When the Wexford Habitat for Humanity affiliate in Cadillac, Mich., reached out to local churches to increase the number of participants for its annual “Women Build” event this May, Val Dodds of Cadillac Christian Reformed Church gathered her two daughters and a friend to pitch in and support this community project.
“In Cadillac, the churches work together,” Dodds said. “You go thinking you’re going to help people, but when you’re helping people, they are so blessed and they’re so thankful that you really, truly feel you are the hands of Jesus reaching out to people.”
Habitat for Humanity (HFH) runs National Women Build Week all across the United States every May, the week before Mother’s Day. The high-profile campaign helps affiliates attract volunteers eager to learn building skills and enjoy the camaraderie of working together. “This is the single largest build day of the year for us by a huge margin,” said Wexford Habitat’s volunteer coordinator Dan Peterson, who has run Women Build events in Cadillac for the last three years. In 2013 and 2014 Wexford HFH had 25-30 participants, including Dodds, but this year’s requirement of a minimum of 50 participants had Peterson reaching out to five local churches to boost the numbers. In the end they had 85 women registered in four work crews at three different sites. Because there were so many participants, some of them, including the women from Cadillac CRC, worked on the grounds of the Wexford Habitat office site.
Dodds recruited her daughters Heidi Ricklefs and Sarah Moeller, and their friend Tami Barnes. They helped with landscaping and planting alongside Cadillac CRC member Dale Brinks, who volunteered his expertise and equipment in clearing the land of stumps and rocks. Carol Brunink and her daughter Jessica Whetstone of Rehoboth Reformed Church in Lucas, Mich., were also hard at work at that site.