The Housing Program is not feasible without the help of countless volunteers who donate their time and talents to move renovations a little closer to completion. Many people ask us, “what parts of the construction process are available to volunteers?” It is much easier to list the parts that are not: electrical, plumbing and HVAC. These three subcontractors will guarantee their work and satisfy building code requirements. Christian contractors will also reduce their normal prices to help us.
Volunteers come from every denomination and from businesses in the community. They have come from as far away as Oklahoma and Pennsylvania. Volunteers sometimes help with non-residential projects like building a fence at the Common Ground building but the vast majority of projects are on houses in Washington Park. We separate the Volunteer Program from the Housing Program because volunteers are such a special responsibility. It would be difficult to sustain interest in volunteering, especially among the same churches and groups, if we failed to leave them with a positive experience. This experience must be planned and delivered for each group so that we avoid injuries, confrontations, idleness, improper construction and all the other things that can take away from a great experience.
The most important thing, however, is that the volunteer come away with a closer walk with Christ. Many simply receive the joy of helping their neighbor and showing Christ to them. Some bring misconceptions of their role or of the dignity of the neighbors we serve. We work very hard to speak truth in love on the need for mutual indebtedness and our common need for a Savior. We encourage the neighbors we serve to work with the volunteers and share their testimonies.
It is common to host a group of 10-20 people on Saturday morning. We provide all the materials, tools, safety equipment, and safety training during any work day. It is not necessary to have any construction experience before coming. We ask that each group bring their own water and that they wear practical shoes and clothing. We're asking groups to consider a tax deductible $5-$10 donation per person for work days. This is an optional gift and won't keep you from coming to serve. It helps us provide supplies for groups like yours as needed throughout the year. Children are welcome to join us when they are accompanied by their parent or guardian. We encourage groups to come for a week at a time. House to House offers safe, comfortable lodging in the neighborhood for an additional fee.
Many groups have taken the seeds of this incarnational ministry back to their cities and planted them in under-resourced neighborhoods.