Habitat for Humanity project: Proof that it takes a village
Faith and Culture:
“Any religion that professes to be concerned with the souls of men and is not concerned with the slums that damn them, the economic conditions that strangle them and the social conditions that cripple them, is a dry-as-dust religion.” - Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
The impressive result of several years of diligent resolve and effort by numerous people and organizations in Airdrie was on display last week when a beautiful duplex in Bayside was officially opened by Habitat for Humanity.
It was truly a day for celebration among those of us who have been involved with this initiative from the very beginning. There is little that brings more joy to my life than the smiles of happiness and contentment so evident on the faces of Daniela and her three children as well as Cory and her two kids as we toured their new homes.
The vision for what is now a gorgeous residence in southwest Airdrie was supplied by longtime Airdronian, Linda Ray, who walked into my office one day years ago and asked me a leading question along the lines of “why should anyone in our community not have what you and I have – a home they can call their own?” Out of that initial discussion and under the direction of Linda’s relentless conviction, a group called Airdrie Faith Build was formed and an initial fundraiser was held. Habitat for Humanity was approached for its support and in early October of 2007 a turkey-dinner was held at our church to kick-off our dream.
Drawing on their contacts in Airdrie’s business and political community, Laurence and Linda became passionate advocates for the project through such initiatives as the annual Diamonds ‘n Denim fundraisers. In association with our friends at Scotiabank, Airdrie Faith Build was able to ultimately raise over $100,000 for the project and successfully communicate the vision to other sponsoring agencies such as Genesis Land Development, Bayer Crop Science, Dow Agro Sciences, Syngenta, Canadian Merchants Savings Directory (Airdrie branch), ATB Financial, TD Canada Trust, RBC Foundation, and others.
Although it may seem trite to say “thank you” to those responsible in all the different agencies that cooperated, please know that your generosity is duly noted and deeply appreciated. Think group-hug here for it truly does take a village to accomplish such a feat!
Yet even as we acknowledge and rightly celebrate this significant accomplishment, as a recent visit to some initiatives I’m involved with in the Lower East 9th in New Orleans reminded me seven years after Katrina, there are “miles to go before we sleep.” (Indeed, even as I write today I am anxiously keeping my eye on Hurricane Isaac as it churns northward in the Gulf). The needs of our world’s marginalized and disenfranchised remain a reality of everyday life that we must regularly address for, as Jesus advised us, loving our neighbour is the primary means by which we demonstrate our love for God.
Accordingly, as I personally applaud residents of Airdrie like Laurence and Linda Ray, the numerous business entities in our city that have compassionately stepped-up and the scores of individual volunteers who helped out on Habitat for Humanity’s first initiative in our community, I appreciatively and eagerly encourage us all with “Let’s do it again!”
Tim Callaway is pastor of Faith Community Baptist Church in Airdrie. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org