Building Community Blog

Coalition empowers volunteers and impacts families

By Anne Meyers-Welsch
Faith Relations Assistant

The new Habitat home at 512 Van Buren in St. Paul marks the 20th complete home that Holy Hammers, an ecumenical coalition of 14 local churches, has fully built. Holy Hammers has partnered with Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity since 1999, providing funding and volunteers to help build homes for low-income families.  In addition to these full twenty homes, the coalition has also provided partial support for eight other homes.  

When Susan donated her beautiful white kitchen to the ReStore, she wasn't sure what to expect.

"We heard about ReStore from my sister who had stopped in and found it to be an excellent value on building materials and raved about it," Susan shared. "We had a couple different options, try to sell ourselves, or donate. Our timeframe on our remodel was escalated and very limited—although we had never donated to the ReStore before, this was actually the better route to go as the proceeds go to an excellent cause!"

The housing market collapse, and Great Recession that followed it, did not hit the Twin Cities with uniform force. Neighborhoods with historically low property values and low median incomes got the worst of it. That includes the diverse neighborhood of Frogtown that runs along the north side of I-94 in St. Paul. This is a community that Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity has a long and strong relationship with.

Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity (TCHFH) recently partnered with Minnesota 4H for an afternoon of service learning activities. Around 300 youth attended the 4H YELLO! Conference at the state fairgrounds from June 10th – June 13th. YELLO stands for Youth Exploring Leadership and Learning Outloud and is the annual conference for 4H students in Minnesota and the surrounding regions. The students listen to a number of motivational speakers, participate in hands-on activities, and complete a service-learning project. This is where Habitat stepped in!

Over the past year I have visited and worked on several Habitat for Humanity build sites. You can always find good hearted volunteers, interesting characters, good old fashion hard work, and of course about a dozen or so cookies floating around. It is usually easy to find some connection or similar interest with another volunteer and the day is spent building relationships as much as it is spent building a house.

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