Habitat for Humanity of Boone County on Loving Our Neighbors

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February 2021

The executive director of Habitat for Humanity of Boone County (HFHBC) Liz Qua eloquently reminds us that “The richness of diversity cannot ever be minimized.” In the spirit of that sentiment, I spoke with Qua about this year’s build projects. The organization successfully built and dedicated two homes amid the pandemic last year and plans on dedicating three this year: a community build, a faith build and a women build.

Habitat for Humanity 2021

HFHBC 2021 Builds

This year’s HFHBC Community Build brings our community together to build hope and a home for a single dad with three teenage kids. Many of you may know this soon-to-be homeowner, Blake White, from Cobblestone in Zionsville where he is a dedicated employee and beloved server. Blake completed almost all the required 200 hours of “sweat equity” and built an emergency savings account, despite the pandemic.

Blake currently lives in a two-bedroom apartment in Indianapolis. He applied for Habitat for Humanity of Boone County in 2019 and has been working hard with his budget coach, Deb, and mentor, Margie. Blake is excited to have a home for stability for his kids but also to work in his garden, BBQ, put up Christmas lights on the porch and hand out candy at Halloween. Blake says, “I am ready for my life to be predictable and stable. I’m ready to have my forever home.” The wall build date for Blake’s home is scheduled to begin April 24.

Habitat for Humanity 2021

Habitat for Humanity of Boone County will be again partnering with Boone County churches and community for our 2021 Faith Build.

This year’s HFHBC 2021 Faith Build tells a harrowing tale of courage, sacrifice and survival: Mohamad and Nisreen and their three children at the time, ages 6, 4 and 1. The family left their home and close-knit community in Aleppo, Syria, to escape the fierce bombing and unexpected destruction of their neighborhood.

With just a few clothes in bags, Mohamad and his family navigated—at times on foot—through deadly landmines on a 2- to 3-foot-wide path. At one point in their passage to safety, Mohamed lovingly carried his mother—who suffered severe heart issues— on his back many miles to the Turkish border.

Through the United Nations, Mohamad applied for refugee status to come to the U.S. There is a program through the U.N. that loans refugees money to move to other countries. Mohamad and his family arrived in Indianapolis and set up their household in an apartment. Having added two children to their family in the process of their heart-wrenching journey to freedom and security, Nisreen works as an order packer at a local warehouse, and Mohamad is navigating virtual schooling with all five of their children.

Habitat for Humanity 2021

They applied with Habitat for Humanity of Boone County with the dream of home ownership and a forever home. The construction of their house will begin on May 15 in Lebanon, Indiana.

Women Build is a national Habitat for Humanity program designed to provide a comfortable learning environment for women to discover they can build Habitat for Humanity homes. This year’s Women Build homeowner is expected to be announced next month.

Qua shared that Blake and Mohamad’s lots are next door to one another in Lebanon. The three parents have met and have struck up a friendship that will likely only grow with time and through neighborly bonding.

“We need to love on these people,” Qua emphasized. “We need to embrace them and bring them into our community. There are many challenges in life, and we will do our best to help them. They are going to live right next to one another, and Blake and Mohamad are genuinely excited for each other. It’s really awesome.”

Ways to Contribute to HFHBC

This year’s HFHBC theme is “Love Our Neighbors”—a fitting theme, all things considered. It is also the theme for HFHBC’s fundraiser that will take place both in person and virtually on March 13.

Safety is the organization’s foremost priority. So, with that in mind, HFHBC will offer two in-person events and a virtual component to the fundraiser. Safety protocols will be enforced at the event just as they have been adhered to during the builds.

“We safely built two houses last year during the pandemic and didn’t have a single case of COVID-19 as a result of our builds,” Qua emphasized. “We’ve changed the way that we’ve done things to make it work. And for the fundraiser, we’re extremely fortunate to have the space at [HFHBC] ReStore in Zionsville. We will have two small in-person events in one day. The in-person events will be 1 ½ hours each, and we’ll have the virtual event will go on during the in-person events. There is a 50-person max for the in-person events, and we’ll have boxed appetizers and desserts.”

For times/details and to register for this year’s fundraiser on March 13, or to donate to HFHBC, visit boonehabitat.org. Volunteer opportunities are posted on the website as well as a link to volunteer! If you are interested in donating box lunches for the build volunteers this year, please email Liz Qua at [email protected].