Habitat for Humanity: Jenn's Story

Habitat for Humanity Group

At Compare.com, we understand how lucky we are to have a roof over our heads. There are so many who don’t have the same privilege for whatever reason. That’s why we’ve partnered with Habitat for Humanity since 2016, helping to build houses for local families who would otherwise struggle to attain affordable housing.

Richmond’s Habitat for Humanity chapter was established in 1986 and has since built more than 300 homes across the region. Twice a year, ten employees from Compare.com head to a local site to volunteer. It’s one of the highlights of the Compare.com volunteering calendar. We spoke to one of Compare.com’s employees, Jenn, about what volunteering for Habitat was really like.

What interested you in signing up for Compare.com’s Habitat for Humanity Build?

I originally signed up because I like handy stuff and being outside. I was also attracted to building a home for someone who really needs it. I love being part of a team and having the opportunity to be part of such a huge project was exciting to me.

What was the plan for the day?

We arrived at the building site at 8am, a nice early start. There were around 10 volunteers from Compare.com and we were split across two sites. Everyone was given hard hats, eye protection and gloves. Then we had a pep talk, making sure that we were safe on the site.
We worked through the morning and broke for lunch. Compare.com provided sandwiches, chips and Gatorade so that we had plenty of energy for building. Oh, and tons of water cos it was sure was hot! We finished up a few pieces in the afternoon and were all done by about 2:30pm.

Caulking windows Habitat for Humanity

Were you nervous about being able to do all the DIY?

I was a bit nervous at first, I hadn’t done much more than hang up a couple of pictures at home. But the leaders at the build were so helpful, they explained everything really well and made sure we all felt comfortable completing the tasks. A couple of my colleagues had volunteered because they do quite a bit of DIY in their spare time, so they were able to pick up any of the more advanced tasks.

What kind of things did you get up to?

What didn’t we do?! In the morning we built a staircase, it was really interesting to learn about what goes into that process. A couple of the other volunteers cut the wood and then we hammered it in to make the steps. Once we’d finished there, we moved on to caulking the windows. Throughout the day, I used all kinds of tools I’ve never even touched before, like a nail gun.

Habitat for Humanity building a staircase

After we’d finished the build, we all went to Triple Crossing Brewing Company, a local brewery and had a well deserved drink. It was a great team building activity with my colleagues, there was such a strong sense of camaraderie. We all debriefed about things that we’d learnt and how awesome it was to be part of building somebody’s future home.

What would you say to people who are thinking about volunteering with Habitat for Humanity?

Being part of something that will literally change a family’s life is something incredible. There was such a strong sense of camaraderie and it was great getting to know my colleagues better and even making some new friends on the project. On top of all this, I learnt so many skills that I can use in my own home. I feel much more confident about DIY than ever before, maybe there’s a new career waiting for me as a handywoman!

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