WHAT HILLS? – WHAT HOPE?
Hope in the Hills Weekend of Hope
Seeking to put God’s love into action, Hope in the Hills of Warren brings youth and adults together to restore homes, community, and hope. But what does that really mean? It sounds nice. Everyone wears a purple t-shirt. Things get done. Paint brushes get paint on them….
Hope in the Hills of Warren, a community extension of Warren County Habitat for Humanity, seeks to improve the living conditions of the elderly, low-income and disabled persons in our community. Work is provided at resident owned homes in Washington Boro, Washington Township, Franklin, Mansfield, and Oxford by teams of teenagers and adults, representing many Christian denominations and different community organizations. Each year Hope in the Hills hosts The Weekend of Hope for minor home repairs, and the labor and materials are free to qualifying households. The work is not the heart of the mission, however. After all, it is not called the Weekend of Work
At the start of the process, volunteer Site Evaluators connect with the homeowners to touch base and make sure they and their jobs are good fits for the project. A lot of what gets done are little jobs — mostly safety related to make it possible for people to stay in their own home a little longer. There are many hills which the homeowners may be struggling to climb themselves. Adding to the struggle is that many homeowners used to be able to do these things for themselves. Some tasks or challenges, however small they may seem to the outside observer, are major obstacles in the eyes of those being served:
The Hills to climb:
- A basement railing, making it safe to go downstairs to do laundry
- Patching an uneven front patio to keep from tripping
- Picking up sticks and tree limbs in the yard from a storm
- Dusting the top shelf or the corners of the ceiling
- Changing smoke detector batteries
- Loneliness, physical decline, loss of independence, financial constraints
- Lack of connection to resources
Mobile Spiritual Leaders who visit the sites on the work days to meet with the homeowners and team members report that they witness the sadness, almost hopelessness of those who could no longer do the work themselves. Beyond the work that gets done, a transformation is put into action as homeowners share joy and thankfulness to have people there to help:
The Hope on the journey:
- Hopefulness of seeing GOOD things happening in their hometown while the news is filled with violence.
- Seeing the joy in the hearts of our volunteers gives all of us hope for the future.
- Amazing teens and adults who gladly give up their weekend to help those less fortunate.
- “I thank you from the bottom of my heart… I will be forever grateful and keep you in my prayers.”
- Community connections, including the resource directory provided
- Requests for follow-up with pastors
- Teens going back to play a game of cards
The Weekend of Hope often frees the homeowner of the burden of worry regarding the task they requested. As teenagers learn technical skills and engage in social interactions with their neighbors in need, Hope in the Hills continues its mission of building a community where God’s love is put into action. “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.” Matthew 22:36-39
Thanks to the HHW 2018 team!
A Day of Hope, hosted by Hope in the Hills of Warren, was made up of thirty five volunteers collaborating to clean and make small repairs to nine homes in Warren County. Thank you for the wonderful response from the WCHFH volunteer brigade! Fifty+ leaf bags were filled, one CO Detectors and three smoke detectors were installed, and six smoke detectors received new batteries. In all, three hundred and fifteen volunteer hours were donated! Both homeowners and volunteers experienced many blessings throughout the day.
Hope in the Hills offered a second opportunity to volunteer, the Weekend of Hope. Fifty-six volunteers, age fourteen and older, worked on fifteen resident homes within the Warren Hills sending district in southern Warren County, NJ. Minor home repairs such as painting, porch / deck repair, yard work and other small projects were completed.
Since Hope in the Hills began, 9 years ago, over twenty-seven thousand hours of labor has been put into helping two hundred and fourteen homeowners. $56,825 worth of materials were used at no cost to the homeowners.
The Hope in the Hills of Warren often frees the homeowner of the burden of worry regarding the task they requested. As teenagers learn technical skills and engage in social interactions with their neighbors in need, Hope in the Hills continues its mission of building a community where God’s love is put into action.