PEORIA, Ariz. — U-Haul Team Members volunteered with Habitat for Humanity Central Arizona on Oct. 21 to help build a home for an Arizona family in need.
While some were catching up on Saturday morning sleep, Team U-Haul met up at Lot 41038 in Peoria when it was still dark and chilly outside. The group was a mix of veterans and new recruits to the monthly U-Haul volunteer opportunities.
Volunteers arrived to the aroma of donuts and coffee. Lined up next to a shed were crates of helmets, glasses and tool packs with various compartments. Volunteers put on their gear and prepared for some manual labor.
Habitat for Humanity house leader Dave Elston gathered the U-Haul volunteers to discuss what was on the agenda. He also emphasized the safety rules that must be followed, and expressed his thanks for U-Haul Company’s volunteering partnership with the organization.
“(Volunteers) get to do something they don’t normally get to do, and they feel that same sense of accomplishment at the end of a build day as I do,” Elston shared.
A touching moment occurred when Elston introduced U-Haul Team Members to the family who would move into the home once it was completed. They shared their story and why they sought help from Habitat for Humanity Central Arizona. The pep talk concluded with a prayer from Elston.
U-Haul Team Members worked throughout the property and did so cohesively, mainly on the roof. For those who chose not to climb up on to the roof, there was much to be done on the ground level.
A group of volunteers cleared up the front of the property while others hammered away. Some were cutting materials in the backyard as Habitat for Humanity’s leadership group supervised and guided the group through the work.
It was a domino effect: one person’s work assisted the process of someone else’s task. It was teamwork at its finest.
Ana Requeno, a business analyst for Oxford Life Insurance Co., shared her first volunteer experience with Habitat for Humanity Central Arizona.
“This was fun,” she noted. “I was worried I was going to get hurt or not have any (educational) takeaways. On the contrary, I learned a ton (from working on the roof) and it was such an extraordinary experience!
“My team leader, Ken, made the experience so much more fun and enjoyable. Ken taught us how it’s done. The most rewarding part of this experience was knowing I was helping a family build their first home and getting to meet them.”
Although Team Members were eager to finish as much of the house as possible, it was getting hotter by the minute. Everyone took a break when lunch arrived. Volunteers sought out shade that was available and mingled with others for the rest of their free time.
Shortly thereafter, Habitat for Humanity decided to halt work for the day as Arizona temperatures approached their peak hours. As volunteers stowed tools and gear, several expressed enthusiasm about returning to the house the following weekend.
When there is a family in need, U-Haul and its charity partners are eager to lend a helping hand.