By David Snell,
President, Fuller Center for Housing
I’ve reached that point in life where time seems to pass faster and faster, losing its steady pace in an ever-accelerating spiral. When I feel like it’s getting out of control, though, I just take a minute to look back and I’m always amazed at how much activity filled those fleeting days and weeks. Summer is the high building season for many of our covenant partners here in the States, and what a summer it was!
Things got off to an early start with April’s Millard Fuller Legacy Build in Louisville. Over a hundred volunteers spent a week rehabbing six houses there, a project that helped the Louisville team receive the Mayor’s Spirit of Louisville award just this month. These events are just like family reunions (except everyone pretty much likes each other and there aren’t any crazy uncles). We had a great time in Louisville.
In June we hosted the Toolie Build right here in Americus. To celebrate her 50th birthday, our friend and supporter Karen “Toolie” Warkentien raised the money and mobilized the volunteers to build a house with the Battle family. Being on the hosting side of the event took Sheilla and me back to our earliest Habitat days, when we cut our teeth putting together the Jimmy Carter Work Projects. It’s a lot of work!
The summer Bicycle Adventure took off from Atlantic City in June for their 3,600-mile jaunt across the country. Their fundraising goal was to cross the million dollar mark and they made it! We joined up with them on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, my old stomping grounds, and got to share in the spirit that makes this so much more than a cross-country bicycle ride, as if that weren’t enough — a great group of dedicated souls spreading the word about our work all across the country, and having a good time doing it.
While all of this was going on, work proceeded all across the country and around the world. The folks in the Chattahoochee Valley completed houses 32 and 33 and in Shreveport they completed their 51st. Meanwhile in Armenia they crossed the three hundred mark — over three hundred families decently housed there since they joined The Fuller Center 5½ years ago — amazing. We sent Global Builders teams to Peru, Haiti and Armenia and brought everyone home safe and sound.
We ended the summer with the Jackson Street of Dreams build in Gary, Indiana. Volunteers worked on one new house and two rehabs on the street where the Jackson family grew up (they tell me that the street is actually named for Andrew). We were part of the annual birthday celebration for Michael, so it was an event-filled week!
Now the seasons are changing, but the work goes on. I’m packing for a trip next week to Haiti where I’ll celebrate the completion of the 56-house Lambi Village and I’ll visit the Croix-des-Bouquets site where another 70 houses have been built. These are part of The Fuller Center’s commitment to help restore Haiti after the tragic 2010 earthquake. Hundreds of volunteers and thousands of dollars have gone into this and while the need there remains great the families we’ve served now have decent houses to turn into homes.
There’s so much more to tell — from Waukegan to Kathmandu, Idaho to Nigeria, and all points in between The Fuller Center is hard at work. These projects are outstanding examples of what can happen when people of good will put their faith into action and reach out to help those in need. This is making a difference on a grand scale. Thanks to all whose gifts of time and resources have made a new life possible for families in need of a little help.