BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - When LSU fraternities and sororities hold Greek Week, you might imagine parties and award ceremonies, but be wonderfully shocked and pleased to know that the major event of LSU Greek Week is their annual Habitat for Humanity mega project!
With the concept of "many hands make light work," they build two homes for needy families in seven days!
The homes are being built by more than 1,000 sorority and fraternity members at 2132 and 2142 Fountain Avenue as part of LSU's Greek Week 2018. The LSU Greek community has raised nearly $2 million for Habitat for Humanity of Greater Baton Rouge since their partnership began in 2004.
"Every year, we come out here and we build two homes for two worthy families. And it is an awesome opportunity to give back to a community who's given us so much," said Daniel Wolf, co-director of LSU's Greek Week.
Lynn Clark is one of the founders of Baton Rouge's Habitat and has dedicated her life to its work. "These are the 25th and 26th houses that the LSU Greek Community has built with Habitat over the last 13 years, and that represents about 14,000 fraternity and sorority members who have volunteered their time to come and work with us," she said.
The LSU Greek Week Committee works year-round to assure this project goes smoothly. Habitat's literature states that LSU begins "organizing fundraising efforts in the fall semester, with students from the sororities and fraternities engaging in a letter writing campaign to raise money for the Greek Week homes. The students mail about 20,000 solicitation letters, and every year, the Greek students raise approximately $150,000 to build two homes. The committee also coordinates Greek Week, dealing with the annual challenge of recruiting, feeding and transporting over 1,000 students. They recruit the students to volunteer on the build, as well as arrange for buses to transport the students to and from the build site."
Two families, the Baileys and the Whites, have been working alongside their volunteer construction crew. They're Rob and Des Bailey and their four children, and their new next door neighbor is Trichelle White.
White has worked on the house that will be hers. That is Habitat's concept. Homeowners help build their own homes. It's not free, but the mortgage payments are set at amounts she can pay and there's no interest. This will be the first house she's ever owned.
White says her father is a carpenter, but she never learned those skills from him, so Habitat is her school for tools. "It's amazing. I love working with my hands anyway, so it's just another skill for me to learn. And putting it into use, to like a good use, is actually pretty great. Because if something goes wrong, I can actually fix it, you know, have some type of guidance or knowledge about it and go ahead and do it myself," she said.
Habitat always has staff members on hand to instruct first-timers with roofing, siding, and how to caulk. But Habitat has taught Baton Rouge so much more, about resurrecting dead zones and how to make abandoned houses look like homes again.
Be sure to shop in Habitat's ReStore locations for rock bottom prices on surplus building materials.
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