AU Houses Habitat Volunteers
Date: June 17, 2005
Undertaking the construction of 20 houses in one week may indeed sound daunting, but that’s exactly what a dedicated, eager, and talented team of more than 1000 volunteers from around the world intend to accomplish during this week’s Habitat for Humanity project.
Under the direction of former president Jimmy Carter, volunteers will arrive at the Lake Michigan College Mendel Center for opening ceremonies, dinner, and orientation Sunday evening, June 19. While the entire state of Michigan is involved in this summer’s Habitat for Humanity project, Detroit and Benton Harbor will serve as host cities, reaping the benefits of new housing, but also responsible for providing the support necessary to successfully complete such a rigorous project.
Andrews University is proud to provide 240 of these volunteers with dormitory housing beginning June 19. University Relations director Rebecca May, is looking forward to this opportunity for Andrews to work with Harbor Habitat. “This is a rare opportunity for our campus to support this internationally significant Habitat for Humanity project. We’re honored to have the volunteers on our campus,” May commented at a June 15th meeting during which the university’s hospitality team verified and reviewed housing arrangements for the hammer-swinging, foundation-pouring volunteers.
Joe Boersma, director of both Global Information Services and Benton Harbor’s chapter of Habitat for Humanity, outlined the specifics of the volunteers’ to-do list during the same meeting. Transportation to the work sites will be leaving at 4:30 am and breakfast will be served at 5:00 am sharp, followed by a short morning worship and announcement session. By 7:15 am, volunteers will have begun construction. Aramark, who caters food for the local school district’s cafeteria, will be providing the volunteers’ three daily squares. However, it will be up to the project’s support staff to set up and serve these catered meals. Of the 1000 volunteers, 400 will busily shore up the other 600 behind the scenes.
With such a dedicated team channeling their time and talents into the construction of houses for Benton Harbor, it is doubtful that crooked nails or shoddy siding will show up. Nonetheless, Boersma cued leaders about “Elf Crews” working 5:00 –10:00 pm shifts to examine daytime construction and correct any blunders or oversights. These skilled crews of local construction workers will also be responsible for completing the more demanding aspects of construction that might exceed the abilities of amateur volunteers.
Since the week promises to be a challenging one for Habitat for Humanity volunteers, a few fun activities have been organized for relaxation and refreshment. Plans include a mid-week beach party and BBQ at Jean Klock Park in Benton Harbor.
Andrews University is happy to support Habitat for Humanity and the community of Benton Harbor.