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Habitat for Humanity asks for volunteers

Volunteers from Riverside Methodist Church inscribed blessings and well wishes on lumber for the Bower home.1 / 3
Twenty-one volunteers arrived Thursday, the first day of construction. By early afternoon, they were raising walls. Next up: raise the roof.2 / 3
Flo Heeden and Riverside Methodist Pastor Chip Nielsen pounded nails for Habitat for Humanity on Thursday, building one of the walls for the Bower home. (Photos by Shannon Geisen/Enterprise)3 / 3

Lakes Area Habitat for Humanity (LAHFH) seeks volunteers to build a new home in Park Rapids.

No tools and no experience needed. On-site training is offered.

The home, located at 621 Third Street West, is for April Bower and her two teenage daughters.

The goal is to get it enclosed before harsh winter weather hits.

"We hope, by the middle of next week, to have the roof on," said Duane Gebhard, chair of the Hubbard County chapter of Habitat for Humanity. "Once we get that far, then we can work inside."

Concrete flooring was poured in mid-November. Volunteers began framing the house on Thursday.

Wintry weather stalled the start of construction earlier in the week.

"With the winds being 50 miles an hour, it's just not safe so we delayed it," explained volunteer coordinator Karen Skarolid.

A professional staff member oversees construction. Cement work, electrical, plumbing and landscaping is performed by subcontractors.

Construction typically takes up to six weeks.

Volunteer shifts are half days or full days, from 8 a.m. to noon and 12:30 to 4:30 p.m. Fifteen to 25 volunteers are needed per shift.

"Every day we're starting at 8 o'clock," said Gebhard. "For those that are here all day, there's lunch provided."

Volunteers can sign up individually or as a group. Bank employees and church members are currently slated to help, Skarolid noted.

Swinging a hammer is not the only requirement for serving on a Habitat for Humanity project. Volunteers perform a variety of skilled and unskilled tasks, including framing, vinyl siding, sheetrocking, painting, flooring and installing trim. There's a need for office work, record keeping and financial contributions, too. Opportunities change day to day and occur both indoors or outdoors.

The Bowers have also committed to providing 300 hours in "sweat equity" as the home is being constructed.

A small house previously on the lot burned down, Gebhard said, and that owner made the property available to LAHFH.

Flo and Carter Hedeen were among Thursday's crew. Having built their own cabin and the Village of Smoky Hills, they brought plenty of expertise.

"I will come back as often as I can until the project is done," said Flo. "We'll do all that we can."

Hand warmers in her work gloves kept the chills at bay.

"If you can't work, you can still offer support through money," she said. "Things don't happen without volunteers."

Various local restaurants — Zorbaz, Casey's and Pizza Ranch to name a few — have donated hot meals for the volunteers over the next couple of weeks.

"That's nice, so we don't eat cold lunches," said Skarolid.

In the past, local service groups or churches have also contributed coffee or meals for the volunteers.

LAHFH is a nonprofit, ecumenical Christian, housing ministry that serves Hubbard, Cass and Crow Wing counties and the city of Staples.

Since 1990, LAHFH has built 110 homes, which provides strength, stability and independence for partner families and gives them a decent and affordable homeownership.

For more information or to sign up for a shift, contact Skarolid at 218-828-8517 or volcoord@lakesareahabitat.org.

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