On Friday, October 22, 2010, about a dozen members of the Panhandle Chapter of the Association of Legal Administrators, spouses and friends met at the Habitat for Humanity House being built on West Jackson Street for a day of fellowship and volunteerism to help a local family. Panhandle Chapter President Steve Deneke, Administrator for Emmanuel, Sheppard & Condon, commented that the Chapter, which is composed of law firm Administrators from the Pensacola area, wanted to do something this year that was project oriented rather than simply donate money to a charity. “The satisfaction derived from putting forth some physical energy to lend a hand was very gratifying and something our members could feel good about and relate to friends and family later.”
The group learned quickly that there was plenty to do, regardless of your skill level. Professional crew members were on hand to train and supervise the work being done. During the day the group preformed various “framing” tasks such as wrapping the house with a moisture barrier, bracing roof supports, installing hurricane straps, and setting windows and doors. A fried chicken lunch with all the sides was provided by members of the Red Hat Society.
The local Habitat for Humanity organization was founded in 1981 and has been led by Betty Salter since that time. Ms. Salter is a full-time volunteer and under her direction Pensacola Habitat has build more than 680 homes, serving more than 2,500 children and adults in Escambia and Santa Rosa counties. In 2009, 8,000 volunteers contributed 40,000 hours locally in service at construction sites, the Habitat thrift store, on various Habitat committees and in the Habitat office. Habitat for Humanity is a Christian organization that welcomes volunteers from all faiths who are committed to Habitat’s goal of eliminating poverty housing. Homes are sold with no profit made. Homeowners contribute “sweet equity” and their house payments are recycled to provide funds to build additional homes. Becky and Angela, two soon-to-be homeowners also participated in the day’s efforts. They explained that in addition to attending classes on topics such as home maintenance, lawn maintenance, and financial management and how to be a good neighbor, candidates for homes are required to work 100 hours on-site to help build a house for someone else.
One of the crew leaders pointed out that Habitat for Humanity doesn’t provide a handout. Homeowners must contribute their own time as well as actually buy their home, though because of donations of money and material and volunteer efforts it is at a lower cost than might be available otherwise. While the houses are not lavish, they are well-built and meet all the building and safety code requirements.
If anyone is interested in finding out more about volunteer activities with the Pensacola Habitat for Humanity they may contact Rachael Cox at 434-5456 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.