Volunteers from Read Aloud Delaware put down their children's books, and picked up paintbrushes and caulk guns May 2 as they worked at a Habitat for Humanity construction site in Ellendale.
The eight volunteers joined about a dozen regular Habitat volunteer builders as they worked on one of four homes being built in the Ingram Village development. Those houses will bring to 17 the total number of Habitat properties in the community.
Habitat for Humanity strives to put God's love into action by bringing people together to build homes, communities and hope. Stacy Penaranda, Sussex County coordinator for Read Aloud, a statewide children's literacy program, sees a natural connection. "Partnering with Habitat for Humanity is an example of the kind of community outreach that Read Aloud Delaware here in Sussex County strives to foster with other organizations targeting populations in need," said Penaranda.
Through partnerships with corporations, nonprofits, churches, and regular volunteers, more than 3,000 people work with Habitat in Sussex County each year to build 14-15 houses. Some of the regular volunteers have been with Habitat for 20 years or more, and the oldest is 92 years old.
Read Aloud Delaware volunteers work to ensure that each preschool child in Delaware is regularly read to one-on-one. There are currently 230 volunteers throughout Sussex County in 43 child care centers, preschools and kindergartens.
Habitat Program Director Barbara Ward said volunteers are the lifeblood of both Habitat and Read Aloud Delaware. Their success, she said, is "all predicated on people having that desire in their heart to help their neighbor. The piece of this that is easy to miss is that the [nonprofit] directors could go away tomorrow, and houses would still be built. If the volunteers disappear, we wouldn't be able to build a thing. We can't live out our mission without the volunteers."
For more information on making a donation to or volunteering for Read Aloud Delaware, call 302-856-2527. To find out more about Habitat for Humanity, call 302-855-1153.