Who knew priming and painting could be so much fun?! But that’s what we learned after spending a Saturday partnering with Habitat for Humanity Detroit and volunteers from all over metro Detroit.
The WXYZ & WMYD Buildup with Habitat Detroit is one of our Detroit 2020 mission projects.
And this was our sixth year holding the one-day volunteer effort.
Our goal for August 8, 2016 was to paint interior walls of two Habitat homes in Detroit's Core City neighborhood.
"Traditionally, our focus has been on selling homes out right to Habitat homeowners, but we've decided to create a new Rent-To-Own program which we're actually going to be piloting this year,” said Ken Cockrel, Jr, Executive Director of Habitat for Humanity Detroit.
So, we went to work to help get these homes ready.
Channel 7 and TV 20 Detroit staff members joined folks from all over southeastern Michigan including our Community Action Team partners from Priority Health.
"We're really all about healthy lives and healthy communities, so any way we can be engaged in communities that we service and give back, it's incredibly meaningful for us. And it fits with our mission,” said Mike Japerson with Priority Health.
Another Community Action Team partner -- IBEW/NECA – also made an appearance.
"Our contractors live and work in this city. In fact, I was born really close to the last Habitat site last year. So, we're very happy to be here. We're in this community, and we're very active in a wide variety of ways,” said Tom Mittelbrun with NECA.
IBEW Local 58 workers have helped with electrical work on more than 100 Habitat homes over the past 15 years.
"Construction is what we do. We're a construction electrical union. It's a perfect fit for us to come out and show our skills and electrical expertise," explained Jim Wenson, IBEW Local 58.
Other volunteers included Channel 7 & TV 20 viewers, mothers and daughters, fathers and sons, return BuildUp volunteers and first-timers!
And it all coincided on Arise Detroit Day -- a community wide effort that WXYZ & WMYD were excited to join.
“To be able to touch a home, work on a home that you know a young family is going to move into, it feels great,” said General Manager and Vice President Mike Murri of WXYZ & WMYD. “I think everyone here is taking a great sense of pride. So it really feels very, very special.”
“Another reason to volunteer for projects like this is that it’s just fun to work with your ‘work family,’” said WXYZ/WMYD Morning Anchor Alicia Smith –who came up with the BuildUp idea six years ago with Habitat Detroit.
“And when you see Habitat homeowners getting in their sweat equity hours right next to you on a work site, it’s really inspiring. Habitat Detroit is all about a hand-up -- not a hand out,” she added.
We took a brief break for lunch from a food truck favorite - Frank's Anatra's hot dogs - graciously donated by owner Bill Loizon. Many thanks to him for a delicious meal!
Then we got back to work.
We know these freshly painted walls will soon be home to someone working to realize their dream of home ownership.
If you'd like to learn more about buying a Habitat home for a 0% interest mortgage or the new Rent-to-Own program, CLICK HERE.
If you’d like to VOLUNTEER for a Habitat for Humanity Detroit project, CLICK HERE.