On Tuesday, July 14, 2015 Chicago New Properties had the honor of partnering with Habitat for Humanity’s Women Build Program, which helped build a home for 1 very deserving family in the West Pullman neighborhood. Laura McGreal and Karen Schwartz were joined by 6 other family members and friends that volunteered to help out Chicago New Properties’ Team. We all worked on getting donations from family, friends, business partners, etc. and exceeded our goal by 120%. We feel so grateful for everyone that got involved.
Here’s a diary of that special day – we literally built a house!
5:30 a.m. – Wake up call to start the Women Build day. We really weren’t tired b/c we were so excited for the day. Lookout was good weather, possibility of storms around noon, but no big deal.
6:30 a.m. – Ashley Lunardini, one of Karen’s bff’s from high school, stopped over around 6:30 a.m. with iced coffee for us – this was much needed before our 7 a.m. departure with Lauren Agnew as the driver.
* Laura calls on the way to ensure we don’t get off at an exit that’s too off the beaten path. We can tell why she’s such a good Mom.
7:30 a.m. arrival – Ashley, Lauren and Karen meet Laura, Brigitte Foulk, Barbara Schwartz, Becky Staton, and one of our friends and preferred lenders, Janine Iuliano. This makes up the team of 8 of us. We were ready!
8 a.m. – Habitat leaders give intro and let us know the plan for the day. We get t-shirts and get to work! Advice from the team leaders: “drink lots of water on this hot day and we’ll show you where the first aid kit is… hopefully that doesn’t have to get used!”
8 a.m. – 12 p.m – We get to work! Everyone works together a team to carry lumber, look at the plans, listen to directions on how to build the walls, etc. Laura McGreal apparently is a star construction worker. She was the “sawer” and learned how to use an electric saw in just a few minutes. Her cuts were perfect – the family will be lucky to have straight walls in their home! worked non-stop, building walls, hammering nails, carrying lumber. After we built the wall, the entire team was needed to carry the wall from construction site to the homesite. We tried to dodge mud puddles, mud piles, trees, etc. Was funny and good comedic relief carrying these heavy walls as a team – we felt accomplished after carrying that heavy wall to where it needed to go. We tried to drink water to stay hydrated but didn’t want to drink too much in order to avoid the port-o-potties.
12 p.m. – lunchtime and meet the family. This was a really special moment. Angela Spencer, the hard-working Mother of 5 children, was introduced to us. One of her daughters was there as well. She has 4 other little boys. She is a single mother and learned about Habitat when she was at the library. She got a little emotional when telling her story and how Habitat for Humanity is helping create a better future for her kids. We were able to meet her/hug her. We got the chills hearing about her story and were reminded and felt first hand just what a special thing Habitat for Humanity does for families through the Women Build Program.
1:00 3:30 – we got back at it! Probably could’ve used a nap after a Chipotle burrito, but it felt good to keep working.We were given a challenge to build as many walls as we could after lunch and we succeeded in building all but one. After that, we wrapped up. CBS News showed up and interviewed Angela Spencer and some Habitat members. The event was featured on the 6:00 news that night.
At the end of the day, everyone was exhausted from the work we had just completed (and also recognized how much we appreciate construction workers/laborers who do this full time!), but we all agreed it felt great getting involved in such a great cause. We celebrated with a few margaritas at a place down the street in Beverly and then went home. And pretty much went to bed.
All in all it was one of the greatest days, and we’re very excited for the next time we get to participate in a Habitat for Humanity event.