On Saturday, Nov. 10, the high temperature in Monroe County was 33 degrees. At 8 am, with a wind chill that sent temperatures below freezing, volunteers began to gather at their designated building site for a day of outdoor construction work. Winter may have arrived a little early this year but these conditions are the norm for Habitat building in the winter.
There are only so many layers that one can wear and still move comfortably and they may not even protect your face from the harsh winter wind. While volunteers can take their breaks inside the house with a portable heater, this only provides them temporary relief.
This is why we refer to our volunteers in the cold months as Winter Warriors. These volunteers could easily reschedule their build dates to the Spring. They don’t have to give up eight hours in their day, in freezing temperatures, to ensure that someone they don’t even know gets their house built on time. Their determination and selflessness are what makes them Winter Warriors.
Many people assume that Habitat halts their building in the winter but that’s not the case. Habitat Monroe builds affordable housing all year long, in every type of weather condition. This also means that we need volunteers all year long. Since volunteers make up 80 percent of our workforce, it is even more vital to recruit volunteers in the slower season to ensure that houses get built on time.
Some may wonder why people are so willing to give up their free time, in less than ideal weather conditions, to help build on a Habitat house. The truth is that this is just the spirit of Habitat, we have always operated on the generosity of others and satisfaction comes to our volunteers in knowing that they participated in something that was much bigger than themselves, and much bigger than the temporary discomfort they may feel from working in the winter.
Because of volunteer efforts, a family will now have a place to call their own, a place where they don’t have to worry about sky-rocketing utility costs to stay warm in the Winter. They will have their own place to host holiday dinners for their friends. They will have a yard where their children can play in the snow. All of this is possible because of our Winter Warriors.
Right now, we are scheduling volunteer dates for the winter months. It’s the same great volunteer experience as every time, only in a little bit colder temperature. This season, we do have some indoor work available for volunteers. We will have coffee in the morning, to start your day off right. Winter Warriors will also be entered into drawings for Habitat giveaways each time they volunteer. We will do what we can to give you the best volunteer experience possible and your efforts will allow us to help more families throughout the year.
Just know that your one day of effort will have a lasting impact on your very own community.