Sketchy weather didn’t stop volunteers from getting their work done during the annual Habitat Women Build event last week. photo by Jerry Baldock
Sketchy weather didn’t stop volunteers from getting their work done during the annual Habitat Women Build event last week. photo by Jerry Baldock

Rain, wind and snow didn't stop more than 50 women from landscaping and building houses during Habitat for Humanity's National Women Build Week last week. Local women from around Sisters, nine women from the Redmond Lowe's Local Hero team and young women from the Heart of Oregon Corps YouthBuild came out to make a difference, devoting their time to building decent and affordable housing with local families.

The five-day event, hosted by Sisters Habitat for Humanity, provided an opportunity for the homeowners and future homebuyers to work alongside the volunteers. For several days, the women spent time planting aspen trees and landscaping at Selah Broderick's and Alexandra Lantaler's homes. Broderick and Lantaler purchased and moved into their homes in 2016 through an affordable mortgage with Sisters Habitat. The landscaping of the homes had to be delayed, however, due to the severe winter.

"It's amazing what a big group can accomplish in transforming rubble into an efficient, aesthetic yard," volunteer Carolyn Platt said while preparing the dirt for the decorative rock and plants.

Ellie Hammond said she first volunteered with Women Build in 2014. Because of that experience, she started volunteering at the Habitat job site and the Thrift Store once a week. This year, she was a team lead during two of the days and she and her daughter worked together a third day.

"I love the sense of community it builds for the women and the homeowners. Women Build inspired me to volunteer regularly with Habitat and it's fun to see the results of all the work at the end of the week," Hammond said.

Transformed yards were not the only work results last week. YouthBuild women spent a day installing blue board to Marla Brinkman's future home. Brinkman was out there alongside the women learning to cut and hang the blue board. Blue board is a form of insulation and is installed once the framing is complete.

At the future home of Sharyn Benson, the Lowe's local hero team installed wall sheathing. It is estimated that more than 17,000 women, including Lowe's Heroes volunteers, volunteered across the country as part of the 2017 event.

Lowe's helped launch National Women Build Week in 2008 to empower women to advocate for affordable housing and spotlight the homeownership challenges faced by many. Each year, Lowe's provides the support of their employee volunteers.

Sisters Habitat for Humanity is a local affiliate of Habitat for Humanity International. Since 1991 the organization has worked with 60 families to get them into affordable housing. Habitat homeowners help build their own homes alongside volunteers and pay an affordable mortgage. Through financial support, volunteering or adding a voice to support affordable housing, everyone can help families achieve the strength, stability and self-reliance they need to build better lives for themselves. Sisters Habitat for Humanity offers volunteer opportunities at the job site, Thrift Store and ReStore. Those interested in volunteering are asked to attend a volunteer orientation the first or third Wednesday of the month at noon at the Habitat offices, 141 W. Main Ave. For information and to sign up, email Marie Clasen at marie@sistershabitat.org.