Five groups build five homes in five days

While much of the news from the Gulf Coast these days is filled with bad news about oily birds, oily water and oily beaches, today there’s some good news:

130 volunteers from five organizations began raising walls on five houses Monday morning in Seal Pointe, Habitat’s new green built neighborhood in Bay St. Louis.

One of the houses in the build is Bay-Wavcland Habitat’s 150th house.

Each of the organizations have been to Hancock County before to help build houses with Habitat for Humanity, and the oil spill wasn’t about to stop them now.

“It’s like a reunion,” says Deb Ogle-Thompson of Willow Creek Community Church in Chicago, Illinois. “When we come down, we feel like we’re coming to see old friends … and build houses!” she adds. This is Willow Creek’s sixth trip to Hancock County since 2006. Altogether, more than 500 people have come to build 23 houses in Hancock County.

For the past three years, Glenbrook High School, a public school in Glenview, Illinois, has sent a total of 160 students to build houses in Hancock County with Habitat for Humanity. “We love Habitat,” says Jim Shellard, Glenbrook’s Assistant Principal for School Activities. “They have a plan, and they get real results.”

Scranton Preparatory School, a Catholic, Jesuit college prep school in Scranton, Pennsylvania, is also returning. This is their fourth year bringing students to Hancock County. “We’ve fallen in love with the people of this community,” says Marie Donnelly, English teacher, and leader of the group.

Tae Kirn is the group leader for Young Nak Presbyterian^Church in Los Angeles. This is the second year the 6,000 member church has sent a team to build in Bay St. Louis. “It feels great to be able to serve,” comments Tae. “We enjoy working very hard.”

This is the second year that Project Children has brought college-age students from Ireland to build homes on the Gulf Coast. The students, from both Catholic and Protestant backgrounds, build bridges with each other even while they build houses through Habitat for Humanity. “Habitat is a perfect fit for us,” says Dennis Mulcahy, co-founder of the program. “We hope to return each year.”

Extreme temperatures, an economic slowdown and oil in the Gulf could not deter these 130 volunteers from returning to fulfill their mission of rebuilding hopes, lives and dreams in the Mississippi Gulf Coast. “Even as new threats besiege us, we find ourselves grateful again for the hope and healing these friends bring to us,” commented Wendy McDonald, Bay-Waveland Habitat’s executive director.

The volunteers will be building on Union Street in Bay St. Louis all week. Houses will be dedicated on Friday afternoon, June 25th. :

ABOUT BAY-WAVELAND AREA HABITAT FOR HUMANITY: Habitat’s work in Hancock County began after hurricane Katrina damaged or destroyed 70% of the housing in the county in 2005. Since then. Habitat has built more than 145 houses in partnership with homeowners, volunteers, donors, partners and friends. While much has been done, much work remains.

Habitat does not give away homes. Homeowners are selected based upon a variety of factors, including their ability to repay a low-cost, no interest loan and willingness to invest 250 hours of “sweat equity” building their house and the houses of others. A Christian organization, HFH Bay-Waveland partners with all persons regardless of faith, who share in the common dream to eliminate poverty housing and to restore hopes, lives and dreams in the Gulf Coast.

For more information and news, visit www.habitatbw.org

BY: The Sea Coast Echo

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