Today is World Habitat Day - a day when the families, staff and volunteers of Habitat for Humanity homes, affiliates and more worldwide can take a moment to celebrate our successes, but also to remember and reflect upon the harsh truth that there are many needy families and people for whom decent, adequate housing remains but a dream.
It's not only a global problem, but one that many people here in Tiffin and the surrounding area face on a daily basis. And although Seneca Habitat for Humanity is just as proud to celebrate our track record of homes that we've built and continue to build, we would like to remind everyone that the lack of adequate housing for needy families is not a problem that will go away overnight - and that it's something everyone needs to be aware of.
Awareness, in this case, means I invite anyone who reads this letter to find out more about what Seneca Habitat has done and is doing in Tiffin. Are you handy with tools or have construction experience? Do you believe in helping others and giving back to our community? Do you want to make a meaningful financial contribution, one that you'll be able see the fruits of as our houses take shape? If you answered "yes" to any of those, then we'd love to have you working with us and our partner families on our build site.
I'll recap a bit: Habitat for Humanity affiliates have built 500,000 homes to date (with the 500,001st being started in New Jersey). In Ohio, our 66 affiliates have built more than 3,000 homes. And right here in Tiffin, Seneca Habitat for Humanity has completed 40 homes over the past 25 years, with homes No. 41 and No. 42 nearing completion, home No. 43 under way, and home No. 44 in the planning stages for the start of construction next spring. And yet, despite all of this, the need for safe, decent, affordable housing is stronger than ever.
That's where you come in. Help us build our homes with our families. Help by lending your support. Help by spreading the word about Habitat to those who need to find out more about us. Help by volunteering and watching the home literally take shape in front of your very eyes. Can it be hard work to do some or all of this? Yes. Does it mean stepping out of your comfort zone a bit to lend a hand to others? It might. But believe me, the moral rewards, the spiritual rewards and the physical rewards are more than worth it.
That's what makes our dedicated corps of volunteers so special - they volunteer their time and labor to help build our homes: Seneca Habitat's Building Committee - Gaylen Kline, Jim Ruess, Jim Robenault, Glenn Ritzenthaler, Dan Galaba - and everyone else who's out there putting the homes up. Our board of directors - too many to list here - who are dialed in, dedicated, compassionate, and who help me make sure the agency stays on the right path. Ruth Metcalf and our Saturday lunch providers, who help provide delicious food to our volunteers on Saturdays. Companies from around our area who have stepped up in big ways to apply their professional, high quality of work to roofing, shingling, flooring, and more - including Clouse Construction, Sentinel Building Trades, Sentinel Electrical Trades, A-Mark Roofing, and ACI Construction Co., Inc.
Joe Swora is executive director of Seneca Habitat for Humanity.
These are just some of the individuals and groups that are helping make an impact on the quality of lives of our families, and if you want to find out more about what we do or how to join them, I invite you to give me a call or send me an email. Seneca Habitat can be reached via phone at (419) 447-4270, and via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. We are open Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. until 5 p.m, and would love to hear from you.