corporate partners. Since 1999, the company has donated a refrigerator and range to every new Habitat for Humanity home built in North America. Every year, thousands of Whirlpool employees volunteer their own time to Habitat builds around the country.
For Mildred Bean, a Whirlpool employee and Habitat for Humanity volunteer, the inclement weather is not a factor. “I don’t even feel the rain,” she said. “We just all know that a very important job needs to get done. There’s a little boy who expects to have his own room on Friday. We’re going to make sure that happens.”
About Whirlpool Corporation
Whirlpool Corporation is the world’s leading manufacturer and marketer of major home appliances, with annual sales of more than $19 billion, more than 80,000 employees and more than 60 manufacturing and technology research centers around the world. The company markets Whirlpool, Maytag, KitchenAid, Jenn-Air, Amana, Brastemp, Bauknecht and other major brand names to consumers in nearly every country around the world. Additional information about the company can be found at http://www.whirlpoolcorp.com .
About Nashville Area Habitat for Humanity
Nashville Area Habitat for Humanity is a non-profit, ecumenical Christian housing ministry that provides families with the life-changing opportunity to purchase a decent, affordable home. The agency has quadrupled in size since 2002 and is on track to build a record 50 homes in 2006 – 38 locally and 12 abroad. To receive more information about Nashville Area Habitat for Humanity, call 615-254-HOME or visit www.habitatnashville.org .
About Habitat for Humanity International
Habitat for Humanity International, based in Americus, Ga., is an ecumenical Christian ministry that welcomes to its work all people dedicated to the cause of eliminating poverty housing. Since 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 .