This past Giving Tuesday, December 3rd, Habitat for Humanity Spokane hosted a very special event: their “Home for the Holidays” celebration. Four homes at the Hope Springs Development in Deer Park had recently been completed, and three of the four families had just finalized the paperwork to become official homeowners. So in addition to the annual home tours and blessings, three families received keys to their new homes just in time for the holidays. Along with celebrating the new homeowners, the event was a celebration of donors and volunteers, as noted on the event program: “Thanks for our volunteers and donors, more than 320, hardworking families will celebrate the holidays in a safe, decent and affordable home.” The event kicked off with speeches by Michelle Giradot, CEO, and Jenny McClenathen, Homeowners Services Coordinator. Both ladies noted the hard work put in by homeowners and volunteers to make these dreams a reality, and to help these families find secure, safe, and affordable homes. Their welcome and thank you presentations were followed by a blessing prayer presented by a local deacon.
Each of the families receiving their homes were given the opportunity to speak as well. Their speeches told the story of their dreams of homeownership and the hardships they went through along the way. One family had moved six times in recent years, which meant that the children had attended five different school districts. New homeowner Mayuko shared that, “Saying goodbye to their friends was always, always so hard. It was my dream to have a permanent address where my sons could grow up with the same neighbors and friends. Today our dream came true, thank you to Habitat for Humanity, all the sponsors and volunteers…and a special thank you to my sons who worked so hard in my absence to keep things on track at home.”
Gary spoke to how positive the experience was, “volunteers working together with other volunteers and the staff…from putting your hours in, to getting things done, to getting to work on your own house, it’s just all positive. All the neighbors, I’ll be your neighbor. I’m just thankful that there is a system like this where people can accomplish this.”
Speaking through a translator, Oumar announced that he and his family were celebrating more than just keys: “Thank God I have six children, and we are going to be having the 7th child tonight.” He also took time to thank Habitat for Humanity and the local community of Deer Park, “and in particular to everyone who participated in making this day become a reality and not just a figment of our imagination. Local community of Deer Park, starting this day we are a part of you and you are a part of us, we share love and respect between us. A special thanks to all who participated, persisted and contributed in this project.” Halima, also speaking through an interpreter, took the opportunity to share her thanks with volunteers, “especially all the ladies and gentlemen who worked with them in the [Habitat for Humanity] store. It was a great help that we cannot talk about enough, but we thank you very much. In the end the goal is to be all together as a family and to be together for our kids so that they would also be together in one community and school. Even though it is considered that we are buying a house it feels like a big gift from you to us.”
Martin, whose family had previously received the keys for their home, thanked home services coordinator, Jenny, for her hard work getting them through the process, and expressed gratitude to all the amazing people involved, noting that, “They treated me like family and I treated them like family too, and I wish that we continue work with Habitat. My family is very, very happy to be in their house. Thank you to everyone here for pushing us to the maximum and getting the work done.”
There are many opportunities to get involved through Habitat for Humanity to help local families realize their home buying dream. Habitat is always welcoming new donors, volunteers, and advocates. You can learn more by visiting their website at www.habitat-spokane.org.