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June 25, 2011

A Lunch That Feeds Your Soul

The Lunch That Fed My Soul

Today I enjoyed one of the best lunches I have ever had.  It was a simple meal that not only filled my stomach and provided much needed energy, it also satisfied me in a way a lunch never has before.  The cheeseburger with mustard, mayo, pickles and tomato (a first time burger condiment combination for me by the way) was served with potato chips from a bag, cole slaw from a bucket and little brownie bites for dessert.  My dining partners were dozens of volunteers for Habitat For Humanity and we were working on Phase 3 of their build in the JeffVanderLou Neighborhood.

I wanted to do some volunteering for some time and a friend suggested we try Habitat.  I had always been curious about their program and thought it sounded like a great way to do some hands on volunteering while meeting new people and enjoying a great experience.  I am very happy to say all of these things were true.  Every charity needs monetary donations, including Habitat For Humanity, and that is always a great way to help any cause but volunteering my time was much more satisfying.  Time and energy are also free and you can give as much of it as you have.  It was a great reminder of all the great things I am lucky enough to have in life that others may not enjoy and that there are very simple ways you can help. In addition to all the warm and fuzzy stuff and some good physical activity you may also learn something you didn’t know about building or working on homes that you can apply to your next do it yourself project.

The best part about volunteering for a build is the people you meet.  Our crew was lead by a couple I would guess is in their fifties who got involved with their church and have been doing it for nine years.  There was an OBGYN from Ladue, a retired speech pathologist for the Special School District from Fenton, a group of people from Anheuser Busch and various contractors and handymen.  There were a few teenagers alongside people who were retired.  Some had been doing it for years and for some like me it was their first time.  Many different reasons motivated these people to volunteer but we all had the same goal, to get involved and help our community.

The one group I didn’t get to meet today was the family that would be the new occupants of the home.  There is a new selection process that has things a bit backed up so this particular house has yet to be awarded to a buyer.  Typically you not only meet but also work alongside the owners as you listen to stories of who will have what room and all their wishes for the new life in their new home.  Many times these are the first homes these families will own.

Maybe next time I will get to meet the new owners and enjoy that amazing experience of building their future home together.  Maybe next time I will meet one of you, next to me, swinging a hammer for people we have never met before, telling each other what we do in our normal lives and making plans for the next time we can volunteer.

If you want to do something great for someone while you meet new and interesting people and get exercise at the same time, Habitat For Humanity is for you.  It is easy to participate, there are many ways you can volunteer and they may just give you a lunch that nourishes more than your body.  It’s a lunch that feeds your soul!

This year marks the 25th Anniversary of Habitat For Humanity.  Follow the link for info on how you can get involved.


Here is the JeffVanerLou Build Site.  These are 6 of the 7 homes going up right now.


Here’s Tony The Builder!

Today we will frame a roof over the deck.

Now it looks like this.

And soon it will look like this home previously built by Habitat in the neighborhood.

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