2/21/2013 9:00:00 AM MATER CHRISTI, ALBANY Parish sponsors Habitat home
MEGAN CARSWELL, A SENIOR at Bethlehem High School and volunteer with Habitat for Humanity, peeks out of the window of a future home for a local family in need, sponsored by Mater Christi parish in Albany.
The construction site.
For more information on Habitat for Humanity of the Capital District, see www.habitatcd.org. Contact Mater Christi parish at 489-3204.
Mater Christi parish in Albany has become the first faith-based group in the region to sponsor a Habitat for Humanity house.
The Mater Christi house is one of six new homes being built on a site in the South End of Albany to provide affordable home ownership to families struggling to make ends meet. The parish raised $25,000 in six months through special collections and donations toward the cost of the project and has already begun deploying volunteers to the construction site.
The framework of the house went up last month. Up to 20 Mater Christi parishioners at a time with varying levels of construction experience have spent Saturdays at the site along with other community volunteers and some of the future homeowners, working on the home the parish is sponsoring and the other houses being built next door. The volunteers also supply lunches to the crews.
"It's been quite the experience," said Ann Marie Carswell, evangelization coordinator of the parish.
The project originated with Mater Christi's evangelization committee as a "way to get the whole parish involved and give back to the community," she said.
Ann Marie Calabrese, a nurse who learned of the volunteer opportunity through the parish bulletin, said she's done "a lot more than I thought we'd do" - including installing insulation, moving heavy plasterboard, measuring and even cleaning. When supplies ran low, she resorted to using cardboard boxes as dustpans.
"It was fun, and I was excited to learn how to do it and that I could do it," Mrs. Calabrese said of her many tasks.
The Mater Christi group hasn't yet met the family that will own their particular house, but they have met other families performing their "sweat equity."
"One man was just giddy over having a parking space," Mrs. Carswell told The Evangelist.
"It's a sense of giving back, of sharing your gifts," she said of the partnership. "I think, too, it's a way we can look out for one another."
Mrs. Calabrese agreed: "I think it's a great idea. These families benefit from it. Everybody working together makes people realize that we can accomplish something."
The work will continue every Saturday through March.