By Jennifer Rios San Angelo Standard-Times, Texas.
SAN ANGELO, Texas
Whether women want to wield a hammer on a nail or a pen to fill out a check, Habitat for Humanity is giving them the chance to make a difference.
Judy Sikes, a former board president, and Libby Mims, a current board member, spearheaded "100 Women Build," a yearlong project that will end with a women-built house for a family in need.
Habitat for Humanity of San Angelo Inc. will host group events for the women participating, including a Strube Farm and Ranch
Cook-off competition, 100 Women Build Game Day with construction-themed activities and a luncheon speaker event during National Women's Build Week.
This weekend they kick off with three social activities including a lunch on Friday, a wine and cheese social Friday night and a breakfast Saturday morning.
"We want to attract and engage women in the community who maybe haven't had an opportunity to work with Habitat at all," Sikes said. "We're targeting a whole new group of women who we may never have talked to before."
Before this initiative they have worked with churches and other organizations in town. The 100 Women Build program began as more of a grass-roots effort, they said. They hope to target women who work, who are busy with families, but who care about their community.
"It's about having a good time, but also over the period of a year funding the building of a Habitat house and seeing a family purchase that home and move into that home and seeing their lives changed," Sikes said.
Sikes and Mims are asking 100 women to donate $50 a month, $600 a year, to fund the house. Mims said 56 women have confirmed so far, and several of those women have pledged to recruit more women.
Builds and events are voluntary, but participants are able to join teams to compete in the cook-off and game day. Winning recipes from the cooking contest will be compiled in a cookbook.
Patsy Kneller, Habitat's executive director, said Habitat in San Angelo builds three or four houses a year.
Each home takes about three to four months to complete, she said, and the family puts in "sweat equity" by working on the house. After their house is built they pay a mortgage to Habitat at zero interest -- money that goes into their Fund for Humanity to seed future homes.
The 100 Women Build program offers several options to pay, including authorizing the bank to allow Habitat to withdraw monthly, setting up an automatic payment through online banking, asking Habitat for a set of self-addressed envelopes to mail in the contribution or in one lump sum.