With spring on the way, many Erie residents are preparing by making minor housing repairs and cleaning up around the yard. However, some are either incapable of doing this themselves or simply need a hand with larger projects they would rather not take on alone. The Gannon University chapter of Habitat for Humanity will be out in full force Saturday helping faculty and staff with these tasks as part of their Hire-A-Habitater fundraising event.
Habitat for Humanity’s mission is to create a world where everyone has a decent place to live, and in Erie County, there is still a lot of work to be done. Nearly one in five county residents currently lives in poverty, as well as nearly a quarter of residents in the city of Erie itself. The Gannon chapter seeks to address this issue throughout the year with various service events.
For the past few weeks, the Gannon chapter has been collecting applications from faculty and staff who would like students to help with a maintenance task at their place of residency. Donations made by those who receive help are then split between the Greater Erie Habitat for Humanity organization and either a domestic or international Habitat for Humanity group that the students feel would benefit the most from additional support.
Morgan Grzegorzewski, a senior physician assistant major, participated in the event last year. Tasks included yardwork like trimming bushes and raking leaves as well as helping a faculty member into a new home, while she helped a faculty member with a painting project. She said that interacting with faculty outside of the classroom was an enjoyable experience and that because of their participation, the event has been a great way to increase awareness of the organization and their mission.
Rachel Amorose, a junior electrical engineering major and president of the Gannon chapter of Habitat for Humanity this year, was in charge of taking requests by those in need of help. She said that there are currently four stops scheduled for the group, which will consist of nine students, and the work will be similar to past years’. Aside from yard cleanup and moving heavy boxes, one applicant will be receiving help putting out summer furniture.
Amorose said being a part of the Habitat for Humanity chapter on campus has been enjoyable because ever since helping her father build things their family needed around the house growing up, she has been motivated to participate in hands-on community service. The organization has offered her many opportunities to do that while simultaneously making a difference in families’ lives.
“The idea of volunteering to help build the most basic thing a person needs, a home, to me is very noble,” Amorose said. “Many people often take for granted that their parents had a home they owned, and not everybody has that.
“To know that I can help a family have a home by just volunteering my time and efforts a few times a month, to me that’s something incredible.”
Anyone interested in learning more about the Gannon chapter of Habitat for Humanity should contact Amorose at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit their page on EngageU.