There was a lot of excitement on June 28, the day the ground was officially broken at 521-2nd St., the site of the Humboldt Habitat for Humanity building project.
Now, three weeks down the road and work is progressing, albeit a little more slowly than anticipated, at the site that will house a bi-level duplex and give two families a chance to own their own home.
“It’s July, and I’m not really expecting a lot of volunteers right now,” said Tim Prytula, the jobsite’s project manager. “People are on holidays in July — kids are on holiday, so parents are on holiday.”
Prytula had two volunteers for the better part of the week of July 16 who worked at constructing all the outside walls of the lower level of the duplex.
Although it was great to have them both, two volunteers is a lot less than the number they hoped to have, or need to have, in order to keep the project advancing on schedule.
“Right now we’ve got about 100 volunteers signed up,” said Bob Bellamy, who has been co-chairing the Humboldt-based project with Ivan Buehler since its inception. “I’d say we need to double that figure.”
Volunteers have gradually been signing up since the project held its first meetings, in the fall of 2011. In an effort to boost that number, the organizing committee held a volunteer blitz in June that doubled the number of volunteers, bringing it close to the three-figure number. But Bellamy says they are finding it isn’t easy to get the people out in the early stages of the build.
“We do have some businesses that have signed up for a volunteer day,” he added, “but they’re not coming on until later in August. So in the meantime, we really do need more volunteers to help on the site.”
Prytula says that more people tend to show up or are able to help on Saturdays, which makes sense because many of the volunteers are working themselves during the week.
“It’s like experiencing growing pains,” Bellamy said about the whole project. “This is our first build, and we’re just finding out what some of the hitches are as we go along.”
On July 21, Prytula had eight volunteers signed up to work for the day. He said he planned to have them put up the basement walls that his two volunteers put together earlier that week.
The volunteer committee plans to leave some volunteer forms directly at the building site, so that passersby who notice the work going on, and stop to find out more, can fill out a form on the spot.
Otherwise, volunteer forms are still available at the Reid-Thompson Public Library — where there is also a pictorial display and information about Habitat for Humanity projects, at Humboldt City Hall, and at Partners Family Services.