Insight News

Feb 09th

Handout vs. Hand-up; Helping Others A Win-Win

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habitatforhumanityA couple of days ago I went over to the Minneapolis Habitat for Humanity office to complete my volunteer orientation. I’m so excited because within a week I get to start helping to build and rehab houses for needy families.

Before you start thinking that I am wonderfully compassionate and selfless, I want to let you in on a little secret; I am not just doing this to help others-there is something big in it for me. I want my basement finished, on the cheap, and I want to learn some money-saving construction skills. Do you want to stop waiting for your Honey to get started on that Honey-Do-List you’ve assigned?? A great way to learn how to tackle minor (and maybe a few major) home repairs is by becoming a volunteer at Habitat For Humanity. You will accomplish the perfect mix of helping others while learning valuable skills that save you big bucks.

Habitat history
This Christian housing ministry does not provide give-aways, it sells affordable homes to those who may not otherwise have an opportunity to own. The down payment and monthly payments received from Habitat owners go towards building more affordable homes for qualifying families and the process continues to repeat itself. If you or someone you know is in need of affordable housing, get more details from the website

Helping is easy
Sometimes it feels hard to get involved with volunteer organizations; loads of paperwork, rigid orientation times, inflexible volunteer guidelines. What I liked about Habitat is that my volunteer coordinator, Katherine, set me up right away with an orientation time that fit my schedule and it didn’t take all day, it took less than an hour. The volunteer opportunities allowed for as much or as little time as desired and I could get started right away by viewing and registering online. In addition to construction volunteer opportunities, you can bake cookies for special events, complete mailings, help with outreach, work at ReStore-the store that sells recycled building materials, to name a few. All the while, you are learning skills, serving others, and building relationships.

Although this will be my first time volunteering, I must confess that I have had a soft spot in my heart for Habitat for nearly twenty years. Habitat is the reason why my Aunt Mae and Cousin Betty became homeowners (and next-door neighbors) in Jackson, MS, nearly twenty years ago. I remember their excitement when they first moved into the homes that they actually helped build. I’ve slept many nights in both homes, eaten many delicious meals around their kitchen tables, and shared laughter and tears through our family triumphs and tragedies. How could I not be drawn to such a relevant and vital ministry?

My aunt, who has remained active in supporting Habitat throughout the years, told me that she recently asked her pastor if their church could help sponsor a Habitat Home for a family. She put it best when she said, “I was the working-poor and felt overlooked, but Habitat gave me a helping hand, not a hand-out and I’m not poor anymore.”

Then she made a profound statement that put it all in perspective for me, “Marcia, remember you are building much more than homes, you are building HOPE in the lives of people.” Enjoy!

Marcia Humphrey is an interior decorator and home stager who specializes in achieving high style at low costs. A native of Michigan, she and her husband, Lonnie, have three children.

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