Building hope one board at a time at Dover First United Methodist

Many hands will make light work next weekend when members and friends of the Dover First United Methodist Church join together to build a house frame in the parking lot of the church.

By Stacey Carmany
The Budget

The Dover First United Methodist Church is seeking volunteers to assist with a community building project that will help address the local need for safe and affordable housing.

During the weekend of August 17-19, the church will be partnering with CrossRoads Missions to construct the frame of at least one house in the church parking lot as part of its first-ever Help Build Hope Community Mission Project.

“As we work here as a church trying to find different ways to reach out, the need for safe and affordable housing came to light, especially in the surrounding areas around Tusc. County,” explained Pastor David St. Aubin. “We got in touch with CrossRoads Missions, which is based in Louisville, Kentucky, and partnered up with them. They actually run the Help Build Hope Ministry, and they work with churches and organizations to do this.”

On the first day of the project, a small group of volunteers will measure and cut the lumber that will serve as the humble framework for a local family’s new beginning. That framework will be assembled on Saturday, and the church is hoping to recruit a small army of volunteers willing to donate their time and talents to the effort. “Saturday’s the big day,” St. Aubin said.

The pastor estimates that at least 150 volunteers will be needed for the project to run smoothly. “We’re looking for as many people as we can get,” he shared. “We’re just trying to get as much community involvement or church involvement as we can.”

All the necessary tools will be provided, and building volunteers need only bring themselves, some sunscreen and a pair of work gloves, according to the pastor.

In addition to laborers, there is also a need for volunteers to assist with preparing and serving meals, cleanup, audio, and more. “We’ll have a meal station set up. We’ll have registration. We’ll have first aid. If there are people that don’t want to build but can help move the lumber around, we’ll need help with that,” the pastor said. “There are lots of different ways to get involved.”

There will also be opportunities for children to get involved in the project, according to St. Aubin. “Anybody 5 and up that can swing a hammer is welcome to come,” he said. “If there are children they can help by moving smaller pieces of lumber.”

The pastor noted that the work will be completed rain or shine but will be put on hold in the event of a thunderstorm. “Unless there’s lightning in the area, we’re going to build it that day,” he said. “Even if it’s raining, we’re going forward with it.

There is also a need for volunteers on Sunday when the frame will be disassembled and loaded onto trucks. “We’ll leave it up through Sunday, and then after our church service Sunday, we’ll work with CrossRoads to take it apart and load it up onto trucks in sections, and then they take it off to the build site,” St. Aubin explained.

At this point, the church does not know where that site will be, according to the pastor. He noted, however, that CrossRoads is working closely with the local Habitat for Humanity to find a local family to inhabit the structure. “The hope is to keep it in Tusc. County, but there’s a possibility that it might go to Holmes County,” he said. “We don’t know for sure yet where it’s going. We’re hoping local so we can keep in touch with the family.”

Donations are being sought to help cover the cost of the project. In addition to building the frame, the church will also be providing the materials to put a roof on the house, according to St. Aubin. “We won’t put the roof on but we’ll buy the roof package and give that to CrossRoads,” he shared. “Everything in terms of the home itself is coming from us and from the community, whoever helps out with that, so the family receiving this home is getting a house, basically, something safe, something affordable.”

The church estimates that the cost to build the home will be about $13,000, which will cover all the materials, shipping, event expenses and travel costs for CrossRoads staff and volunteers.
The goal is to see the project grow into an annual, community-wide event. “The hope is that it kind of takes root with the community and we can continue to do this, maybe do two homes down the road, or whatever we can do to make it even more successful,” he shared. “That’s the hope is to get it rooted and get more and more of the community involved as we go each year.”

For information on volunteering as part of the project or donating, visit www.doverfirst.org/help-build-hope.html or call 330-343-1322.

This story originally appeared in the July 25, 2018 edition of The Budget. For more news, pick up a copy of this week’s edition available Wednesdays at area retailers. Better yet, subscribe and the news will be delivered to you each week. For more information, call us at 330-852-4634.