Every Saturday morning, a group of volunteers arrive at our build site (or maybe two, depending on how many projects we have going), and they spend from 7:00 am to Noon working on a house. They may be digging, hammering, insulating, carrying, painting, or any of the other things you have to do when a house is going up. They show up with a mixture of skills, or no skills at all.
There are so many people wanting to work on these houses this that our Construction Volunteer Coordinator, Ashley, gets to schedule volunteers weeks in advance. That’s a good thing, because Habitat for Humanity Fresno County lives or dies by the volunteers who show up to help us.
And every four months a Habitat family gets the keys to the front door of their brand new home, and we cheer them with pompoms and throw a party in their garage. City officials show up and so do the television news cameras when we present the keys, along with a Bible and a blessing.
And do you know what the volunteers get in return for their hard work?
That’s right, we give them cookies at break time.
I don’t know about you, but unless it’s Girl Scout Thin Mints- and it had better be a whole box- I wouldn’t do a lot for cookies. So, obviously, that’s not why the volunteers do it. Why, then? Lots of reasons:
They know what they do will matter to a family.
They know it will help Fresno County become a better place.
For some, it is a team-building exercise for their company, and it makes their workplace better.
For some, it is simply because they remember a time when they had no home, and they want to demonstrate their gratitude by helping someone else get a home.
For our founder and for many today, it is obedience to Christ’s commands to love one another. (Our mission statement is: “Seeking to put God's love in action, Habitat for Humanity brings people together to build homes communities and hope.”)
Frankly, it needs to be done.
In the Old Testament story, Jacob worked for seven years to earn permission to marry Rachel, “and they seemed unto him but a few days, for the love he had to her” (Genesis 29:20). Time flies when you’re working for love. Someone once said, “Find something that you love to do for a living, and you’ll never work a day in your life.” The only explanation for most of our volunteers is LOVE.
By the way, Ashley has a special group of volunteers: The Cookie Committee. They take turns baking cookies for break time. I strongly recommend the molasses cookies. They actually ARE worth five hours’ working. If you ‘d like to be on the cookie committee, go to our GET INVOLVED tab and list baking as one of your skills. Especially if you do molasses.