Habitat and Pinehills Kick Off Next Home-Building Project

May 04, 2011     In The Media

For millions of American, the classic American Dream has become an American nightmare.

Sometimes it just doesn’t matter how hard you work; making ends meet can become impossible with gas prices hovering around $4, fuel bills skyrocket and paychecks evaporate.

Many who hoped to one day own their own home are now struggling just to stay fed and warm. And it’s not just the unemployed; a staggering number of Americans are just barely making it despite working two jobs.

Habitat for Humanity of Greater Plymouth’s mission is to help hardworking Americans realize that American Dream. And even last Thursday’s drenching rain couldn’t dampen spirits at the groundbreaking ceremony for the next Habitat home, to be built for the O’Hara family at 16 South Pond Road – though the venue did have to be changed from the home site to the Summerhouse in The Pinehills.

The town donated the lot to the cause and The Pinehills Charitable Trust kicked in a whopping $98,000 to make the dream a reality. It is the largest partner donation this region’s Habitat organization has ever received.

“To The Pinehills and The Pinehills Charitable Trust, thanks for having the faith,” Habitat for Humanity of Greater Plymouth President Nancy Morse told the assembled crowd of volunteers, donors and business professionals. “If it weren’t for that donation, we would not be standing here.”

Nor would Habitat have been breaking ground on another home without the time, talents and dedication of its volunteers.

Site Supervisor Doug Ballum said a call from Habitat volunteer Larry McCarthy changed his life, and his Saturdays. McCarthy noted that Ballum’s construction and management expertise would be invaluable to Habitat’s volunteer crew. Ballum offered up a Saturday and observed the so-called nonskilled volunteers knocking themselves out installing floors and building walls and roofs. They had started as amateurs but had developed their skills during two and three years of dedication to someone else’s need. It inspired Ballum, who quickly signed on as the volunteer site supervisor – a role he’s held on the past four Habitat projects in the area.

“I was hooked,” he said. “They’re building for somebody else. They could be home raking leaves, swimming, playing golf.”

Robert Kuhn of Moonlight Drafting Studios, another Habitat volunteer, donated the architectural design for the new home. Kuhn’s is but one of a myriad of businesses across the region that donate skills, time and money to Habitat.

“We were impressed with Habitat and struck by the incredible need they had for financial help during these tough economic times,” Pinehills LLC President John Judge said.

Selectmen asked The Pinehills Charitable Trust for money to fund the project, hoping other donations would be forthcoming. They were, but not enough to fully cover the cost.

The Trust’s original $38,000 donation, plus money from grants and donations, left a $60,000 gap, Judge said. So, The Pinehills Charitable Trust opted to donate more, to the tune of $98,000, so this Habitat project can cross the finish line.

The O’Haras will own the ninth home Habitat for Humanity of Greater Plymouth has built. The recently completed Habitat home on Mazzilli Drive in Carver will be dedicated later this month.

Worldwide, the organization has constructed 350,000 homes in 90 countries, providing housing for 1.5 million hard working people.

Habitat stresses that these homes are not handouts, but “hand ups.” Families awarded Habitat homes invest hundreds of hours of sweat equity into their home and those built for others and pay a mortgage that helps fund more Habitat homes.

Habitat for Humanity of Greater Plymouth is an affiliate of Habitat for Humanity International. Both the international organization and its local affiliates are nondenominational, Christian housing organizations that welcome all people to join in building simple, decent, affordable, houses in partnership with those in need of adequate shelter. The mission of Habitat is to eliminate poverty housing and homelessness from the world, and to make decent shelter a matter of conscience and action.

Habitat for Humanity of Greater Plymouth serves the towns of Plymouth, Carver, Plympton, Middleborough, Lakeville and Kingston.

For more information or to volunteer, go to www.hfhplymouth.org or call the Habitat office at 508-866-4188.

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