This past weekend our team once again took a Saturday to volunteer with Habitat for Humanity, rather than relax by the pool or work on chores around our own homes. Half of our team arrived in the morning at 9:00 a.m. and met with the Executive Director of the Dekalb County chapter of Habitat, Bob Boyd. Bob told us about the family that had applied for the home we were renovating. They are refugees from North Africa, hoping to move to Dekalb to start a new life. Their country is in the midst of a dangerous ongoing war that has made it unsafe to walk the streets of their neighborhood. Habitat is able to sell renovated homes to qualified families at a fraction of what normal homes cost, but requires the family and surrounding community contribute “sweat equity” which at Habitat is defined as physical labor improving the home.
Our morning team divided into four groups. Team A worked in the front yard, digging out a path for a concrete walkway from the driveway to the front porch. Roots as thick as an arm had to be chopped out with axes, and stiff packed dirt had to be dug out and leveled. Team B focused on demoing the bathroom with a sledgehammer and clearing the debris from the home. This work was loud and exhausting, but our team was excited to bust out some tile. Team C worked in the kitchen. We salvaged all the cabinets and then began removing drywall and sheetrock, stripping most of the room down to the bones. Team D required the most hands, and was able to completely clear the overgrown backyard. Fighting poison oak and creeping vines, the backyard team worked tirelessly to cut up and move fallen trees, bramble, and various garbage that had been left behind by the previous homeowners.
The noise of power tools and sledgehammers was matched by team encouragement as everyone pitched in to complete their project. By 12:00 noon our bright orange shirts were drenched dark with sweat and a few minor scrapes had been suffered. Lunch was catered by Firehouse Subs and we all took a break to observe what a difference we had made in just a few short hours. The afternoon team arrived to join us for lunch and break into four teams focused on new projects.
Afternoon Team A was focused on pulling up dusty carpet and old nails from each bedroom and living room in the home. Pulling up carpet was fairly easy, but the stripping and nails posed a greater challenge. Team B worked to clear the attic of cobwebs and trash. Team C continued clearing and demoing the bathroom tile, while Team D continued clearing the backyard. Our entire team remained diligent and by 4:00 p.m. we had completed all the days tasks and more!
Temporary Accommodations as an organization has been a longtime supporter of Habitat for Humanity. In 2014 we received the coveted “Golden Hammer” award for our continuous support. This year, in addition to our employee’s time and talents, we were excited to be able to make a monetary donation of $10,000 to the Habitat organization itself. Philanthropy is defined as the giving of one’s time, talents and treasures, each as important as the last. TA is very proud to employ so many philanthropic individuals that feel driven to give back to our community. The passion our team has for putting a safe roof over every family in America was as evident last Saturday as it has ever been.