Churches join forces, build homes - Catholic Courier

Churches join forces, build homes

St. Patrick’s Parish in Macedon, St. Anne’s Parish in Palmyra and St. Gregory’s Parish in Marion recently joined seven other local churches in celebrating the completion of a Habitat for Humanity house in Marion. A dedication ceremony was held Dec. 26, and the new home’s occupants moved in that same day, according to St. Patrick’s parishioner Carol Shusteric.

Members of the three Catholic parishes had been working with dozens of volunteers from area Lutheran, Quaker, United Methodist, Baptist, Presbyterian and Episcopal churches since the previous winter, Shusteric said, noting that the Marion house was the second dwelling the churches had jointly built through Habitat for Humanity of Wayne County.

“It’s really a nice thing because all the different churches in the area get together,” Shusteric said. “They’re kind of getting used to seeing each other … and they know that Habitat is the central thing.”

Volunteers donated their time and skills in a number of different ways, said Shusteric, who belongs to the committee in charge of raising funds for the house’s construction. Groups of people from the churches also formed construction, volunteer-recruitment and building-and-grounds committees, she said. Volunteers at the construction site did everything from plumbing, heating, carpentry and electrical work to providing snacks and meals for the other volunteers, so no time would be lost due to people leaving the site to get food.

Shusteric said she originally became involved with the effort after reading a blurb about it in the parish bulletin. She’d been looking for a way to volunteer and thought the Habitat project sounded like a good fit.

“I really like doing it, and I’ve also made a lot of friends. It’s a double incentive,” Shusteric said. While it was rewarding to watch the house progress from a bare piece of land to a finished home, it was equally rewarding to watch volunteers from different churches grow closer, she said. “I can’t even say how much it’s been an inspiration.”

Habitat for Humanity requires the person or family moving into the house to spend a certain number of hours working on their future home and other Habitat for Humanity projects, Shusteric said. Volunteers at the Marion house were able to meet and work alongside Jill Fritz and her two children, who eventually moved into the house.

“They were there every single day throughout the construction,” Shusteric said, noting that the family was also present for most of the fundraisers the churches held to raise money for the project.

Fundraisers included chicken barbecues, bike rides and progressive dinners, and occasionally the churches took up second collections in order to raise the $40,000 needed to build the house. Many local businesses have been very supportive, even donating lumber, windows, doors and plumbing fixtures, Shusteric added.

The churches began planning and fundraising for their first Habitat house in 2001. Now that the Marion house is completed, they will take a break from the intense fundraising they have been doing since then, Shusteric said. The fundraising committee will probably still plan and hold one or two fundraisers a year, this time putting the proceeds into the main coffers of Habitat for Humanity of Wayne County but not toward any specific projects.

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