By Estella Fullmer Brown
For Hometown News
As part of Habitat for Humanity's National Women Build Week, 30 women from Edgewater, New Smyrna Beach, Oak Hill and Port Orange leant a hand May 7 to help a local couple paint their new home so they can move in earlier than planned.
In just one day, the volunteers painted the entire house on Travelers Palm Drive in Edgewater.
"We weren't expecting it, but we had enough volunteers to do the entire house inside and out today," said Coralie Gilson, outreach coordinator for the Southeast Volusia Habitat for Humanity. "Our construction manager, Ray Allnutt, did a wonderful job directing the work today."
The new homeowners, Jimmy Porter and his wife, Amanda, were without a place to live until the house passed inspection. Completing all the painting in one day when they were expecting it to take a week or more, should mean the couple can move into the house in a month rather than 6 to 8 weeks.
Mr. Allnutt organized the morning crew to begin painting on the inside of the house, figuring they would not finish all of it by the end of the day. But by lunchtime they were nearly finished inside so he directed the new people coming in for the afternoon crew to start working on the outside of the house. By 3 p.m. they were down to just a few touchups and painting the framework around the doors and windows.
"It's a feel good kind of thing," said Pam Molar, who took a moment from painting trim inside the house to say how pleased she was to be part of the program. Bonnie Wrobel echoed her sentiments, "We had fun and it's for a good cause."
Although the women were tired at the end of the day, each was proud of their accomplishment and glad they participated. Many of them plan to participate in the next Women Build day in Southeast Volusia in the fall.
"I would like to have at least two Women Build days a year," Ms. Gilson said. "One in the spring and one in the fall. The one this fall will be construction and women will get to put their hands on some power tools. It should be a lot of fun."
The spring Women Build Day was kept simple.
"We have to get this family in this home as soon as possible," she said, "so that's why we decided to make it a painting only day. That's where the need was greatest."
Normally she limits the volunteers to 15 per shift. "Otherwise we are tripping over ourselves all day," Ms. Gilson said.
On this day, however, she decided to accept more volunteers because the house was spread out and they were painting and not doing construction. By using more volunteers, they were able to complete the painting in record time.
"We still have a lot of work to do, like electrical and the roof," Mr. Allnutt said. "But it is coming along nicely."
He also thanked the companies that contributed the paint and supplies and other building materials for the renovation. "Our sponsors include Valspar Paints, who donated 350 gallons of paint; Whirlpool donatied the appliances; Beck's Nursery donated plants for the landscaping; and PGT Industries gave us a great discount on the new windows," he explained. "Island Roofing gave us a great deal on the roof and they always do a great job." He stressed that without the help of these and other local companies donating supplies and materials, Habitat would not be able to do what it does.
The afternoon participants in the Women Build Day were Jimmy and Amanda Porter, Ms. Molar, Ms. Wrobel, Shannon Meyer, Patti McCracken, Heather Denney, Jennifer Babb, Jeanne Current, Ms. Gilson and Jean Kayat. Some of them had been there all day and there were many others in the morning crew.
Habitat for Humanity sponsors its Women Build Week in the spring across the nation. More than 31,000 women have participated in past spring builds. Locally the program has been running for six years.
Ms. Gilson explained they work on houses year-round and keep their usual volunteers and construction workers busy, but sometimes they have an urgent need to complete a home for a family in special circumstances and that is when she puts out a call for more volunteers. This year they decided to coincide Women Build Week with Mother's Day because of its significance to Habitat homeowners and volunteers.
"Families with children make up a staggering number of those in need of adequate housing," New Smyrna Beach City Commissioner Judy Reiker said.
The commissioner urged women to volunteer their time. "Pick up a paintbrush, and join your sisters in celebrating the power of women, giving to families in our own community as we paint the inside and outside of this house," she said in a news release last month.
For more information about Southeast Volusia Habitat, email email@example.com.