A terrific way to help people in need and learn some wonderful skills is by volunteering with Habitat for Humanity. The primary Rhode Island Habitat group is Greater Providence, headed up by Herman deKoe. The group acquires land, does fund raising, and manages volunteers on Wednesdays and Saturdays. Volunteers build about 3 to 4 low-income houses a year in the Providence area. Build time for a house is about 9 months.
In Barrington, Saturday volunteers are encouraged to work through the Beyond Our Walls service organization, which has a scheduled workday at Habitat on the 4th Saturday of each month. Dave Renner is the primary BOW coordinator. A typical workday starts with car pooling around 8:30 a.m. to the Habitat location, working with 10 to 15 or so other volunteers, and finishing up around 2:00 p.m. Bring a lunch and appropriate clothing – tools and instruction are provided. You’ll be amazed at how much you learn about construction of all aspects of a house.
Barrington Presbyterian Church has been active with Habitat on varying levels since the 1980s. Rod Clifton, Betsy Dietrich, and myself, plus many others, have lots of Habitat stories to tell. Rod served on the Habitat board a few years back and ran an annual spaghetti fund raiser each fall for many years.
Retired people can get involved with the Wednesday senior crew. Ages range from mid 60s to 80s. The group is smaller than the Saturday crews and you get to know the “regulars.” I have worked with the Wednesday crew for several years.
Contributed by Steve Story.