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Article Archive >> Community

Building Homes, Rebuilding Lives: First Data Sponsors Habitat Home

Building Homes, Rebuilding Lives
First Data Sponsors Habitat Home
by William L. Bulla

Sometimes it's a little overwhelming to think about Habitat for Humanity's mission of totally eliminating substandard housing in the state of Maryland. They are not there yet, but they are making progress! Since the first affiliate was founded in the state in 1982, Habitat has worked in partnership with 700 homeowners. That represents nearly 2,000 people...both adult and children! They have been able to move out of substandard housing into safe, secure, affordable homes.
But, building homes requires sponsorship for each project! This is achieved in several ways...group sponsorship as has been done by churches, lending institutions, and other groups joining together; by individuals, as supported by John and Teresa Barr; and most recently by a corporate sponsor, First Data Merchant Services.
A grant from First Data Western Union Foundation sponsored one of the recent Blitz Build houses to the sum of $65,000. It is the largest corporate sponsorship received to date by the Habitat for Humanity of Washington County. In addition to this generous contribution, nearly 200 First Data Merchant Services' employees volunteered to work on the house their company was sponsoring. The house was under roof, covered with vinyl siding, doors and windows were installed, rough electrical work, plumbing and heating installed, and wallboard hung on the interior during the Blitz. Many of these volunteers will continue to donate hours to complete the interior of the home.
"First Data is proud to sponsor this most recent project with Habitat for
Humanity. Our associates enjoyed the opportunity to contribute in a meaningful way to the growth of our community and to help a fellow resident." said Kelley Everetts, Senior Vice President and Site Manager at First Data, Hagerstown. For more information on the First Data Western Union Foundation, one may contact Diane Baker at 301-766-5792.
Being involved with Habitat is a life-changing experience for many people. As I visited the job site during this build, I observed the workers and overheard many comments. The first-time volunteers, working alongside those with many hours on Habitat builds, were caught up in the excitement of the event and the dedication of those veterans.
And that is true of the volunteers working on all the Habitat homes. Many are unskilled, but they work with, and learn from, the skilled volunteers who are dedicated to helping with Habitat's construction projects. Some volunteers find that they are not destined to be builders, so they volunteer in many other ways. Habitat needs volunteers to help with the office work. You can be volunteer coordinators or write letters, articles and grants. Whatever one's interests or abilities may be, Habitat needs you!
As I said earlier in this article, homes require sponsors. It takes money to build them. If you, or your company, are interested in becoming a sponsor, or in helping to sponsor a home, please call Sherry Brown Cooper, Executive Director of Habitat for Humanity of Washington County at 301-791-9009.

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