On Saturday, Sept. 9, more than 60 volunteers came and raised the walls of two side-by-side houses in Havre de Grace. The simultaneous house raising event jump-started the building process which will continue over the next several months for both homes.
One of the houses will be for the Gutema family – husband Lemma, wife Mulatwa and their disabled seventeen-year-old daughter. The home plans have been modified to allow for a wheelchair lift near the front door as well as other accessibility features to accommodate their daughter. The house was the location of the recent 10th annual National Women Build Week activities involving Habitat for Humanity Susquehanna’s volunteers. It has also been designated as the Faith Build home which means that local churches and their congregants will be offered “faith in action” opportunities during the build.
The next-door neighbor home will be for the Mekuria family, husband Mulugeta, wife Sara and their three-year-old son. Both families came to the wall raising and participated in the build as part of the “sweat equity” hours they are required to perform – the actual hands-on physical involvement done by all homebuyers.
Another homebuyer, Liz Barrett, also came to do her “sweat equity” hours. Barrett’s Havre de Grace home began in July during a two-day “Crazy Build” where nearly 250 volunteers built as much of the home as possible in two days. She has been earning her “sweat equity” hours at her home as well as at a Habitat house in Elkton.
In addition to the families, volunteers for that day included new groups Evonik North America, Birthright of Bel Air, and West Nottingham Academy, as well as the returning group Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. They were joined by many experienced, “core” volunteers.
Donations of food and drinks for the volunteers came from many local businesses, such as Havre de Grace’s Java By the Bay and Coakley’s Pub, as well as Bagel Works Bel Air, Frito-Lay, Lowe’s Abingdon store, and Giant Food.
The building process will take several months and require volunteers to come weekly, Wednesday through Saturday, until the build is complete. Construction volunteers will help with framing, roofing, insulating, siding, drywall and painting. Interested volunteers can sign up on the Habitat Susquehanna website at: www.habitatsusq.org.