DETROIT - When Habitat for Humanity sets up shop in a neighborhood, people come together, activity levels rise and work gets done. Trucks roll up and down the streets. The pounding of hammers and the grind of saws fill the air, as Ford volunteers and other community partners bring new life to a community that has seen its share of hard times.
Ford Motor Company Fund has been supporting Habitat Detroit for more than 20 years with 8,400 volunteers and more than $1.7 million in financial support. Habitat Detroit started its revitalization work in the Morningside Commons neighborhood in 2006 with a commitment to build 100 new homes. Habitat Detroit finished the job as part of its annual Blitz Build by putting up seven homes in seven days with Ford Fund sponsoring house number 100.
“Ford began this journey with us and stuck with us when economic times were some of the hardest we’ve ever seen,” said Vincent Tilford, executive director, Habitat for Humanity Detroit. “We couldn’t have done this without Ford Motor Company.”
“At Ford, we believe that in addition to building great cars and trucks, it’s important to help build better communities,” said Lynn Quigley, community relations manager, Ford Motor Company Fund to a gathering of volunteers and residents. “We’re proud to be partners with Habitat Detroit.”
Habitat for Humanity Detroit, an affiliate of Habitat for Humanity International, has rehabilitated and/or built new houses in partnership with more than 350 families. Volunteer labor, donations and corporate financial support allow Habitat Detroit to continue building safe, affordable homes for low-income working families, who work on their homes alongside volunteers and community partners.
“It is a great privilege and honor to have dedicated people volunteering their time to come out for such a great cause and building these wonderful homes,” said O’Dell Tate, president, Morningside Neighborhood Association. “To Habitat, Ford Motor Company, UAW and all the wonderful partners, we say thank you on behalf of Morningside and welcome to our neighborhood.”
Over the years, Ford volunteers have gone far beyond Michigan's borders to assist Habitat for Humanity across the country and around the world. In addition to contributions topping $3.5 million, Ford volunteers have rebuilt homes in the wake of the devastating tsunami in Southeast Asia, constructed houses for low-income families in Argentina and helped hurricane survivors along the U.S. Gulf Coast.
The Ford Volunteer Corps will be back in the Morningside neighborhood on Sept. 11 during Ford Global Week of Caring.
“It is an awesome experience, helping out the community and being a representative of Ford,” said Joyce Jarzombek, Ford product designer. “To see this neighborhood and how much it’s grown is phenomenal.”
“Ford volunteers sign up year after year to work with Habitat because they know they are helping people realize the dream of home ownership,” said Janet Lawson, director, Ford Volunteer Corps. “It’s very gratifying and a special feeling for our Ford volunteers and our communities.”
And what would any celebration be without ice cream? Ford Fund and Habitat Detroit employees got behind the wheel – and the counter – of an ice cream truck and rolled through the neighborhood passing out treats to volunteers and neighbors, and providing a cool topping to a warm and festive summer day of work and accomplishment.
Follow the activities of Ford Motor Company Fund and the Ford Volunteer Corps on facebook at Ford in the Community.