Local nonprofit builds homes for residents

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Kailey Carr

Contributor

As the end of the year approaches and temperatures drop, the need to help out in the community becomes greater. 

Jacob Whitaker, a senior business major from Gadsden and the president of Habitat for Humanity at Troy, said students are welcome to get involved with the organization that builds homes for those who can’t afford one through a traditional building company. 

“You can come work even if you don’t know how to build a house,” Whitaker said. “You can do something, and there’s always some way you can get involved even if you don’t actually do any manual labor.”

Whitaker said not only do students get service hours and build their resumes, but it is highly impactful for personal growth.

“You get service hours,” he said. “That’s great. It helps with your resume, which is nice. 

“But the other thing is it’s not only good for your character, but it’s good for your soul, if that makes sense. You can be a servant and help someone that you don’t normally get the chance to. Even if your schedule’s so tight that you can only go once per year — that’s better than nothing.”

Whitaker was able to see the second house he helped with transform from start to finish. While he was there hammering drywall, the homeowner came up to him and thanked him for his efforts.

“I was just thinking, ‘I’m just some kid. Why are you telling me, ‘Thank you?’’ But it meant a lot to me for her to say that,” Whitaker said. 

According to its national website, Habitat for Humanity is a global nonprofit housing organization working in local communities across the United States and in 70 countries.

Ellis Bush serves as a board member for Troy Habitat for Humanity. He said the homeowners pay for all the materials, but that the actual manual labor is all done by volunteers, which allows for a much more affordable house.

“I think it’s really neat because it provides housing to people who would not otherwise be able to afford it,” Bush said.

Many people will not have a warm, comfortable place to live as the cold weather becomes worse. Habitat for Humanity’s mission is to give everyone around the world a place to keep them safe and warm all year round.

The issue that stops this process from becoming greater, is the need for volunteers. Without volunteers these homes will not be built. Fortunately, Habitat can provide homes for almost half the cost because of the volunteer work.

It’s not just building houses where volunteers are needed. There are opportunities for serving the community through Habitat, such as can drives, stocking shelves at the local food pantry, working with The Boys and Girls Club and many more.

Habitat provides events for all types of people, including events for women and veterans.

For more information and to find your local Habitat, visit their website at troypikehabitat.com.

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