A Hand-Up, Not a Hand-Out
"I've been doing volunteer work for many years, but this was a unique experience."
"This was just a very rewarding experience, something I had not really experienced at any other volunteer work I've done before," Dale Kunkel says. "I've been doing volunteer work for many years, but this was a unique experience."
"This was just a very rewarding experience, something I had not really experienced at any other volunteer work I've done before," Dale says. "I've been doing volunteer work for many years, but this was just a unique experience."
As Dale first learned about the project back in April of 2005, "I just had a really good feeling inside that this might be something that has some real value, that could really impact the community, can really impact people, moving them from poverty or low-income housing to something that they can afford."
What he liked the most was that Thrivent Builds wasn't a hand-out. "This project was a 'hand-up.' The homeowners got involved. You got to work closely with the recipients and meet with people who already had Habitat houses and see the impact it had on their lives."
However, Dale found that many people were very apprehensive about getting involved because, like him, they had no experience with tools or with building. "I have never built anything in my life. I didn't know how to handle a hammer or use a screwdriver."
But that initial reluctance gave way to enthusiasm. "We worked with different congregations and churches in the chapter, bringing them onboard, and people coming out to help. They saw the way the supervisors and the Habitat people worked with them and helped them. They just had a great day. The word of mouth came back of the great experiences they had working with the homeowners, and more and more people got involved."
Fund-raising efforts also gained momentum as the project moved forward. "We picked up congregations that had shown absolutely no interest before," Dale recalls. "It was just phenomenal the growth and the involvement throughout this project from beginning to end."
To congregations that still may be unsure about taking on fund-raising and volunteer recruitment for a Thrivent Builds project, Dale says "I can't say enough good things about what it would do for your congregation as the word gets out and the people come out to see what it's all about.
"The momentum starts going, and it happens. People get ideas on how to raise funds and how to put groups of volunteers together. And the friendships are there, working together on the site.
"It's a great Christian experience. It's a great way to express your faith in a real, positive way."