Helping Hands: Habitat for Humanity of Greater Centre County examines past, future

November 21, 2012 

Habitat for Humanity of Greater Centre County is an ecumenical, Christian housing ministry that provides simple, decent and affordable housing for qualified families in need. In October, we will begin our 30th year celebration as an affiliate with Habitat for Humanity International.

Each family contributes 300 to 500 hours of “sweat equity” on the construction of their home. In our first 29 years, 58 homes have been built locally, and 84 homes around the world through our tithe. We are able to keep housing affordable because we rely upon the generosity of our community. Donations of land, materials, labor and funds allow us to achieve our mission.

As we join with family and friends this week to celebrate Thanksgiving, I want to take a moment to reflect on the people in our region and beyond who have made the work of Habitat for Humanity possible.

Listening to the stories of those who helped to shape our first 29 years, I am reminded of the vision, faith and selflessness of our volunteers, donors, supporters and partner families. We are like a family — one that I am really proud and happy to be a member of — and there’s always room for another seat at our table.

With each new partner family, donor, volunteer or person who shops at our ReStore, our family grows richer and more diverse, and we are so thankful for the gifts you share with our ministry. Every wall, window, roof truss or nail that goes into our homes is a direct result of the choice someone made to give. Thank you.

We have much to be proud of and to celebrate at Habitat, but now is not the time to focus energy on our achievements. The upcoming closures of two mobile home parks in the Centre Region have brought the affordable housing crisis back into the spotlight. There are approximately 200 families being impacted: single parents with their children, families, retirees. Poverty housing does not discriminate.

Looking to the future, we are encouraged by the opportunities our community will have to reach out to each other, to lend a helping hand, to show compassion and love, as well as to be a good neighbor.

We need your help to continue our work. Whether you are a financial supporter, a construction volunteer, serve on an event committee, assist us with fundraising activities or shop at our ReStore retail shop, you will join us in our mission to provide a hand-up, not a hand-out.

As you give thanks on Thursday, please remember those who are not as fortunate and consider joining the Habitat family. Remember, there’s always room for one more at our table.

For more information, call 353-2390, visit www.habitatgcc.org or stop by the ReStore at 1155 Zion Road, Bellefonte.

Missy Schoonover is the interim executive director at Habitat for Humanity of Greater Centre County.

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