If you can swing a hammer, they want you. And if you can’t swing a hammer, well, they want you, too.
The Humboldt Habitat for Humanity project is in the process of signing up volunteers to help with their build. And they can use any help anyone can provide them with.
The plan is to build a duplex for two local families who are not able to own a home through traditional means, and they aim to start construction as soon as possible in June.
To that end, a volunteer blitz is being held June 4 at the Bella Vista Inn in Humboldt, from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.
“We need people to know that if they don’t register, they can’t volunteer,” explained Connie Danyluik, co-chair of the volunteer committee for the Humboldt project.
In other words, you can’t just walk down to the job site with your hammer in hand and jump in to lend a hand. That’s not how it works.
The registration forms volunteers are required to fill out, which will not only give the committee contact information, but an idea of the abilities of each volunteer and when they can help, will be used to create a database, which will be used to come up with a schedule for the build. The volunteer committee will be using the database to call volunteers and organize workers for each day of the build.
“They have to be in the database. We have to know what their skills are,” Danyluik said.
The form breaks down skills and abilities into certain areas, from framing and roofing to painting and landscaping, and skill level from “like to learn” to “can supervise.”
This is important, Danyluik noted, because they don’t want to have 10 people who have never shingled before on site on a day when shingling is happening.
They want a mix of experience levels on the site at all times, so that those willing to learn can learn from those who know how to do it right.
The form also asks volunteers which days they would be available to help, either a single date or one day every week, and whether they would like to work with a specific group of other people.
“We need (volunteers) to come and fill out forms so we have a good base of people to call on.”
And that’s not just for the construction side of things. Volunteers are needed to fill a wide variety of needs during the build, positions which are also listed on the volunteer form.
“It’s not just about building,” Danyluik noted. “We need people who can swing a hammer. We also need people to volunteer to do phoning and organize volunteers, and sign volunteers in (at the registration table at the build site).”
There are things that people who are not builders can do, ways they can still help out.
For instance, they need a list of people willing to provide childcare so parents can help out at the site.
That childcare would have to take place at the home of the volunteer, Danyluik explained, as children will not be allowed at the construction site.
They also need people or even local businesses to donate snacks for the volunteers, and people willing to pick up and deliver the snacks to the job site.
“There are lots of jobs for everyone,” she said — stressing that the Humboldt chapter of Habitat for Humanity covers not only the city of Humboldt, but a 50-kilometre radius around it.
In the future, there may be another build. It could be in Bruno, Lake Lenore, Watson or any other local community, she said.
Businesses from the surrounding area have already committed funds for the project, and they’re hoping to get volunteers as well.
“We want people from there to know we’d be more than happy to have them come and volunteer,” Danyluik said. “Something could happen in their community in the future.”
Anyone interested in volunteering can pick up a form at the Reid-Thompson Public Library or Partners Family Services at any time, and return them to Partners.
Or they can drop into the volunteer blitz on June 4 and ask any questions they might have.
In addition to the volunteers, the local Habitat for Humanity committee is working on setting up sponsor days of work. Local businesses will make a donation to the project, then provide the labour for the day. They’ll get advertising out of it, and lunch will be provided — something that isn’t done on days with regular volunteers.
Packages with the details of the sponsor days will be going out to local businesses soon.
Just a few facts
• Construction volunteers will be expected to bring some tools to the Habitat for Humanity job site in Humboldt — a hammer, a pencil, a tape measure and a nail apron if possible. Safety gear like gloves and glasses will be provided.
• Volunteers won’t be involved in the first stages of the build — digging the basement, and having services installed. Professionals will be looking after that.
• Professionals will also be doing all the major electrical and plumbing work.
• Volunteers have to be 18 years old. Those aged 16 to 18 can sign up if their parents sign a consent form. However, there are restrictions on what they can do.
• Everyone involved in the project must sign a liability waiver at least once.