All-female Habitat for Humanity crew on record pace to finish home

Thursday, April 3, 2008

INDIANTOWN — They came wearing pastel pink shirts to a barren lot that became their canvas.
The all-female volunteers from Women Build of Martin County have dedicated the past three months to building a Habitat for Humanity house in this rural community, and they are on pace to set a record for the fastest home completed by Habitat's local chapter.

An international chapter of Habitat for Humanity, Women Build of Martin County is a not-for-profit organization that encourages local women to make a difference by building Habitat homes. Martin County's Habitat chapter adopted the Women Build program last year to acknowledge its women volunteers.

Now, Women Build is putting the final touches on its first house built in Martin County.

"Women make up the larger Habitat for Humanity volunteer force," said Ebonie Reid, Habitat for Humanity's project coordinator.

Reid and a friend wanted to showcase this aspect of Habitat homebuilding and decided to throw a luncheon to see what kind of response they would get from the community. "Things just took off, money started rolling in, and we got publicity and advertising," Reid said.

To date, Reid has recruited more than 200 women from Martin County to take part in the Women Build project. Many are repeat volunteers.
"The women have been tremendous. They attended two Lowe's training classes - basic hand tools and power tools - and have learned from there," said Ron Morrow, Habitat for Humanity's project manager.

Because the Indiantown home is the first Women Build house in Martin County, Habitat officials thought construction would take six to eight months. The crew broke ground the first weekend in January and will be done earlier than expected, with a completion and dedication slated for May 6.

Women Build will be completely finished with their Habitat home in five months, which Reid said would be a record for the Martin County Habitat program.

"We work four-hour increments, three days a week," said Reid, "and to be almost finished - that is a record."

Wet paint roller in hand, Martin County resident Nancy Fordhas worked on the Women Build project since January.

"I like helping people," Ford said." The fact that women are building this house is my inspiration to come out and volunteer."

Reid sees a lot of commitment from the women.

"This whole experience has been fabulous," Reid said. "We have 15 to 25 women working at a time, and most of them are 45 years of age and older, and they're up on the roof laying tiles. Their enthusiasm is great."
With community support and the dedication of volunteers, Reid said she sees a bright future ahead for Women Build in Martin County.

"Support has made it possible - we're ready to do this again next year, we're thrilled," Reid said.

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