Celebrating our volunteers!
By Ariane Kjellquist
Asheville Area Habitat for Humanity is recognizing milestones and thanking volunteers during Volunteer Appreciation Week (April 20-25). Though this year amidst Covid-19, it means ZOOM coffee breaks, mailed rather than hand-delivered cards, and gifts presented at a later date.
Whether swinging a hammer at the construction site, fixing a floor on a home repair project, accepting donations at the ReStore, answering phones in the office, serving on a committee, or advocating for smart housing policies, volunteer action directly impacts Habitat’s ability to serve individuals and families in need of safe, stable, and affordable housing.
With 1 in 6 families already unable to afford the cost of home, and the situation exacerbated by Covid-19, Habitat volunteers are more important than ever. “Thanks in part to significant volunteer support through the years, Asheville Habitat has served more than 700 local families through homeownership and home repair programs. Those families have a stable, healthy and affordable home in which to Stay Home and Stay Safe,” noted Andy Barnett, Executive Director.
Last year, 2,311 volunteers contributed 70,061 hours of service – a value of $1.78 million!*
Core volunteers (those who volunteer on a weekly or bi-weekly basis) contributed 70% of the total volunteer hours last year.
Speaking of core volunteers, eight reached noteworthy service milestones in 2019.
15 Years – Alan Lang and CJ Obara (Construction); Cassie Dillon, Roger Parkin, and Kris Ruth (ReStore). Cassie is also President of the Board of Directors.
20 Years – Ted Faber (Construction) and Haydee Schulte (ReStore)
25 Years – Susan Diehn (ReStore)
Some fun facts about Asheville Habitat’s volunteer program:
- It takes 1,650 hours of volunteer labor to build one Habitat house.
- Construction volunteers spent a total of 38,563 hours building and repairing homes in 2019. Core volunteers contributed 58% of those hours!
- Asheville Habitat utilizes about 160 volunteers in the ReStore each week.
- A team of Asheville volunteers traveled to Guatemala in 2019 to work with Habitat Guatemala to help build homes and install smokeless stoves. Another volunteer team worked with Habitat Ethiopia in early 2020.
“The magic in what we do is the active part of our mission – bringing people together,” said Barnett. “When social distancing is the norm, this becomes more challenging. But we’re getting creative and staying connected as we are able. We definitely look forward to the day when we can come together in person to celebrate the good work we do together to help more families have safe, decent housing.”
*Value of volunteer hour is $25.43 according to Independent Sector