Members of Habitat for Humanity have selflessly built more than 400,000 houses universally, providing shelter to more than 2 million people. Millard and Linda Fuller founded Habitat for Humanity in 1978 and in 1984 the organization was brought into national light when Jimmy Carter and his wife became involved. Habitat for Humanity has been growing ever since. Eastern University is lucky enough to have a chapter of this organization located on campus.
“We hope to bring awareness to the Eastern community about poverty, housing and sustainable living environments,” senior Kirsten Lowell said. In the fall, Habitat’s largest event is the jail fundraiser that they set up during homecoming weekend. Work days also take place during the fall semester when Habitat members work with Introduction to Faith, Reason and Justice classes to form a group of service learners. These students along with a few upperclassmen spend occasional work days participating in construction jobs at either a site in Montgomery, Delaware or Chester County. Some students spend their day helping out at one of the county’s ReStores. These resale outlets sell donated, reusable and surplus home improvement supplies at inexpensive prices. The proceeds go to help local Habitat affiliates fund construction of homes within their communities. In the spring Habitat for Humanity work days are open to anyone interested.
The Habitat group takes full advantage of spring break by working with other members of Habitat in different locations. “Physical work will be required and we ask those who come to be mature Christians, able to represent Christ in word and deed, and to bring with them humble and servant’s hearts,” the spring break application states. Approximately 30 humble hearted students will be traveling to two different locations this spring break; one to Greensboro, NC and one to Franklin, WV where local Habitat affiliates will host them.
“We will be helping build homes in the area along with building relationships with the community and its members,” Lowell said. It is always a mystery how exactly the team will be put to work, this changes year to year depending on what stage the house is in when they arrive. However, Habitat members are ready to get their hands dirty no matter the job. “It’s hard to anticipate what is going to happen from trip to trip … what I can expect is the fact that God always surprises me,” Junior Kelsey Lepore, co-president of Habitat on campus, said. There are other Habitat members from all over the country coming together to help at these sites. “It’s so exciting to meet other students and make new friends,” Lepore said. She goes on to talk about how they often get to meet the homeowners and work side by side with them to build their homes. “The best part is the high you get from doing all the volunteer work for people that you may or may not meet,” Junior Sally Raudensky, co-president of Eastern’s Habitat, said.
It is too late to sign up for this years spring break trip, but the first week of April Habitat for Humanity on campus will be celebrating Act, Speak, Build Week. They are also planning an Easter egg hunt for the Wayne Community. Habitat members are hoping that these events will help create awareness of the group and their future trips and events.
Through Habitat for Humanity’s hard work, thousands of low-income families have found new hope in the form of affordable housing. “Our mission statement is to put our faith and love into action by building houses and relationships in the name of Jesus Christ,” Lepore said. And that is just what Habitat for Humanity is doing at Eastern University and around the world.