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Women volunteers to build houses for Chatham Habitat for Humanity

Posted Sunday, May 3, 2009

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Pittsboro, NC - In the days leading up to Mother's Day, 175 construction crews of women volunteers across the country will be pounding nails and raising walls at Habitat for Humanity construction sites in recognition of National Women Build Week, May 2 - 10. In Pittsboro, local women volunteers will be donning tool aprons to help build homes for five low-income families from May 5 to May 9. Women volunteers are needed Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. No construction experience is required. Call (919) 542-0794, ext. 223 to sign up.

On Saturday, May 9 the group Strong Women Organizing Outrageous Projects is scheduled to participate in Women Build 2009. S.W.O.O.P. began in 1996 as an informal group of 16 women who teamed up to help each other clean up debris after Hurricane Fran. It has since expanded to over 1,100 women from across the greater Triangle area who conduct major yard clean-ups, build fences, paint, refurbish, construct, deconstruct, and renovate for individuals or agencies in need. This will be the group's second workday with Chatham Habitat for Humanity.

"Women turned out in large numbers for our first Women Build last year and we made great progress on five houses in Siler City," said Construction Project Manager Gaby Fornari.

"Three floor systems were nearly completed, prep work was done for laying tile, and roof sheathing was put in place, among many other tasks," she added. All of this was accomplished by 85 volunteers in just two days. Fornari anticipates women volunteers will make an even greater impact during this year's five-day build. She also anticipates that many of them will become regular volunteers.

Mother's Day cards will be available for those who wish to volunteer in honor of their mothers. "It is a very gratifying gift for a mother to see that her child is going out into the world and working with others in need," said Development Coordinator Bett Essen.

The five homes will take shape in the new Chatham Oak community, a mixed-income sub-division located off of East Cornwalis Road on land purchased by Chatham County. Habitat is building eight homes in partnership with working families who earn 25% to 50% of the median income. A commercial builder will construct seven homes for families who earn up to 80% of the median income.

Developed through the partnership between Lowe's and Habitat for Humanity, National Women Build Week challenges women to devote one day to the effort to eliminate poverty housing. The event is an initiative of Habitat for Humanity's Women Build program, underwritten by Lowe's, which brings women from all walks of life together to learn construction skills and then use those skills to build simple, decent affordable houses.

"In our sixth year of supporting Habitat's Women Build program, we have seen the impact women volunteers are making toward eliminating poverty housing in our communities," said Larry D. Stone, Lowe's president and COO and chairman of the Lowe's Charitable and Educational Foundation. "National Women Build Week energizes community volunteers to build alongside families in need. And there's no better time than Mother's Day to remind people that we can help parents provide warm, safe homes for their children by
supporting Women Build and other Habitat projects."

About Chatham Habitat for Humanity: Since 1989, Chatham Habitat for Humanity has worked to change substandard housing conditions throughout Chatham County by making homeownership possible for nearly 90 families. In the process, Habitat is able to transform lives, improve neighborhoods, and most importantly, give hope and strength to our communities. For more information visit our web site:

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