Since 1986, Habitat for Humanity of Chester County has served low-income families by constructing safe homes for them to live in. At West Chester University, students can get involved by volunteering at construction sites or the ReStore thrift shops.
Students can also get involved with the WCU chapter of Habitat for Humanity by attending meetings every other Tuesday at 6 p.m. in Brandywine Room 33.
If students cannot join the campus chapter, they are still welcome to volunteer individually by checking out the volunteer tab at hfhcc.org. They can schedule volunteer hours on the website or contact Kate Weidner, the Marketing Coordinator, at 610-384-7993, ext. 10 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
At Habitat for Humanity of Chester County, according to their website, “each home is sold to a low-income family using an HfHCC no-interest 30-year mortgage for the full purchase price of the home. Habitat homeowners are carefully selected based upon three criteria: the need for decent, affordable housing; the ability to repay the mortgage loan; and the willingness to partner with Habitat by participating in our sweat equity program.”
The sweat equity program refers to the fact that each family volunteers for 200 to 400 hours in order to be eligible for a home.
Since 1989, the volunteers for Habitat for Humanity of Chester County have built or renovated around 140 homes.
“By volunteering at Habitat, you are giving a hand up to those stuck in a cycle of poverty because they are spending the majority of their income trying to keep a roof over their family’s head. By helping these families achieve homeownership, you’re helping to break that cycle and allowing them to focus on other needs such as education and their health,” said Weidner.
Volunteers from WCU can help at a construction site with framing, dry walling, insulating, painting and everything it takes to build a house.
Volunteers can also help at the ReStore site. According to Weidner, they are thrift stores that sell gently used and new furniture, cabinets and more. All the money from these stores goes towards constructing houses. Volunteers can organize merchandise, help with inventory and assist with customer service.
There are ReStore sites in Kennett Square and Caln. They are open to volunteers from Tuesday through Saturday.
“[They] are always looking for an extra pair of hands,” said Weidner.
According to Weidner, even though the administrative offices are based in Coatesville, Habitat for Humanity serves all of Chester County. This year, seven families are moving into Habitat Homes.
WCU students have made a real difference at Habitat for Humanity.
“When we see WCU students coming in to volunteer, we know we’re getting a group of hard-working students who are truly looking to make a difference in the community, which is exactly what we’re looking for in volunteers,” said Weidner.
Theresa Kelly is a fourth-year student majoring in English literature secondary education. They can be reached at TK780615@wcupa.edu