In celebration of National Women Build Week, area Lowe’s employees are joining Habitat for Humanity of Lake-Sumter on their current building project in Wildwood.
Lowe’s helped launch National Women Build Week in 2008 to empower women to advocate for affordable housing.
“Quite often, but not always, our homeowners are single mothers,” said Danielle Stroud, director of development for Habitat for Humanity of Lake-Sumter. Stroud welcomed the opportunity to rally and support National Women Build Week by working on the job site, a departure from her regular duties.
Shawnda Davis, whose husband is on the board for Habitat, was trying her hand at building for the first time.
“I came out in support of Women’s Build Week,” said Davis.
Not new to Habitat is Martha Cole, she has worked on more than 1,000 homes in her 26 years as a volunteer. She and her husband moved to the Village of Woodbury in January and she now volunteers in this area a couple of days a week. She found out about Habitat when a representative spoke at her church. She and her husband decided they would like to get involved once he retired. The same speaker appeared at her church a year later. “I really liked the message of helping needy families getting a home,” said Cole, “and then I thought ‘Why I am I waiting for my husband to retire?’, so I got started.” Cole, 77, said she feels proud and blessed to have the health to do this kind of work. She likes it all framing, siding, roofing and flooring.
Another reason Cole likes the Habitat projects is because it is not just charity.
“The families pay for these homes. They get interest free loans which helps, but they are responsible for paying for their home. Also, each family participates in the building of the home, by putting in 200 hours of ‘sweat equity.’ Habitat doesn’t just build them the home and then walkaway. They stay with these families offering budget counseling and instruction on home maintenance,” said Cole.
Melissa Stampfi, a Lowe’s employee, was volunteering on her day off.
She enjoys participating in all of Lowe’s community events. This one appealed to Stampfi because she liked the idea of “building something for someone in need.”
A family has been selected for the home in Wildwood and the projected is slated to be competed in December.