HELPING HANDS - Volunteers enjoy assisting with a build for Habitat for Humanity in Lacombe. The organzation is asking for more local residents to support the cause.

HELPING HANDS - Volunteers enjoy assisting with a build for Habitat for Humanity in Lacombe. The organzation is asking for more local residents to support the cause.

Lacombians encouraged to volunteer with Habitat for Humanity

City gets first build for low income housing project

Habitat for Humanity is currently seeking Lacombe-local volunteers to help with the completion of two duplexes from nowuntil June.

The agency has approximately 300 shifts to fill from the last week of March until approximately June 17th. No experience isnecessary and the cause is worthy.

“Only about one third of our volunteers on these sites are from Lacombe. We’re really trying to get more Lacombiansinvolved because we are in this City, making a difference in this community,” said Megan Oshust of Habitat for Humanity.

“We’re looking for individuals or groups as well. Groups are help six and 10 volunteers.

“It’s a huge need for volunteers,” she said.

This is the first project organized by Habitat for Humanity in Lacombe. The branch in charge of the build is located centrallyin Red Deer, but covers the surrounding region. Oshust said so far the experience in Lacombe has gone very well.

She explained Habitat for Humanity sends out proposals to various communities, Lacombe had responded and eventuallythis project was designed. Ground broke on the site in August 2015, with the first round of volunteers putting their hours inlast October.

“We hope to do more work here for sure because it’s been a great experience. A lot of our volunteers are from the area, butwe’d like to get a few more from Lacombe here,” Oshust said.

So far, there have been approximately 125 volunteers who have put time forward on this site.

Guy Barnabe is one such volunteer, and he has worked with Habitat for Humanity on 25 homes since 2002.

“What motivates me is the people that receive the houses,” he said, commenting on his lengthy interest in the organization.

“You see them getting their keys and a place to call their home and that really drives me. Plus, I enjoy the carpentry. It’s notthe only thing I work on here, though I’ve learned a lot from working with these projects.”

Barnabe said since 2002, he has helped with all aspects of the home build, from framing floors and walls, to windowinstallation, to drywall and more.

“Sometimes, it’s fun now to give the directions when people ask me what to do. I also like seeing how the other volunteerslearn to enjoy the work they’re doing, which is usually something they’d never touch in the jobs that they’ve got. It’s a newexperience for them,” he said.

“It’s very rewarding just try it and see. There’s no pressure. You’re given jobs that you can handle. The reward you feelafter and the people you meet are also a big part of this.”

Barnabe has helped on projects all around Central Alberta and said he continues to do so because of the core of the project the people.

Habitat for Humanity creates affordable housing for families in need. According to the organization’s web site, families arechosen based on their level of need, willingness to participate and their ability to pay the interest free mortgage.

Habitat for Humanity builds rely on simple but functional home designs, use of donated materials and hundreds ofvolunteer hours.

“We don’t require any experience on a construction site. We have a great manager and team leads who will showinexperienced volunteers how to get involved. Anyone can be a part of it,” Oshust said.

“We’re looking to fill shifts Monday to Friday. They have to be full day shifts, from 9-4:30 p.m. Those are the only realrequirements we have.”

She said people can register as an individual, or as part of a team with a minimum of three to a maximum of 10 people.

Some volunteers have done this a time or two before, but each year new volunteers like Marcel Michaud join the team.

“I ran into a friend in town about a month or so ago and he asked what I’d been up to lately. I hadn’t been up to much, andhe told me to check out Habitat for Humanity because they were building a couple of houses here. I’d done a little bit ofconstruction work before so I figured I could help,” Michaud said.

“I’m kind of a social person, I enjoy working with people and different people. It’s also a good cause, so it’s fun I think. Allof the people here are good people so it’s a good working environment.”

He said the first day he showed up on site he remembered seeing a group of women hauling drywall between the sites. Hementioned this to show that it didn’t matter a person’s size or experience levels, they were of help to Habitat for Humanity.

“There’s no qualifications and you don’t need to have experience,” he said.

“There are all kinds of people who come to help out. I’ve been trying to get a few of my old work friends to join, too.”

To register as a volunteer, contact Oshust with Habitat at 403-309-6080 ext. 2 or via email atmegan.oshust@habitatreddeer.ca. Individuals and teams are encouraged to take part.

kmendonsa@lacombeexpress.com