O n a crisp Saturday morning in October, Father Mike O’ Brien of St. Richard Catholic Church stood with a group of Habitat for Humanity Mississippi Capital Area volunteers to bless Catholic Build 2014 – the future home of Carolyn Madlock and her son.
“On this morning, I would like to share with you scripture, about the early community of Christians and what they were like. From Acts, Chapter 4: ‘The community of believers were of one heart and one mind… Nor was there anyone needy among them. From time to time those who owned land or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales and lay it at the feet of the apostles to be distributed to everyone according to need.’”
Father O’Brien said the passage was appropriate because “This (Habitat build) is our version of that today — the community coming together, to make sacrifices, to work together, to give of their time and gifts and talents to build a house together for Carolyn and her family.”
Volunteers and community are at the heart of Habitat for Humanity Mississippi Capital Area (HFHMCA). We would not be able to work to fulfill our mission of eliminating substandard housing without the help and support of the community. We partner with area churches, companies, civic clubs, schools, groups and individuals as well as our partner families to build decent affordable housing with families in need of housing help in the metro Jackson community. We depend on the community for donations of money and materials and volunteer labor.
The Catholic Build is a great example of the community coming together. The Catholic Build is the longest standing Covenant sponsorship among our many corporate and faith-based partners. This year 10 Catholic churches, along with the St. Dominic Health Services Foundation, are providing the volunteer labor and funds for the 29th Catholic Build.
“I agree with Habitat’s mission that everyone deserves decent housing,” said Ibby Joseph, a volunteer from St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church working on her 12th Catholic Build house.
Also volunteering that day was HFHMCA homeowner Marion Coleman, who works at St. Dominic Health Services.
“Why am I here today?” she asked. “Carolyn Madlock is a co-worker, a fellow Christian, and a sister. I want to pay it forward and help a family because other families helped me. Plus, I love the work at a Habitat build site.”
“I felt like I needed to do something for my community,” said David Ruhl of St. Joseph Catholic Church. “Volunteering at Catholic Build helps me feel good and someone else feel good.”
Jim Jeter, chief development officer at St. Dominic Health Services, shared his perspective as a volunteer and a HFHMCA board member. “I am proud to serve on a board that truly helps individuals by giving a hand up, not hand out,” he said.
HFHMCA is not a giveaway program. In addition to a down payment and monthly mortgage payments, homeowners invest hundreds of hours of their own labor or sweat equity into building their HFHMCA house and houses of others. The homeowners’ payments of the 30-year interest free mortgages are channeled into the work of the organization and the construction of more Habitat homes for other families. HFHMCA is especially proud of the fact that ninety-one cents of every dollar raised goes towards building safe, decent, affordable housing.
The community through HFHMCA has now built almost 600 homes in the metro area of Hinds, Rankin and Madison counties. Nearly 4,000 volunteers put their “love in action” each year to build homes with families who need a decent place to live.
As Father O’Brien said, Habitat is “the community coming together” to give to help others. Thanks to donors and volunteers like YOU, we are truly making a difference in this community.
If you are interested in donating or becoming a volunteer, we would love to hear from you. Please give us a call at Habitat for Humanity Mississippi Capital Area — 601-353-6060.
» Cindy Griffin is the Executive Director of the Habitat for Humanity Mississippi Capital Area.
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