When the people at the Buzzards Bay Area Habitat for Humanity (BBAHFH) say, “Habitat homes are built with a community of kindness,” they must know that they are in the right place because a community like Mattapoisett is known for a few things – its history, natural beauty, and friendly hospitality. But those of us who live in this area know that, all over the South Coast, there never seems to be a shortage of those who are willing to step up, accept a challenge, make a positive impact, or give where they are capable.
Christine Lacourse, executive director of the BBAHFH, is calling out to that “community of kindness” just as the construction of a new home is underway for a local family in need, a first for Mattapoisett. The project begins now with the first of a growing succession of acts of kindness – the donation of land.
The property on Route 6 near the border with Fairhaven was a donation from David and Jessica Nicolosi, and, according to Lacourse, “because of the wonderful donation, Habitat for Humanity will be able to make the dream of homeownership come true for another local family.”
During a phone interview on January 28, Lacourse elaborated on what that “community of kindness” is comprised of for a project such as this.
“Without the community we would not be able to build the homes for local families in the area,” said Lacourse. “It takes the volunteers – the builders, subcontractors, people willing to donate materials – to come together. Whether they donate time, money, or materials, this is makes the home affordable to a family.”
Lacourse said oftentimes church groups will devote some resources and efforts, while those who cannot physically contribute sometimes pitch in by providing volunteers at the construction site with coffee breaks or lunch.
“It takes the entire community to come together to create a new home for a local family in need, and that’s why we say it’s a community of kindness,” said Lacourse.
Slated for the land is an Energy Star rated three to four bedroom, cottage-style house designed in the spirit of the town’s quaint character.
The project is in the planning phase, but Lacourse said the non-profit hopes to break ground this spring once permits are acquired and volunteers secured. Students at Old Colony are contributing by helping with the contract drawings, Lacourse said, and, depending on the weather, the project hopefully will be completed in six months.
“The length of time depends on who steps up for helping, as well,” said Lacourse.
Lacourse said the BBAHFH is looking for professional, skilled builders to donate their time and expertise to the build, and possibly act as a guide for any “handyman willing to learn” volunteer without a whole lot of experience, who are also sought after. The project also needs experienced site leaders to focus on particular aspects of construction who are willing to work with a group of volunteers for one or more days. Subcontractors and materials are also needed for site clearing, excavation, foundation work, insulation, gutters, roofing, windows, siding, plumbing/heating/gas, electrical, drywall, painting, flooring, cabinetry/countertops, and more.
Lacourse said the group still needs volunteers during the planning process, volunteers to help with the acquisition of materials, and members are needed for the Build Committee.
“Everyone can help,” Lacourse emphasized, although to perform physical work one must be at least 16 years of age.
Sometimes a person who has never volunteered for a project like this one might feel apprehensive or unsure in their capacity to help, but Lacourse encourages anyone with an interest in learning more about an opportunity like this to serve in their community to reach out either via email or a call to the BBAHFH office.
“Some first-time volunteers feel nervous … but there is always a great group of people on site and it’s very welcoming,” Lacourse said. “Most times they want to come back and volunteer again, of course although there’s no obligation to, they usually do so.”
Money, of course, is also graciously accepted.
From a press release issued by the Buzzards Bay Area Habitat for Humanity:
“Habitat encourages locals to join in their mission to bring people together to build homes, communities and hope. Habitat homes are built with a community of kindness. To become part of Habitat for Humanity’s vision where everyone has a decent place to live in our community, please consider giving your time, materials, or monetary donations to support the build.”
All donations to the BBAHFH are tax deductible. To make a donation, you may visit www.BuzzardsBayHabitat.org, or call the office at 508-758-4517. To discuss how you, your company, or your organization can contribute and make a positive impact on a local family in need of affordable housing, you may call the office or send an email to BuzzardsBayAreaHabitat@yahoo.com.
Homeownership applications will be available soon, so those interested should visit www.buzzardsbayhabitat.org/homeownership. To receive an application when they become available, visitwww.buzzardsbayhabitat.org/volunteer, and fill out the volunteer form and include a note that you are interested in learning more about the home application process.
The Buzzards Bay Area Habitat for Humanity (BBAHFH) affiliate of Habitat for Humanity International was formed in December 1996, encompassing the towns of Acushnet, Fairhaven, Marion, Mattapoisett, Rochester, Wareham, New Bedford, Dartmouth, and Westport. These projects rely on donations of money, materials, and land, as well as volunteer labor.
BBAHFH, a not-for-profit organization, builds homes for local families in need and sold to qualified families at an affordable price under a no-profit, low-interest loan. Those loan payments are reinvested into the affiliate which enables the building of additional Habitat homes and “Brush with Kindness projects,” which are smaller-scale projects such as exterior painting, access ramps, and other structural work for families fallen on hard times who cannot afford essential repairs to the homes they own.
By Jean Perry