Convergence & Habitat for Humanity Build-A-Thon 2011!

April 20, 2011 by  
Filed under Pulse

Volunteers move a completed wall frame towards the home it'll provide structure for.

Over the past half year or so, we’ve been a monthly presence at Habitat for Humanity’s site in East Oakland, named Kinsell Commons.  This past weekend, we were able to participate in our first Build-A-Thon as a church, which was a 4-day event to “blitz-frame” a brand new development from foundation to walls.  It’s a highly coordinated and important event that not only makes significant progress on the new home sites, but also raises funds and awareness for Habitat for Humanity East Bay.

Through the donation of our church family and friends, we were able to sponsor 3 of our congregants to participate in the Build-A-Thon on Saturday, April 16th.

Craig shows off his newly learned skill set.

For Craig, who had been in the midst of a busy season for work, it was a great time to get out an enjoy the outdoors – a stark contrast from the desk and computer screen he’d been chained to the past few months.  He particularly enjoyed even the sounds of something different.  “I had earplugs in the whole day, and at one point I took them out.  It was cool just to hear all the sounds of the construction site, from saws to hammers, as well as people coordinating to move pieces into position.  It was a great picture of the totality of what was going on that day.”

Ted didn't let his muscle go to waste.

Ted has been one of the most steady volunteers for our presence at Habitat each month.  He was particularly struck by how many first timers or inexperienced people there were on the site, and how despite this, people were willing to learn and work.  “It was just pretty cool because at the beginning of the day, we were just sitting on a foundation with hard hats and hammers in hand, and by the end of the day there were walls and stairs.”  Ted mentioned that while he started the day barely being able to hammer a nail straight, at the end he was able to hammer a nail whether it was above his head or below him on the ground, and from every angle in-between.

David cheerfully nails together a frame

David is our coordinator for our volunteer efforts with Habitat.  Besides sending out information about the events, he recruits and organizes people every month to participate.  For him, the defining moments of the day came when he would meet volunteers who have been regulars with Habitat, some upwards of 10-20 years.  Veterans who have been on the umpteenth Build-A-Thon.  “It’s just good to know there is a consistent community serving Oakland even when we’re not there,” he said.  Habitat actually waived a fundraising requirement that allowed David to serve an additional day (Tuesday 4/19) at the Build-A-Thon!

Volunteers & Helpers couldn't be more joyful at 6:45am! (From L to R: Craig, Ted, David, Jeff, & Kevin)

In addition to our 3 fundraising Build-A-Thoners, Jeff and Kevin also showed up as day-of helpers, assisting in the coat/bag checks, hospitality, and first-aid capacities.

We serve monthly at Habitat for Humanity East Bay and hope that you can get involved in the future.  If you want to receive information about this, please contact our Habitat for Humanity Coordinator, David L. at david@convergeoakland.org.