March 8th, 2011

Houston Helps: A Houston Habitat for Humanity Follow-Up

A few weeks back we brought you the first edition of Houston Helps profiling Houston Habitat for Humanity. If you thought that we were just going to publish it hoping that you Loopsters were going to step in an volunteer for us, you were wrong. After speaking with Icerine (Volunteer Coordinator), we stamped in our own date with a hammer. Love Houston, help Houston, right?

On one very overcast and slightly rainy Saturday morning we pull into the parking lot at 7:30AM. The drizzle is no deterrent given that our orders today are shed building in the Houston Habitat for Humanity warehouse. Icerine greets us at the gate, giving us a quick tour of the main room and leading us to the waiver and name tag table nestled by the bathrooms.

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We’re told we’ll be teaming up with a slew of Texas Southern University students and that we’ve got about 25 minutes or so before they’ll start trickling in. We drink our coffees in the quiet warehouse as a few of the build leaders prep the shop area.

We introduce ourselves to Gary, as we’re eager to begin something—the coffee’s making us anxious. He gives us a few more details about the jobs we’ll be doing and then directs us to a stack of lumber.

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“That’s a house.” he says. Get outta here! That stack of lumber holds every stud, top plate, and bottom plate? “Yup.” Crazy!

We take said “house” and pull it off the floor, stacking it on a dolly and band it to be shipped out to the next lot that Habitat for Humanity will build on. Finally, that story that I’ve been telling all these years to the bartender will be true. I moved a house with my own bare hands.

The clock strikes eight and thirty TSU students stride through the door. Icerine informs the group as a whole of the morning’s goals. First: cutting studs, top plates and bottom plates. Second: hammering said lumber together. Simple right? No so fast, my friend.

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One of the Loop Scoop crew may or may not have used top plates as studs and studs as top and bottom plates. The result, less productivity and loss of hammering privileges for said Loopster. We won’t give out his name, but it rhymes with Smee Tones.

With the hammering door shut, the chop saw window was flung wide open and where the rest of us floundered—he was cuttin’ wood like a Jack Nicholson off the wagon.

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With the help of so many volunteers it isn’t long before all available wall pieces are assembled. The smell of slightly damp sawdust and sweat fill the air. We ask Gary what to expect next. “On to the roofs.”

The 2×4’s required for this job needed more preparation than those used for the walls. A 32ish degree cut here, an 18ish degree cut there and our resident lumberjack pulled the blueprint for Ford’s assembly line right out of the history books.

All forty-something volunteers managed to finish the job by lunch time. Gary told us that we had used up all the materials they had on hand. Well, either that or we have just sullied the build and not coming back from lunch was the HHFH’s nice way of letting us go. In any case, we’d do it again. If this sort of thing sounds interesting to you, follow the links below and get involved.

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3750 North McCarty Street | Houston, Texas 77029 | Phone: (713) 671-9993 | Fax: (713) 671-9295 | Email: info@HoustonHabitat.org
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For more information, contact our Volunteer Coordinator at (713)671-9993 x218 or iwyngarde@houstonhabitat.org.

VOLUNTEER / DONATE

— The Loop Scoop

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