A message from Habitat Heartland Ontario Volunteer Manager Kendra Forrest, as published in LAVA April 2021 newsletter:
Volunteers are Habitat for Humanity Heartland Ontario’s greatest resource. Habitat has a strong workforce of volunteers who donated more than 37,000 hours last year. Their time was spent in the ReStore, on the construction site, in the office, volunteering from home, and working on a committee– Helping us navigate through the uncertainty, the obstacles, the changing rules and varying guidelines. Through their collective efforts, we were able to build homes for 8 families in 2020.
More than ever, we are seeing how important it is to have a safe place to call home. For those of us blessed with a secure roof over our heads, weathering this pandemic may seem like an inconvenience. But for far too many in our community – those who live in unaffordable, unsafe, or overcrowded conditions – staying home to stay safe is not possible.
Our Volunteers come from all different walks of life; from students to retirees, from professionals to those that lost their jobs during the pandemic and needed to stay active. We have had long-time volunteers mentoring brand new volunteers – inspired by the lock down to give back what they could, and more conscious of the value of their time. To our volunteers who were able to support Habitat for Humanity Heartland Ontario in 2020, our most heartfelt THANK YOU. To all our volunteers that we have not been able to see since the COVID-19 outbreak began- we miss you, and we cannot wait to welcome you back when you are ready.
On behalf of all of us here at Habitat for Humanity Heartland Ontario we would like to thank the community for their contributions and for helping building strength, stability, and self-reliance through shelter.
“The Value of One, The Power of Many to Build Community “, from Habitat Heartland Ontario Brant-Norfolk Chapter Volunteer Coordinator Renee VanderHarst, as published in BScene magazine April 2021 issue:
My personal mantra is “Where you live isn’t your community unless you do something to make it a better place.” That’s what volunteers do – generously give their time, talent, and experience in order to help others and improve our community. While there are many different volunteer motivations volunteer managers often hear, “It’s the right thing to do”, “I wanted to give back”, or “I might not have much – but I am fortunate to have more than some, and I have time.”
Across Canada April 18th to 24th marks National Volunteer Week in 2021. It’s the week where most organizations simultaneously shine a spotlight on the amazing individuals that make our work possible. Volunteers are the driving force both on the front lines, and behind the scenes. Many hands make for light work and they take our vision and make it a reality.
At Habitat for Humanity Heartland Ontario, we believe everyone deserves a safe, decent, affordable place to call home. A Habitat home is a stabilizing force for a family. Better, affordable living conditions lead to improved health, stronger childhood development and the ability — and financial flexibility — to make forward-looking choices. During this pandemic, as we are being instructed to stay home, imagine what this past year has been like for those struggling with overpriced, overcrowded, inadequate, unsafe and / or unhealthy living conditions.
Despite everything we experienced in 2020 – the uncertainty, the obstacles, the changing rules and varying guidelines, Habitat for Humanity Heartland Ontario saw a total of 675 unique volunteers contribute more than 36,500 hours. Of them, 191 volunteers and 13,400 hours were local to the Brant-Norfolk chapter. That time was spent in the ReStore, on the construction site, in the office, volunteering from home, working at the committee or board level – helping us navigate these unprecedented times.
To each and every one of you who were able to support Habitat for Humanity Heartland Ontario in 2020, our most heartfelt THANK YOU. We had help from individuals from all different walks of life; from students to retirees, from professionals to those that lost their jobs during the pandemic and needed to stay active. We had long-time volunteers mentoring brand new volunteers – inspired by the lock down to give back what they could, and more conscious of the value of their time. You, the volunteers, were able to support staff at a time when we were stretched thin, but we had to persevere for the sake of our Future Homeowners.
To all our volunteers that we have not been able to see since the covid-19 outbreak began… we miss you, and we cannot wait to welcome you back when you are ready. Even if you are unable to leave your home, please continue advocating for us and our families. Support the ReStore by shopping on-line and donating. Tell your family, friends and neighbors to do the same – perhaps you will motivate them to start volunteering!
The National Volunteer Week theme for 2021 is, “The Value of One, The Power of Many”. Shared by Volunteer Canada, it reflects on the awe-inspiring acts of kindness by millions of individuals and the magic that happens when we work together toward a common purpose. As a nation this past year, we have seen people supporting family, friends, neighbours, and strangers. We’ve witnessed people standing up to racism, defending women’s rights, and sharing insights on how to create a more just and equitable society. We recognize the power of people, organizations, and sectors working together. (volunteer.ca to learn more)
On a final note, please thank a volunteer… I realize they don’t give their time for the praise, but they do deserve our recognition all 52 weeks of the year. Thank every volunteer you come across in the community. Thank them and be inspired by them. Find a way, find an organization, where you can give back – make where you live your community. If for you Habitat for Humanity is that place, get in touch – we would love to chat with you.