Thursday, February 4, 2016

Women Build - “The Kitchen Drawer”

My mother will sometimes tell stories about growing up on the family farm in Eastern North Carolina. She had five brothers and they were not as conscientious as they could have been about putting tools away. Her father would find a hammer, saw, or screwdriver lying in the yard where one of his sons had left it, yell about the necessity of taking care of things, and put it away properly in the barn.

My grandmother started keeping a few tools in a kitchen drawer for her own use… and heaven help the person who used HER hammer. Sometimes grandma used her hammer to tenderize meat. Other times she used it to repair her grapevine trellis. But it was HER hammer to use on the project she determined.

By the time Habitat for Humanity International was founded in 1976, my mother had a cache of tools in HER kitchen drawer too. Back in 1990 when Angela Grier, Habitat Cabarrus’ first homeowner, moved into her home, I wonder if she had a drawer of tools in her kitchen as well? She would have become proficient using numerous tools while working her sweat equity hours during the construction of her own home… So maybe she, like my mom, would tighten the handles on cabinet doors, pry her child’s toys out from heating vents, and hang pictures on her walls.

We Southern females are an independent bunch, so it’s no surprise that a group of women from Charlotte banded together in 1991 to construct the very first women-built Habitat for Humanity Home. It’s been 25 years since that trailblazing team of North Carolina women came together to advocate for decent, affordable housing through constructing a home. began as a single Habitat house has grown into an international movement responsible for more than 2,300 homes worldwide. To celebrate that milestone, Habitat Cabarrus will construct another Women Build home this year. We last completed a Women Build home in 2011 so it’s time to dig out those work gloves again ladies!

Unlike my grandma’s tool drawer – which was intended to keep the boys OUT – Women Build is designed to INCLUDE women throughout the entire construction process from raising funds to raising walls.

Cabarrus County claims many vibrant women-led businesses both large and small. Concord, Kannapolis, Harrisburg, and Mt. Pleasant all boast women serving on their City Councils and Midland voters selected a female mayor. This community builds strong women and supports them in leadership roles from churches, to schools, to government, to boardrooms. 1998, the Women Build program became an official Habitat for Humanity initiative. By then I had my own set of household tools. 2016 is the year Julie, a hard-working grandmother, can claim a drawer in HER kitchen for her tools. We hope you will choose to help this woman build her home.

If you are a strong woman or you appreciate a strong woman in your life we invite you to join our Women Build project this year.  This home will provide much needed space and financial security to a strong-willed woman named Julie and her five granddaughters. Women Build indeed! There are multiple ways you can help us construct this home from corporate sponsorship opportunities, to team participation, leadership, and support. We hope you will join us and help Julie reach her goal.

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