Just took part in a building blitz with Women Build, Habitat for Humanity yesterday afternoon here in Appleton (WI). Every year the local Fox Valley Area Habitat for Humanity builds at least one house that’s built with 100% women volunteers. The recipient is usually a single mom herself.
I ended up on the siding crew for the afternoon, which meant a lot of up and down a pretty tall ladder. They had some pretty large extension ladders (20 footers, maybe?) that really required 2 of us to move. I think if I tried moving one myself I’d surely put out a window! The day was great fun as I gained some experience with working with vinyl siding, which I’d never done before.
The evening meal was even provided by our Mayor, Tim Hannah! Whatta guy! He made us pasta with a pesto sauce, and cubed grilled chicken in its own yummy sauce on the side. That’s very thoughtful to have separated the meat into another dish for the vegetarians.
You don’t need any tools of your own to work on a Habitat job site. They have a tool trailer (with a “tool captain” that guards it like a bulldog) that you borrow tools from for your shift. So this is a fabulous way to get your feet wet, so to speak, with some building experience for just the donation of your time.
Just remember to put on lots of sunscreen and bring your own water bottle. They always have snacks that you can munch on when you feel your energy getting low throughout the day, so you don’t have to bring any munchies, either. They DO have water and lemonade, but it’s nicer if you can keep refilling your own bottle rather than keep taking a cup. They’re very conscientious about limiting waste and recycling on a job site.
And, putting in a six hour volunteer shift will give you a pretty good idea if you’re cut out to tackle your own home building project. It’s a small investment of your time to learn an excellent lesson about your aptitude for home building.
I also heard that this house is eventually going to be getting solar panels (probably PV). The front door faces south, so you can see that the roof will offer a great spot for some panels.