Knights of Columbus councils help give shelter, particularly by supporting Habitat for Humanity. In 2015 alone, Knights donated $667,063 and over 1 million volunteer hours.
Habitat for Humanity is a nonprofit, Christian organization founded in 1976 that seeks to eliminate poverty housing and homelessness one family at a time. The organization assists in providing quality-built, affordable homes to needy families by cooperatively involving the future homeowner with community volunteers and suppliers to build or renovate the home. To date, Habitat for Humanity has provided more than 6.8 million people with safe, personal shelters by completing over 800,000 houses in more than 100 countries with a goal of a million homes around the world.
In addition to a down payment, recipients work alongside the construction crew and volunteers, and are then provided an affordable mortgage plan. The Knights of Columbus enthusiastically supports the mission of Habitat for Humanity, which not only helps people to become homeowners, but actively involves them in the houses’ preparation. This teaches valuable skills, develops confidence and provides experience.
There are many ways your council can help families in your community to secure quality housing:
- Work with Hope Builders, a foundation of Habitat for Humanity. Your council could raise money and become a monthly donor, knowing that your donation will be put to good use right away.
- Council members with a trade background or even those that just like to be active can volunteer their time and talents. Contact your local Habitat for Humanity affiliate or visit www.habitat.org for information on volunteer opportunities in your community.
Offering to feed the workers a hearty meal can be invaluable. Helping to build a house can certainly stir up an appetite!
If your council or assembly donates both $1,000 and 200 man hours to Habitat for Humanity, it will fulfill all four requirements for the community activities category of the Columbian Award (SP-7).
Councils, assemblies, and circles are encouraged to promote this program to their membership, inviting personal consideration as well as implementing this program as an ongoing charitable event.
- Appoint a Habitat for Humanity chairman or assign the task to the community activities director for your council.
- Contact your state council to identify if there is a state chairman who is responsible for coordinating statewide activities and determine how your council, assembly or circle can support these activities and initiatives.
- Set a goal to raise an annual contribution for Habitat for Humanity (a specific dollar amount, a specific amount of volunteer hours, etc). Plan how to best assist with the building of the home from hammering nails to serving food.
- Habitat for Humanity operates ReStores, which sells reusable and surplus building materials and appliances to the public, with proceeds going to fund local Habitat for Humanity houses. Council members or parishioners may have materials to donate; promote this service in your local parish bulletin by asking people to donate for the cause.
The following information is provided to assist with implementing an event or program within your state council, local council, assembly or circle to support Habitat for Humanity.
For additional information on how your council, assembly or circle can participate with Habitat for Humanity, please contact the Supreme Council Department of Fraternal Mission at 203-752-4270.