Hire-a-Habitater helps fund Gannon Habitat Chapter

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The Gannon University campus chapter of Habitat for Humanity held its fall fundraiser, Hire-a-Habitater, on Saturday. The event featured students available for faculty to hire to help out around the house with projects that they needed a hand with.
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.
Morgan Grzegorzewski, a junior physician assistant major and president of the Gannon University Campus Chapter of Habitat for Humanity, said that helping make a difference for families living in poverty around campus and helping provide something that the rest of us take for granted was a cause that resonated with her.
“A lot of people might think that Habitat for Humanity is a handout, but in all actuality, it’s a hand up,” Grzegorzewski said. “The people we help build houses for are working just as hard, if not harder, to make sure they have a place to live.
“They must meet certain service requirements and there is an application process to even be considered for a house.”
Despite two projects having to be postponed due to the rain on Saturday, there were still a few that were possible and the group of about a dozen students split up and got to work.
Amanda Mock, a senior physician assistant major and vice president of the Gannon University Campus Chapter of Habitat for Humanity, said her group worked on digging up plants and repotting them for the winter as well as trimming bushes. She also said that some of the other groups stacked firewood, raked leaves and painted trim and doorways while helping move a faculty member into a new home.
Nancy Kelly, a secretary in the military science and ROTC office and a staff member of 29 years, hired habitaters to help out with the fall cleanup of her yard.
“The young ladies that came were very nice and a big help to my husband outside, even though the weather wasn’t very nice,” Kelly said. “They were very friendly and pleasant.”
On Saturday, the organization will hold its annual Trick-or-Treat for Change fundraiser, and in the spring plans on holding another Hire-a-Habitater event.
“The money that we raise is donated between the Greater Erie Area Habitat for Humanity and a tithe that we choose at the end of each year to either a domestic or international Habitat for Humanity,” Mock said. “It really depends on where we think our donation is most needed in the world at that time.”
Grzegorzewski said that students should not hesitate to volunteer as there are no special skills needed, just a willingness to donate their time.
“You don’t need experience with construction to be able to help out,” Grzegorzewski said. “I started out as a freshman with no experience, but now as a junior I have painted a whole lot, insulated rooms, constructed frames and completed many other projects.”
Mock said that students will learn more than just the value in giving back to the community, and that Habitat for Humanity is so much more than just “building a house.”
“For many families, having the security of a safe home gives them a sense of dignity and pride, stability for their children, better health and a second chance,” Mock said. “Being a part of Habitat for Humanity offers students a more personal perspective on housing and homelessness and broadens their world view.
“Personally, I have participated in Habitat builds both domestically and internationally, and these experiences have had the greatest impact on me in my life.”

KYLE JOSEPH
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