Last week at Habitat for Humanity’s home dedication ceremony, the whole block had no power.
Instead of discarding the mobile sound system and relying on theatre voices, Peter Sanderson hooked up the system to the battery in his vehicle.
This trick was on theme as Habitat for Humanity seems to have a way of getting things done with what they have.
Pat McKenna, the North-Island executive director, first taught the crowd Habitat’s “oiyay” cheer before introducing the project’s key people, recognizing the 6,000 volunteer hours that went towards the project and thanking the many financial as well as in-kind sponsors.
One such in-kind partner was North Island College. Electrical and carpentry foundation students contributed to the raising of the house.
“We have traditionally struggled with the skilled labour required to build the houses and the team of electrical students…they wired this house in three and a half days under the instruction of Pat and his team,” McKenna said. “Three and a half days for us was nothing short of a miracle to see it happen.”
The stars of the show, the new home owners, took to the deck one at a time to receive their symbolic gifts.
In mid-July Benny and Maggie McGrath, and Melissa Hamstra and their children, will move in to their new duplex in Willow Point.
Each family was given a loaf of bread as a symbol of stability and in hope that the family would never be hungry, a bag of salt so that life would always be flavourful, a Bible to provide love and guidance and so that their new home would be a place of study, and a toolbox to ensure that they had all the tools they needed to be a successful homeowner.
The final part of the ceremony was the presentation of the keys and symbolic unlocking of the front door.
“It’s just been amazing, learning how to build a home, how to take care of it…and the community, it’s just been amazing,” said Hamstra.
The Hamstras and the McGraths went through the selection process and were chosen as the family partners last December. Since then they have each put in 500 hours of sweat equity as the down payment on their new home.
They pay an interest-free mortgage to Habitat, which is used to build more homes.
Because of the ReStores, owned and operated by Habitat, 100 per cent of donations towards the build went directly to the build. The ReStores cover all administrative expenses.
Habitat is already working with city council to locate a new property in town and hopes to build again next year.