It was a damp and dreary Sunday. The sky threatened to rain, but an intrepid band of volunteers still met to donate their time to help two families build their new house. This is the story of Riverbend at Habitat for Humanity’s Women Build Week 2017.
Pioneer Valley Habitat for Humanity is an organization that brings affordable home ownership to low-income families in Hampshire and Franklin Counties. People from all walks of life and experience gather together to help build someone’s dream. Women Build Week is special because it is a week when Habitat teams all over the country are comprised primarily of women – as was the Riverbend team of Ann, Sharon, Melinda, Sam, Erin, and our one guy, Dr. Thomson. We were joined by two of the future homeowners Trina and Terence, Cosinga (UMass student and Habitat for Humanity intern), and MJ, our leader for the day. Our mission was to build two sheds for the dual-family house in Amherst.
We started by signing in and donning our t-shirts and tool belts. After an orientation, we started building. Sometimes following the plans was like reading hieroglyphics, but soon we were in the flow of measuring, cutting, and pounding nails. Some of those power tools were intimidating, but we were taught well, we persevered, and we ended up loving working with them. Sounds of saws and hammers filled the air, and behold, two sturdy sheds started coming together.
Cutting trusses for the angled roof was especially tough, but Dr. Thomson, with his surgical precision, made short work of those angles. And together, we had a frame, back, and roof on our new structures.
Working together that day brought us a powerful sense of teamwork and purpose. To create something out of raw materials that will help other families was inspiring. It was a day we will all remember. And we look forward to doing it again!