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Celebrating Mother’s Day with Habitat

National Women Build Week: Portland, Oregon


Shirley Carpenter shows Sara Moskovitz how to cut siding for a Habitat home in Portland, Oregon.


Mother/daughter team Nancy and Aisha Vandervelde take a break from digging a trench.


Habitat for Humanity of Portland/Metro East celebrates a successful National Women Build Week.


The weather was not cooperating with the 21 volunteers participating on the Mother’s Day Build hosted by Habitat for Humanity of Portland/Metro East. Dark clouds kept the sun at bay, and periodic downpours interrupted work and caused a muddy mess on the construction site.

Yet there were no complaints from the mostly female crew during this special event that capped off National Women Build Week. In fact, everyone seemed to be enjoying the experience.

“It’s been great,” said Sara Moskovitz, a first-time Habitat volunteer. “It’s amazing how you can walk on a site not knowing anything (about building a house) and start working.”

Moskovitz and her mother, Gloria Harper, spent the afternoon installing siding on a five-bedroom house for the Gelgelu family.

They were one of several mother/daughter duos on the build site. Habitat for Humanity of Portland/Metro East promoted the Mother’s Day Build as a way for volunteers to honor their mothers by giving back to the community.

Moskovitz said she signed-up because “it was what my mom said she wanted for Mother’s Day.”

She added that her parents have led several Global Village trips to Latin America and Africa and are very dedicated to Habitat.

Nancy and Aisha Vandervelde, another mother/daughter team, joined the Mother’s Day Build after hearing about it from a friend. It was Nancy’s first time on a Habitat site. Aisha, a student at the University of Portland, recently spent her spring break volunteering for Habitat in Bellingham, Wash.

“I like the hands-on service,” Aisha said. “I want to do more this summer.”

The Vandervelde’s spent their morning digging a trench with two Lowe’s employees.

Doreen Conroy, a Human Resources manager with Lowe’s, said she has been volunteering with Habitat for five years.

“It’s a lot of fun. I love it,” she said. “When people aren’t working, this is a great opportunity to get involved, meet people and learn something new.”

Conroy was one of five Lowe’s employees helping out on the Mother’s Day Build.

Longtime Habitat volunteer and Lowe’s employee Peggy Danielson spent her day installing a skylight because she wanted to learn more about ways to save energy costs in a home.

“We’ve been focusing a lot on green energy,” she said. “I wanted to learn how to install a skylight because it can really brighten a room without turning on a switch.”

The Women Build volunteers worked on the biggest house ever constructed by Habitat for Humanity of Portland/Metro East. The two-story house had to be large enough to accommodate the 11-member Gelgelu family. Their future neighbors also live in a home built by Women Build crews.

“I get so excited about Women Build,” said volunteer Shirley Carpenter. “I talked to my daughter Tammy and my friends and I got them out here working.”

By the end of the day the Women Build crew was wet, muddy and exhausted, but they couldn’t think of a better way to spend Mother’s Day.

To learn more about Habitat for Humanity of Portland/Metro East, visit