Tamara Danel, Executive Director of the Ginger Ford Northshore Fuller Center for Housing in Hammond, Louisiana, recruited a few friends for a Facebook live session in which they encourage you to join them at the April 24-27 Higher Ground on the Bayou Flood Recovery Build and/or the April 28-29 Fuller Center Annual Conference. Watch the video below, and then sign up at the following links:
The Livingston Parish News reports on a luncheon meeting of the Livingston Young Professionals, during which leaders spoke about the work of the Fuller Center Disaster ReBuilders, who have set up a base in Denham Springs, Louisiana, to help residents recover from the disastrous flooding of 2016. “They will need volunteers,” said Jamie Seal, of Quality Engineering & Surveying and a member of the LYP steering council. “They say Millennials want to be involved with things that are meaningful.”
Join Fuller Center for Housing President David Snell, Bicycle Adventure leader Connor Ciment, Director of International Field Operations Ryan Iafigliola, U.S. Builders leader Sharon Tarver and Director of Communications Chris Johnson for a monthly update of news and opportunities in this affordable housing ministry.
The Fuller Center Disaster ReBuilders are a fiercely dedicated group. That dedication is leading them to their newest location in 2017: Denham Springs, Louisiana.
Located just east of Baton Rouge, Denham Springs is a small, rural community that was heavily impacted by the disastrous flooding of last August. Bart Tucker, head of Disaster ReBuilders, has observed the damage firsthand, noting that “homes often look fine from the exterior, but the inside would have been flooded with 2-4 feet of water. Drywall, flooring, cabinets, it’s all ruined. It was a hurricane-sized disaster, no question about that.”
“The number of folks that will meet our qualifications is the highest that we’ve seen since Hurricane Katrina, and in contrast the publicity this storm has received has been the lowest that we’ve ever experienced,” says Tucker. The group selected Denham Springs largely due to the fact that it hadn’t received much assistance in the aftermath of the storm.
“It was a hurricane-sized disaster, no question about that.” — Bart Tucker, Fuller Center Disaster ReBuilders
Volunteers are set to arrive in Denham Springs on Feb. 19, and a local horse farm will host them. The farm’s bunkhouse can host 25 volunteers, has a fully equipped kitchen, a fellowship hall, and is surrounded by horses and beautiful scenery. Along with the horse farm opening its doors, Christ Community Church and South Walker Baptist Church are hosting volunteers, as well as cooking meals and supporting the teams during their time in Livingston Parish.
The relief effort will be taking place with the help of S.M.A.L.L Fuller Center, located in Walker, La., as well as Ginger Ford Northshore Fuller Center in Hammond. The Disaster ReBuilders have a track record of success working with Ginger Ford Northshore in the wake of disasters such as Hurricane Gustav (2008), Hurricane Katrina (2011) and Hurricane Isaac (2012).
If you are interested in serving with the Disaster ReBuilders in Denham Springs, more information and registration is available here.
Another year is moving into the history books, and what a year it has been! It seems as though we had an extra dose of challenges to deal with over the past 12 months and the news was full of tragedy and sadness. But we survived! And in the midst of all the heartache and grief there were bright shining moments of kindness to remind us that God is still in His heaven and that goodness and love are more powerful than evil and fear.
Here at The Fuller Center for Housing we see this every day as kindhearted souls share of their resources and time to make life a little better for a family in need, a family they may only know through the stories we tell. In 2016 our donors and volunteers helped make it possible for hundreds of families to celebrate Christmas in a safe and decent home. We moved families from a hillside slum into a lovely new community in El Salvador; we helped those who lost everything in the earthquake in Nepal to rebuild their homes and their lives; we reached out to families in Louisiana, where the flood waters did so much damage. In 70 U.S. cities and 20 other countries local Fuller Center organizations built and restored houses at an unprecedented rate, and every house stands as a testament of God’s love.
Now we enter the New Year and indications are that in many ways it will be as tumultuous and tragedy-laden as the year we leave behind. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by it all and helpless by our individual inability to effect change. The good news is that we can be agents of change, perhaps not at the global level, but every house we build means a profound change to the family that will move into it. We know that children who grow up in a decent house do better at school, are healthier, and have fewer behavioral problems, so the kindness we share turns out to benefit not just a single family but the entire community.
We are deeply grateful to the many donors and volunteers who have reached out with us to help families in need. Without that outpouring of kindness this work wouldn’t be possible. It is our prayer that, by partnering with us, our friends feel the joy that Jesus promises to those who keep his commandment—that we love one another. Together we are changing the world, one house at a time.
