Dallas County Habitat for Humanity worked on a series of four renovation projects to homes in Perry from Wednesday, Sept. 20 until Saturday, Sept. 23. According to Outreach Coordinator, Omar Padilla, this year’s event was the best yet.
Around 180 volunteers worked over the four day span, completing tasks such as a painting siding, fixing window siding,internal work, and many other tasks.
Padilla credits the visibility of the organization and the desire to help one another.
“We found that as people become more and more familiar with Habitat for Humanity, that willingness to give up that day of your life becomes easier and a natural thing,” said Padilla.
Each year, a group of committee members analyze where work needs to be completed, followed by Padilla’s research looking at housing assessments.
Out of all Dallas County, Perry and Redfield are identified as the two towns with the most need, Padilla says.
“There’s a lot of need in Perry,” Padilla explained. “If you look at the map of Dallas County, there are two spots that pop out immediately: Perry and Redfield as communities that have a lot of housing blight, so that’s where we go.”
There’s a process that comes along with choosing the right home, according to Padilla, including a formal application.
“Part of it is we talk about it internally and we don’t select the project, the project selects us,” Padilla said.”
Pausing to take a break at one of the Perry residents during Friday’s volunteer session, mother-daughter volunteers, Teresa Schwartz and Alyssa Furlong discussed their why.
“It’s nice to be able to help someone out; we’ve got a decent home and I like the work,” said Teresa Schwartz, previous Perry resident. “In the world today there’s not enough of helping people just because.”
Schwartz was brought to the site by her daughter, Alyssa Furlong, who received volunteer time off, a now growing company incentive to allow employees to get out of their traditional routine.
“It kind of refreshes what they do and puts into perspective why they’re servicing a mortgage or servicing loans by being out in the community,” Padilla said.
According to Padilla, businesses have continued to encourage employees to take time off for service.
“It is something that different big businesses have found that they have this tremendous positive aspect for them as a company and culture,” Padilla said. “When you allow them the opportunity to step out of their desk for a day and swing a hammer and interact with their co-workers I think they’ve seen that it’s not only a positive, but it also creates a positive effect in the workforce.”
For Padilla, the ending result of a project always sticks out to him.
“It is always impactful for me personally to see the change in a home from the day when we start working to the day we’re done,” Padilla said.