During the week of Monday, April 1 through Saturday, April 6, Eastern’s chapter of Habitat for Humanity raised awareness about their mission to promote global affordable housing. The campus ministry led a number of on-campus and off-campus events through its “Act! Speak! Build!” awareness week. The week focused on promoting community action through advocacy, voicing how students can become involved and building awareness about poor living conditions.
Each event sought to address the issue of poverty housing or contribute to the promotion of its resolution, affordable housing. Students that were involved in the awareness week were able to increase awareness about the global issue of substandard housing and advocate for an initiation of change.
On Monday, April 1, Habitat for Humanity kick- started the week with a letter-writing campaign to U.S. Senators of Pennsylvania. Students wrote letters to Senators, Pat Toomey and Bob Casey Jr., on postcards to urge for the continuation of priority programs that support the work of Habitat.
Each letter urged for the federal funding of Habitat-related programs, such as the HOME Investment Partnership Program and the Self-Help Homeownership Opportunity Program (SHOP). One student, Abigail Fell-Dewalt, wrote a letter to Senator
Casey in Spanish to symbolize the impact of Habitat’s mission in the Hispanic community.
The next day, Tuesday, April 2, a tradition continued. Each year for awareness week, Habitat collaborates with the Society of Art & Illustration for an event related to affordable housing. This year, students participated in a night of painting and decorating birdhouses. With feathers, decorative gemstones, and splashes of paint, Habitat members and students participate in this creative event each year.
On Wednesday, April 3, Eastern’s Habitat for Humanity campus chapter led a Pancake Night fundraiser to raise money and awareness. Hours prior to the start of Wednesday Night Worship, students gathered in the Gough residence building to buy pancakes. Blueberries, chocolate chips, and thick syrup were the toppings for the evening. According to one of Habitat’s campus leaders, Rebecca Kallinkal, “The Pancake Night was a success.”
A number of resident assistants, student athletes and other campus ministries supported Habitat with their purchase of pancakes and spontaneous donations. On Thursday, April 4, the CEO of the Habitat for Humanity of Montgomery and Delaware County chapters shared her experience and answered questions in a panel discussion about affordable housing. Chief Executive Director Marianne Lynch contributed to educating the community about service through a distributive justice lens. In addition to Lynch, current Eastern student, Saroj Chettri, joined the panel to share his experience as the Neighborhood Revitalization Manager and as Lynch’s colleague. Chettri’s purpose is to initiate the restoration and revitalization of neighborhoods.
Through the programs offered in Montgomery and Delaware counties, Habitat is able to build stable neighborhoods and create safer living conditions. According to Lynch, MontDelco Habitat for Humanity will continue to launch additional programs, such as “a free Financial Empowerment Program launching in Pottstown, Pennsylvania and the Critical Home Repair Program.” The program addresses the critical needs of residents in the Montgomery and Delaware counties that threatens the safety, health and accessibility of residents.
On the last day of awareness week, students volunteered at a build site in Salem, New Jersey. Volunteering on Saturdays is a weekly opportunity for Eastern students. Every opportunity given to serve through Habitat is an opportunity for students to build hope and to build homes, one family at a time.
Sources: HabitatMontDelco.org, Habitat.org