EDMONTON- On the Neufeld Landing site in west Edmonton, 30 volunteers work to fit insulation, frame homes and feed hungry construction crews. They look like every other volunteer who steps onto the Habitat for Humanity site, with one big difference: they are all seniors.
Friendship Force is a group of Edmonton-area residents promoting international friendship. The 64-unit project, the largest in Habitat’s Canadian history, has been their main service project for the last seven years.
“We can see the progress,” Friendship Force member Lynne Duigou said when asked what kept the group coming back year after year. “Many of us are retired so we have the time to give back to the community.”
“We went through some of the homes to look at the layout,” she said. “(You) can just imagine how nice it would be to have your own home.”
Hundreds of volunteers have helped to make the Neufeld Landing project a reality.
“No matter how young or how old or what gender you are, helping build a Habitat home is really, really fulfilling,” Alfred Nikolai, president and CEO of Habitat for Humanity Edmonton, said.
The organization also celebrated Habitat for Humanity Day in the Capital Region, Wednesday. Families, sponsors and volunteers came together to celebrate the organization’s 25th anniversary. In those 25 years, 450 Edmonton-area families have been housed.
“I’m just so excited for what we’ve done,” Nikolai said. “But there’s also so much more work to do.”
Nikolai said for each of the 64 families that will be living in Neufeld Landing, as many as seven qualified families were turned away.
“It’s a difficult job,” he said.
“No matter how young or how old or what gender you are, helping build a habitat home is really really fulfilling,” Nikolai added.
The president and CEO said he is looking forward to the future and hopes to build not just homes, but also hope for families in need.