Habitat for Humanity volunteers provide landscaping for Lansing
2020 was a slow year for Habitat for Humanity. Getting the usual work done – building houses, renovating houses, landscaping – seemed unsafe as a pandemic spread across the world. Now that more people are being vaccinated, Habitat for Humanity is taking on more projects and slowly returning to what was before.
“There has been a bit of reluctance in the face of COVID,” said Vickie Hamilton-Allen, CEO of Habitat for Humanity Capital Region. “We managed everything very carefully. We make sure our volunteers are safe. “
On April 29, the organization partnered with Home Depot to provide free landscaping for Iraqi refugees and residents of Lansing, Fatima and Salah. Salah is a new homeowner and single mother.
The volunteers limited themselves to outside work so they could continue to follow proper COVID safety precautions.
“Our local Home Depot has decided to support our work. They support many of our projects, ”said Hamilton-Allen. “The landscaping in Salah’s house was hard work. They had to hand shovel and level the soil, start sowing and get everything ready. “
Angie Knudstrup, merchandising assistant and volunteer coordinator at Home Depot, thought this trip was a success. She said it felt good to get back to work after a long dry spell. She said members of Team Depot – the business’s volunteer fleet – had spent the whole pandemic asking when they could get back to work.
When a nonprofit works with Team Depot, it applies for a grant through the Home Depot Foundation. When they receive the grant, the business will hand out an enrollment form asking the volunteers to work on the project.
“Anyone who wants to volunteer, even if they don’t have any special skills, is great,” said Knudstrup. “Especially when we work with Habitat, they help us and show us exactly what to do. Anyone who works at Home Depot can participate. “
Knudstrup said Home Depot is in contact with Habitat for Humanity and is excited about their next venture.
With all of these projects on the horizon, Habitat for Humanity will need an influx of volunteers. The organization lost a lot in the past year. Hamilton-Allen doesn’t like to turn down projects, so she hopes that once the fear of COVID subsides, volunteers will drift back.
“We need practical people now because we really lack that,” said Hamilton-Allen. “We also need people with specialist knowledge. Engineers, interior designers, landscapers, architects. Even if you don’t have the time to be on site, you can still help us as consultants. “
She values companies like Home Depot because they help with supplies and provide construction professionals. With timber prices soaring, Habitat for Humanity needs all the help it can get.
Home stay orders are also complicated as some homeowners have homes in need of repair. Some need help getting the lights on and the water running. The ability to stay at home is a privilege not all people have access to.
“We have people stuck in these houses. And we’re seeing an increase in requests for help, ”said Hamilton-Allen. “I would like to be able to bring this back into the conversation. We must be careful. When homes deteriorate, there are long-term consequences. “