With tools in their hands and good intentions in their hearts, 15 women from the Roanoke Valley participated in “National Women Build Week” through a partnership between Lowe’s and Habitat for Humanity.
The national event, held annually during the week leading up to Mother’s Day, challenges women to devote one day to the effort of eliminating poverty housing. Women come together from all walks of life to learn basic construction skills and build affordable houses for those in need.
As the first major initiative of Lowe’s renewed five-year, $20 million pledge to Habitat for Humanity, the retailer committed $875,000 to the 2009 “National Women Build Week” by providing grants and event support materials to 175 Habitat affiliates. Locally, Lowe’s presented a $5,000 grant to Roanoke’s Habitat for Humanity to support the one-day build on 15th Street SW in Roanoke City.
This year, more than 7,000 women volunteered across all 50 states to build on more than 200 Habitat for Humanity construction sites.
“It’s staggering what can be accomplished with a little teamwork, support and hard work,” said Betsy Whitney, Deputy Director of Habitat in the Roanoke Valley. “We are already looking forward to next year.”
The week leading up to Mother’s Day was selected for its significance to many volunteers, as families with children make up a large percentage of those in need of adequate housing. Sub-standard housing can be a severe threat to a child’s health, growth and potential. According to the US Census Bureau more than 12 million children – one out of every six – is living in poverty.
“Women have the capability and determination necessary to address this crisis in a concrete way” said Whitney. “By ensuring that families have safe, decent and affordable homes, they are positively affecting several generations.”
Since the program began in 1998, the “Women Build initiative” has built more than 1,400 houses nationwide.