Building houses, building hope
On the morning of Dec. 7, the construction staff and volunteers of East Cooper Habitat for Humanity arrived at their work site just off Mathis Ferry Road to discover that their tool trailer had been broken into and all of the tools had been stolen. This included circular saws, drills, nail guns, chop saws, routers, planers, and safety harnesses valued at well in excess of $5,000.
The police counseled us that the likelihood of recovering the stolen items was very low. While we have insurance, the deductible is necessarily high so it really did not cover the tools involved.
Word quickly spread among our volunteers, board of directors, churches, businesses and professional organizations that have worked with us in the past.
People put information on Facebook, news outlets did stories on our loss, and we sent emails to our friends.
The outpouring of support was immediate and generous. A contractor who got a tweet from his pastor at Seacoast Church had his own tools stolen several months ago, so he knew how it felt to lose such needed items. He purchased for us some brand new tools and also some used tools, spending over $700 of his own money.
Members of the Charleston Trident Home Builders Association and the Custom Residential Architects Network donated more than $4,000 in a matter of days. One of our board members offered to match donations by other members up to $2,500.
Our staff members and their families donated funds. A woman with cancer from West Ashley donated a brand new chop saw that she was too weak to use in her art projects.
Even at this time of year, I was surprised by the outpouring of help and love. But I see this kind of support throughout the year: generous, loving people who donate funds to help us build homes for low income working families who would not otherwise be able to afford a home of their own.
Sixty-three families live in homes built by East Cooper Habitat for Humanity, families who are paying their mortgages to help us build homes for other deserving families.
We will begin building a home in the Phillips Community off Highway 41 in late January. While we do not have full funding in place, I am confident that a great many people will donate what we need before we need it.
I am grateful to everyone who is willing to give of themselves to help others in need. What a wonderful community we live in.
East Cooper Habitat for Humanity, Inc.