Men involved with Farm Ministries, a sober living environment located just outside Sylacauga, are volunteering their time to assist with construction of the most recent Habitat for Humanity home. Although it is a simple act, Farm Ministries co-owner Scott Kay said the work goes a long way toward helping their participants, who each battle some type of addiction, lead a balanced life.
“They enjoyed helping somebody else and having something they could actually see going up,” he said. “Now they’ll be able to drive by and say, ‘Hey, I helped build that house.’”
The men also volunteer at the community garden and are encouraged to participate in church and secure jobs during their year-long stay. Kay, a recovering addict himself, said giving back is an essential part of changing the “addict” mentality of their 18 participants.
“Volunteering teaches them not to be selfish and a taker,” Kay said. “They learn to be a giver. As addicts, we would take anything you’ve got to get what we want, so it’s time to give back freely without wanting anything in return.”
Sylacauga-area Habitat board president Celeste Landers said Farm Ministries’ help has been instrumental in the construction of their 11th home, located at 312 W. Coosa St.
“The past couple of homes built in Sylacauga have been a struggle due to lack of volunteers, but thanks to Farm Ministry volunteers, along with volunteers from Carpenters for Christ, Resolute Forest Products Mill Services and individual volunteers from Talladega, Coosa County and Sylacauga, we are having a much more successful year.”
Built entirely with volunteer labor, Landers said Habitat was concerned about starting another home since volunteers were few and far between the past several years, but ultimately they took a leap of faith.
“We decided to pray about it and trust in God to meet the needs of our affiliate and the future homeowners, who are in need of a safe, quality home,” she said. “God has truly blessed us.”
Landers said they have also had great participation during this project with people and businesses supplying food for workers. So far, food has been provided by Jim & Janice Adams, Virginia Ellis, Barry & Celeste Landers, Ruby Gentry, Karen Kelley, Robbie Ludman, American Foam Cast, Popeye’s, Captain D's, Sonic, Dairy Queen, Pizza Hut, Good Old Boys, Hickory Street Cafe, Golden Rule, Giovanni's and Kentucky Fried Chicken.
The house, expected to be complete this spring, is being built for future homeowner Valerie Paris and her daughters, Tainiya Garrett, Demysha Rowell, Zaria Rowell and Iyanna Paris.
Kay said Farm Ministries will continue to volunteer as needed, both with Habitat and other causes around the city.
“We have to give back to the community some of what we have taken from it,” he said. “God has been working in us.”
Habitat projects require skilled and unskilled labor, and volunteers are always welcome. Work is typically conducted from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. For more information or to volunteer, contact Landers at 256-401-3121.
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