goleader.com - Union County, NJ Newspapers
Former Mayor Bud Boothe of Westfield recently returned from participating in the Habitat for Humanity - Canada "blitz build" for 1997. He was one of over 350 volunteers from all over Canada and the United States who joined several hundred local residents to construct in five days seven new homes in St. Johns, Newfoundland.
HELPING HANDS Bud Boothe, former Mayor of Westfield, foreground, Shannie Duff, Chairwoman of the Habitat for Humanity and another participant work together during a recent "Blitz Build" in St. Johns, Newfoundland. They are pictured constructing the sides on the rear deck of the Habitat home being completed for the Walsh family.
Habitat for Humanity, founded in 1976, is an international organization which builds simple, affordable houses around the world for low-income families who otherwise could not afford a home of their own. Its long-term objective is eliminating poverty housing worldwide, and it operates in 52 countries.
Since its inception, the organization has caused over 50,000 homes to be built worldwide for over 300,000 people. A new house is completed every 48 minutes. Canadian Habitat is an affiliate of the international organization.
Habitat homeowners participate in the building, contributing "sweat equity" on their own home and on those built for others. They must be able to carry a no-interest, long-term mortgage, the proceeds of which are then used to construct additional homes. Habitat does not receive government subsidies or grants.
The idea of a "blitz build" is similar to that of a community barn raising, where neighbors help neighbors in need, and get the construction project completed in a short period of time with the work of many hands, ranging from actual construction to food service to medical, housing, transportation and fund-raising support.
Reflecting on the week in St. Johns, Mr. Boothe said it combined a number of activities important to him -- volunteer efforts to help others, working with diverse and interesting people, doing carpentry and construction work, and traveling to new and interesting places.
Earlier this summer Mr. Boothe participated in the 1997 Carter "Blitz Build," named for former President Jimmy Carter and former First Lady Rosalynn Carter, who contribute a week annually working for Habitat for Humanity.
The former Mayor worked on one of six houses to go up in Morehead, Kentucky and one of 70 at seven sites in Appalachia.