Monday, October 19, 2015

Make a Difference with Habitat

I recently had two people tell me the same story about a man waving at everyone he saw while driving around town.  His wife asked him WHAT he was doing.  He replied that he was trying to make everyone feel welcomed and noticed to help prevent suicides.  It’s a simplistic view but it provides a solid point.  You never quite know who you’ve impacted.  You never really know where the ripples you started will end up.

You’ve probably heard the story about starfish washed up all over the beach and the two men walking along the shore…  The first guy notices the second guy madly throwing starfish back into the ocean. Guy two could only toss two at a time - one in each hand.  The first man tells the second man that it’s no use.  There is NO WAY he can save the millions of starfish littering the sand.  And the second guy says that he can save THESE, and he continues flinging.

The second guy made a difference to the starfish he saved. 

So what does making a difference look like?  It looks like a lot of things.  It can look like waving at strangers.  It may look like giving a struggling parent $20 at the grocery store so she can buy her child’s birthday cake.  Or it can be seen in the patient hands of a scout leader guiding smaller hands through the twists of a clove hitch knot again and again and yet again.

The scout leader doesn’t know exactly when or how this knot tying exercise is going to make a difference in the scout’s life.  But there is trust that eventually the time and effort will one day bear fruit.  The fruit ripens when that child reaches out to the lonely new kid at school, or becomes a scout leader, or helps install siding on a Habitat home.

October 24, 2015 is Make a Difference Day. It started in 1990 and is sponsored by Gannett’s USA WEEKEND magazine in partnership with Points of Light, a very large group dedicated to volunteer service.  The purpose of Make a Difference Day is to help others in the community by doing volunteer work.  It doesn’t matter if the project is large or small.  The project can benefit any group and can encompass a wide range of activities from Fun Runs, to painting library walls, to coat collections.  There is still time to complete a project if you’re so inclined.

It makes one wonder if our magnificent donors and volunteers know just how big a difference they make.  I’m pretty sure they don’t realize just how far the ripples travel.

This summer, two different groups built picnic tables that the Cabarrus ReStore then sold to help fund Habitat projects.  Those picnic tables may be the source of Heather Collier’s bathtub.  The bathtub where her children will bathe after they spend an afternoon playing – in their own backyard. 

In August donors gave generously to Habitat Cabarrus at our annual breakfast.  Their financial gifts will provide heat for our offices this winter, the fuel that moves all the tools to and from job sites, the hammers, nails, wood, windows, shingles, siding, and appliances that make up each home, and labor from the skilled tradespersons who ensure that each Habitat Cabarrus home meets or beats construction code. 

Groups and individual volunteers give their time and talents each Saturday to build dreams.  They think they are installing siding, painting walls, laying tile, or doing landscape work.  But they bring their smiles and their joy into every step of the construction process.  Our incredible volunteers fill rooms with goodwill and affection LONG before the homeowner moves in.  In addition, volunteers have the opportunity to write positive messages IN the walls during construction.  Our amazing volunteers wrap Habitat homeowners in love.

Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” 

Donors, volunteers, ReStore shoppers please recognize the ripples of your actions.  Your gifts work for HIS purpose and make a difference every day right here in Cabarrus County.  Keep making ripples.