When I joined the Board of Directors of Knoxville Habitat four years ago, I quickly realized how little I knew about the organization.
I knew at that time that this is an organization with a great reputation in our community and builds houses for deserving families.
What I did not know was that these families receive a first-class education about the responsibilities of becoming a homeowner during the time leading up to building their home, as part of their 500 hours of “sweat equity.” I also didn’t know about the outstanding retail operation at the ReStore. In addition, I did not have an appreciation for how many great partners and volunteers it takes to build the homes, provide the education and help at the ReStore – not to mention the dedicated employees that have worked so hard to establish the great reputation in our community!
One of my favorite things about serving on the Board at Knoxville Habitat is attending the home dedications. It would be impossible to adequately describe in words the joy that everyone experiences during a dedication. Seeing the look in the eyes of the family members as they realize their lives are forever changing is something so special you just have to experience it for yourself.
A common misconception is that Knoxville Habitat gives the houses away. Of course, this is not how it works. In keeping with the motto “a hand up – not hand out,” the homeowners purchase their home at cost (no profit) with an interest-free mortgage. The mortgage payments allow Knoxville Habitat continue to build more homes and give other families a “hand up.”
If you are interested in volunteering at Knoxville Habitat, there are countless opportunities available – building homes, providing education to future homeowners and working at the ReStore – just to name a few. There are also many other ways to provide support, such as through a Covenant Partnership (to sponsor a home build), financial gifts, donations at the ReStore, and estate/legacy planning.
Regardless of how you choose to support Knoxville Habitat, I can assure you that you will receive much more than you give. This past year we built and dedicated the 500thHome for a partner family. We also celebrated with several of our homeowners who made their final mortgage payment and now own their homes with no debt. These individuals are hard-working, contributing members of our community that did not qualify for a conventional mortgage.
May God continue to bless the ministry of Knoxville Habitat for Humanity.
Very truly yours,
Knoxville Habitat for Humanity