I did this some years ago. Since these things are locally run my
experience may not help you much. This was an enjoyable thing to do. I
installed vinyl siding mostly. Not a bad way to meet women surprisingly
Do not bring your own tools they will walk off.
I had a friend who wanted to volunteer. When she called, the first thing
they asked is what church or organization she belonged to. Seemed they did
not know quite what to do with an individual. They recommended any number
of groups to join but joining one group to participate in another wasn't
going to work for her.
I don't know if that is a common experience or if things have changed in the
last few years. It probably depends a lot on where you live and how well
organized the local group is.
I don't belong to any church or organization either, but I was there
at the invitation of a friend. He doesn't belong to any church or
organization either, but he does furniture making for a living.
I was there I think 1 1/2 days. .
I brought tools, but only took 1 from my car at any given time.
At one point they showed someone through the house and someone said
she was the prospective owner. I didnt do the job for thanks, but
since she was right there, I think she could have managed to say
something to us. (like "Thanks"). But I told myself she had her
reasons and in fact, that was not the reason I later stopped.
It was very hot but my friend wanted me to wear at least a t-shirt.
At home from May to October, I never wear a shirt when I'm working.,
He said it's not professional to not wear a shirt. I said, I'm not a
professional. I left an hour or two early. I hadn't decided about
the next day until t-shirts became an issue. I decided I was
embarrassing him, and if I weren't there at all, I wouldn't.
But the time I was there was worthwhile. I did a bit and I learned a
They keep writing me for money. Once I wrote back that I will give
my work, my money, or my stuff, but generally no more than one of
these to any one organization. That they only got my attention
because they didn't want money, only my work. But I think they are
still writing me.
If I had it to do again, I don't think I would give them my real
address. Maybe not even my real name, although that might be a
problem if I met any girls. (although a reasonable girl ought to
accept the truth as a decent reason.).. I wasn't doing it for thanks,
so why do they need to know who I am or where I live.
Remove NOPSAM to email me. Please let
me know if you have posted also.
East Cooper Habitat for Humanity of Mt. Pleasant SC, Sea Island Habitat
for Humanity of Johns Island SC, Charleston Habitat for Humanity of
Charleston SC would welcome you. Work is not hard and folks are
friendly. East Cooper and Sea Island have marvelous construction
coordinators. There's a lot of grunt work and no seminars. One learns
by doing. Very satisfying way to spend a day.
Have built five houses for HHH, all were fun. Framing day is the best
but it is all satisfying.
Just got back (Sunday)from Biloxi where I spent a week rebuilding a
Katrina damaged house for a 82 year old widow. Enjoyed that too.
I helped on several houses a few years back. In my case, the houses
were sponsored by the company where I worked at the time, and most of
the workers were employees and friends, s/o's, thereof. There were
all levels of experience, from folks who had literally never pounded a
nail, to others with lots of expertise. The Habitat organization also
brought in very experienced people from time to time to advise on
tricky areas. As a long time DIYer I've done most everything, and so
often found myself in charge of a group of enthusiastic newbies.
There's plenty of work for folks of all skill levels, and you can't
help but learn a lot. The people were great, and I had a ball. I'd
do it again in a second, given the opportunity.
I filled my truck with tools and the like, because stuff was always in
short supply, but I never had a problem with it walking, although I
didn't leave any of it at the site. But all you really need are good
work boots, gloves, and energy. Be prepared to be more tired at the
end of the day than you have ever been!
A lot of the projects are sponsored by church groups, but they don't
bite much... :-)
I did a volunteer gig for HFH recently. Since I'm in the trades, I got
tasked with hanging interior doors. This gent came walking in in dressy (as
opposed to work) clothes. He proceeded to tell me how to hang the doors. I
stood there and looked at him. I even offered him the pneumatic trim gun I
was using. He wouldn't take the gun, but kept telling me how to hang the
door I was working on. I finally asked who he was. He was just an idiot
off the street that thought he'd come in and help by telling us what to do.
He wanted to supervise, not work like we were. I found the jobsite manager
and instructed him that I was leaving.
The 'gent' was escorted off the jobsite.
He had never even heard of shims. I guess he learned off the television.
Next time you run into a shmexpert like that: "Please - you're gonna make me
violate my parole. I'm not supposed to speak to ANYONE unless there are
police officers present to keep an eye on things".
My brother in law did this. He found it really great and quite
rewarding. He served for two years and wound up being hired by HFH for
another two. He learned an lot and now he has his own renovation
business. He's doing quite well. In fact at the moment he's skiing in
I put in a few years with HFH in Raleigh NC. Great experience, good
people to work with -- got to do everything from foundations upwards.
My wife and I both did it, and it was a lot of fun, learned a lot, and
nice to meet all kinds of people and make friends with them. In
Raleigh, they do whole subdivisions at a time. Other places they might
do one or two houses, or renovations, etc.
Your milage may vary in other areas, of course. The poster that
commented about "which church do you belong to" is in an area (like
some areas) where the habitat group works exclusively or primarily with
organized groups, rather than individuals. Instead of trying to pull
together people one by one (and never knowing if anyone is going to
show up or not), they schedule groups to come and work. Just depends on
the area. I think they do that here in Ithaca -- they'd never get
enough random individuals on any given day, so they schedule groups
(churches, college groups, hs school kids, etc) to come out, but only
on particular weekends.
If you are in such an area, you can probably just explain you are an
individual that wants to join in, and they can just tell you where the
next group will be going, and you can join in.
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