By Marianne Lynch, Executive Director
Last week, our affiliate had a visit from Mark, a representative of Habitat for Humanity International. Mark helps us achieve the goals we’ve set through the Capacity Building grant we received a few months ago through HUD and Habitat International. He helps our organization become the best that it can be - he has our back so that we can make as much impact as possible.
While here, Mark shared with us that in his almost 40 years with Habitat, he has visited more than 500 affiliates. In his visits, he has seen some remarkable things, like the time the Tulsa, Oklahoma Habitat gave one million dollars to the Joplin, Missouri affiliate in the wake of a devastating tornado that destroyed almost half the town five years ago. Because of Tulsa’s generosity, Joplin was able to start its first 10 homes on the way to building 85 more for their hurting community. Joplin then paid it forward to another affiliate beset by disaster in its community a few years later.
This story sat with me all weekend - so the first thing I did Monday morning was to reach out to my counterpart, the Habitat Executive Director, in Baton Rouge. I know that Lynn is overwhelmed right now, but I also want her to know that her Habitat family has her back if she needs us, just as Tulsa did with Joplin. We will mobilize volunteers, send supplies, and send funding all at a moment’s notice. (Information on how to help can be found below.) No matter how far apart we are, we still have each other’s back - working together to build stronger communities.
As Rock the Block (RTB) in Norristown approaches (September 17th), I like the idea of having someone’s back to improve the community. I believe this to be the theme of the third year’s RTB in Norristown. Our first and second years, we held this event on Cherry Street, helping to improve the park and doing a few repairs for the residents there; but, as the event has grown, so has its scope.
This year, Habitat volunteers and community members are helping at the Carver Center, the Library, the Christian Network Outreach United Church of Christ, PAL, the Municipality, the OIC, and more. It has become an event to “have each other’s backs.” These organizations need a little help with some of the physical chores in and around their facilities, and in turn, they will better serve the people in the community because of it. They are able to have the back of the people in the community because their buildings are in good repair.
In essence, Habitat at its heart is an organization that creates tremendous opportunity to have each other’s backs. By volunteering, YOU have the back of every family that walks through the door. By responding to the needs of communities all over the world through our tithe and prayers, Habitat has the backs of people in Nepal, Kenya, Haiti, and more. By being a team committed to making a difference, our staff has each other’s backs as we do this work.
Finally, by expanding the work that Habitat does throughout the community to include repairs, financial empowerment, neighborhood revitalization, and great deals at the ReStore, everyone has the back of the entire Montgomery County community. In addition, we know that you have ours every time you volunteer, make a donation, or give a gently used item to the ReStore. Thanks for that – it is a great feeling to know that you have our back.