Our wish for you is a New Year rich with blessings and, even though we may not be able to bring peace to a troubled world, may we all experience the peace in our hearts that comes naturally from serving others.
(This is part of regular series of blog posts related to The Fuller Center’s #MoreSmilesFewerShacks 2016 year-end campaign.)
The Fuller Center for Housing has seen an influx of new covenant partners over the past couple of years, especially from groups that formerly had been associated with other housing nonprofits. Reasons they often cite for joining The Fuller Center include having the ability to make decisions at the local level and not having to pay fees to a bureaucratic overseer where they consider their fees going too much toward overhead and not enough toward work in the field.
When Millard and Linda Fuller founded The Fuller Center in 2005, they saw it as an opportunity to return to the grass-roots, Christian principles with which they started the affordable housing movement more than 40 years ago. One of those principles was that day-to-day decisions are best left to local groups who know best what their local community’s needs are and the best ways to meet those challenges. They believed that headquarters’ role was to facilitate — and not dictate — the work in the field, in the United States or around the world. They also believed that local partners should be encouraged to tithe toward the ministry’s work elsewhere but never required to pay fees to be a part of the ministry.
We lost Millard in 2009, but The Fuller Center has not wavered in its grass-roots principles and never will. We still believe decisions are best made at the local level, and we do not require our local covenant partners to pay fees in order to go about their work in the field under our umbrella. We stand ready to help local partners in a multitude of ways, but, ultimately, the work is up to those hard-working folks in the mission field.
It’s one of the reasons The Fuller Center is succeeding in hard-to-work places like Haiti. While many U.S. outfits have parachuted into the country believing they know best how to work there, The Fuller Center worked to find Haitian partners willing and able to put our partnership housing principles into action.
When Millard and Linda Fuller founded The Fuller Center in 2005, they saw it as an opportunity to return to the grass-roots, Christian principles with which they started the affordable housing movement more than 40 years ago.
The Fuller Center’s mission is to help families have simple, decent places to live. That means different things in different places. To partners like Louisville and Philadelphia, that means resurrecting once-vacant, dilapidated properties and turning them into like-new homes. In Indianapolis, it means raising the walls of new homes. In Perry, Ga., and Tallahassee, Fla., it means repair projects like new roofs and wheelchair ramps. In El Salvador and Bolivia, it means building whole communities. In India and Nicaragua, they’re taking it one home at a time. And in places like Hammond, La., it’s new homes, repairs and helping people recover from historic flooding.
We encourage everyone to visit our international headquarters in Americus, Ga., but we must warn you that while it will be enlightening, it might not be terribly exciting. It’s a small, simple building with no fancy offices or lobby adorned with ornate fixtures. In fact, you might ask, “Is this it?” Well, yes it is. However, if you go visit our local partners, you will find excitement as that’s where the action and real work of this ministry happens. Sorry, though, you still won’t find any fancy offices. None is interested in overhead.
Local partners also happen to know best how to tell their stories. I hope that you will take a look at a couple of new short videos below — one produced by our partners in Philadelphia and one produced by our partners in Louisville. Both are fighting blight and empowering families by resurrecting vacant properties. It’s just one area of focus for our ministry, but it is one that they feel best suits their communities’ specific challenges.
When you consider your year-end giving options this year, be sure to support grass-roots nonprofits who direct your generosity to where it is truly needed — in the mission field.
When we first caught up with Melissa and her family in November, they were among the dozens of families living in flimsy shacks on a muddy hillside in the Monseñor Romero slum community of Nuevo Cuscátlan, El Salvador. This year, thanks to Fuller Center for Housing supporters, 90 families are moving into safe and healthy new homes.
Melissa’s family was among the first to apply during the winter and among the first to move into their new home this summer. Dozens more have followed. With your help, we’ll not only complete this community this year, but we will repeat this wonderful success story in Ahuachapan, El Salvador.
Thanks to a generous gift from Dr. Richard Semmler, any donation you make in the waning days of August will be matched dollar for dollar up to $20,000. This will double your gift’s impact and allow us to help more families like Melissa’s in El Salvador, along with families fighting chagas in Bolivia, recovering from earthquake damage in Nepal and picking up the pieces after flooding in Louisiana. Your gift will go to where it can be best used to extend a hand-up to families in need, here in the U.S. and abroad.
Melissa’s mother expresses thanks
for her family’s new home: