By SHERI GASSAWAY
St. Charles – Eight female carpenters recently spent their Saturday ensuring that at least one St. Louis-area family has a place to call home.
The union carpenters – all from the Sisters in the Brotherhood (SIB) of the St. Louis-Kansas City Regional Carpenters Council – showed up ready to work Aug. 6 as part of the Habitat of Humanity of St. Charles County’s Women Build program.
Donning carpenter whites, steel-toed boots and hard hats, the ladies put their hammers to work to help construct a new home at 240 Diekamp Lane in St. Charles.
Fortunately, this summer’s scorching heat stayed away for the day with temperatures in the 80s and cloudy skies, and volunteers were able to get a lot accomplished. They put up joists and sheet rock, installed stair strings and tread and placed siding on the house.
“It gives us the opportunity to give back to the community and at the same time showcase our skills and let the public know women can and do build,” said Cindy Frank, SIB coordinator. “It’s a great feeling.”
The St. Charles home is Habitat of Humanity of St. Charles County’s fourth Women Build home. This is the third year SIB has participated in the project. SIB also donated $1,500 that went toward building materials and the purchase of the land.
Beth Barton, a SIB member from Carpenters Local 1596, has taken part in Habitat’s Women Build program for two years.
“It helps the community and raises awareness of women in the construction industry,” said Barton, who is also president of Missouri Women in Trades.
Melia Welch, of Carpenters Local 97, participated in the project for the first time on Aug. 6.
Barton said comradery was one of the reasons she was looking forward to the event.
“It’s a lot of fun because we don’t often get to work with all women on a job, and these are exceptional women,” she said.
While the majority of volunteers on the Aug. 6 project were female carpenters, they did have help for the day from one brother – Chris McLane, of Carpenters Local 32. “We really appreciated Chris’ help,” Frank said.
The home, which is scheduled for completion this fall, will be presented to a local family in need during a dedication ceremony planned for October.
ABOUT WOMEN BUILD
In the Habitat for Humanity of St. Charles Women Build program, women provide volunteer labor for an entire house build, including everything from raising money for materials to hoisting the first wall to final landscaping touches. The emphasis is to concentrate the talents and resources of women who want to contribute to a meaningful change in their community.
The program, which reaches across boundaries of gender, race and class, supports the efforts of Habitat for Humanity to eliminate substandard housing. It brings together women from all walks of life to address the housing crisis facing millions worldwide. No experience is necessary and on-the-job training is available.
ABOUT HABITAT FOR HUMANITY OF ST. CHARLES COUNTY
Habitat for Humanity of St. Charles County believes that every man, woman and child should have a decent, safe and affordable place to live. The organization builds and repairs houses in St. Charles County using volunteer labor and donations. Partner families buy the homes through no-profit, no-interest mortgage loans and complete a minimum of 350 sweat equity hours. For more information, call 636-978-5712 or visit habitatstcharles.org.