Dear Edwards Community,
One way to have a lasting positive impact on a lot of people is to have a system that helps one family at a time, and then deploy that system over and over again across different communities. That is work at which Pioneer Valley Habitat for Humanity excels. They build strength, stability and self-reliance in low-income families and their communities by providing access to affordable homeownership, right here in the Valley.
Our relationship with Habitat began in 1994, when Edwards Church became a “covenant church,” which means we promised to pray for the ministry of Habitat, provide financial support, and promote their work. I hope you will join me and many others in reviving and putting flesh on the bones of that commitment.
Last June in this space I wrote about “The House that Faith Built,” a project in which Habitat has asked the inter-faith community of Northampton and surrounding towns to raise $30,000 and contribute 1,000 hours of volunteer time to help build one of three new small houses just off Glendale Road in Florence for a local family that otherwise could not afford one. The project is underway. Groundbreaking and foundation pouring are scheduled. September 30th there will be a blessing of the site.
To help reach the overall fundraising goal, at the request of the Outreach Committee the board of Trustees is providing a special “challenge” grant. For every dollar donated by a member or other regular participant in the life of our church, the Trustees will match that gift, up to a $3,000 cap. If we as a group of individuals give $2,500, the church as an institution will match that for a total of $5,000. If we as a group give $4,000, the institutional match will still be capped at $3,000, but that would be an amazing $7,000 gift from the Edwards community toward the overall goal.
Pledges and donations from a few houses of worship began over the summer, and Habitat has also obtained in kind donations from contractors and other service providers. (See the August update from Habitat in link below.) At its August meeting the Outreach Committee set our pledge, as a church, at $6,000, expressing the confidence that we would, as individuals, give at least $3,000. The total shown in the Habitat newsletter does not yet include our church’s pledge.
I know that many of us are already financially strained and cannot give to yet another cause, however worthy. I also know that those who are able to support one more worthy cause will be as generous as they can be. Outreach voted to pledge not only money, but also 100 hours of volunteer time to “The House that Faith Built,” which can be donated by doing work in the office at Habitat or on the construction site.
There will be opportunities to learn more about this important work to help our neighbors and collaborate more closely with other faith communities. Stay tuned, and be ready to jump in!