Behind the Scenes: Habitat for Humanity

Behind the Scenes: Habitat for Humanity

Madison Magazine: Please describe your involvement with Habitat for Humanity.
My husband and I are volunteering for Habitat’s Big Build 2016 in Vietnam. We have committed to raise $2000 each to go to Habitat (not for our airfare or our expenses) – we are having several fundraising events to meet our goal, with the first being a Happy Hour at VFW #1318 (on Lakeside off John Nolen) on July 28th. We have over $2000 in prizes donated by local businesses that will be door prizes and raffle prizes. We also have brats being provided by Metcalfs, and entertainment.
I have volunteered for Habitat internationally twice before – in 2009 I went to the Philippines to build on an international build, and then in 2010 I took a group of my friends back to the Philippines to do the Big Build with Jimmy Carter in the Philippines. I have also volunteered with Habitat in Ann Arbor, MI, and here in Madison.
My aunt and cousins live in Joplin – my cousin Deborah has three special needs children. They were home when the tornados hit Joplin in 2011 and lost everything – my aunt was laying on Deborah and her three kids in the bathtub when the tornado hit and their house was completely destroyed, but they were all unharmed. Both Deborah and my aunt now live in Habitat homes, and our family is so grateful to Habitat for providing them with affordable and safe shelter.

MM: What has been the most beneficial element of this organization for you?
Habitat builds and rehabilitates simple, decent homes with the help of our partner families to provide affordable housing. Habitat partner families provide labor and make monthly mortgage payments on their homes at a 0% interest rate. The homeowners who will be the beneficiaries of the homes work right alongside the volunteers building the homes. Working with the homeowners and getting to know them and seeing what a difference Habitat makes in their lives is pretty amazing.

MM: How has Habitat for Humanity and its events enhanced the Madison community?
Today, Habitat for Humanity of Dane County is building in West Madison, Sun Prairie, Stoughton and Fitchburg. Habitat will also be building in Oregon. Habitat Dane has built affordable housing in 18 communities in Dane County. Habitat homes help with community building and the establishment of healthy neighborhoods.

MM: Please tell us about the upcoming Vietnam Big Build.
This is Habitat for Humanity’s largest international event of 2016. Ray (my husband) and I and 300 volunteers from around the world will build housing with a rural community of tea farmers. On the build site, we will build homes and detached bathrooms with low-income partner families. The Vietnamese province where we will be building – Phu Tho – has urgent economic needs and will welcome Habitat’s influx of volunteers and resources. Each volunteer going to this build commits to raising $2000 for Habitat – the money doesn’t go towards our airfare or lodging for the trip, it goes to Habitat.

MM: How can the community get involved with both the Vietnam Big Build and Habitat for Humanity as a whole?
The Big Build for this year is full for volunteers, but we are Join Habitat on a tour of the Habitat mission to learn how Habitat for Humanity of Dane County works to improve the lives for families through the building of homes, communities and hope. Register at:

MM: What do you want others to know about the Habitat for Humanity?
Habitat for Humanity of Dane County will close on its 242nd home this week. About 300 people volunteer on every Habitat home built in Dane County. Finding affordable housing is the number one concern for our homeowners here in Dane County, which is the third most expensive county to live in Wisconsin. Someone would need to make $18 an hour in order to afford a modest apartment here in Dane County. 

The Fundraiser Happy Hour will be held on July 28th at VFW #1318 (on Lakeside off John Nolen). For more information visit