By Dawn Wolfe Gutterman
YPSILANTI – On June 24 and 25, volunteers working during the first full weekend build of the Rainbow House got something they hadn’t bargained for. At noon, they were served a gourmet lunch.
Not all of the roughly 15 people who came each day to help build Michigan’s first LGBT-sponsored Habitat for Humanity House came armed with construction tools. One, Jim Macksood of Ann Arbor, came “armed” with roasted veggie sandwiches, complete with mozzarella and cream cheese, in order to feed the crew.
“We had a raging debate about whether it was gourmet or fattening,” said Rainbow House Project co-chair Nicole Appleberry, who added that Macksood insisted that the sandwiches had only “a very thin layer of cream cheese.”
But while the food was delicious, and the “gourmet vs. fattening” debate was fun, neither the Rainbow House Project committee nor the volunteers forgot the purpose that brought them all together to spend their weekend working. The five-bedroom house they are building will eventually be the home of Carla and her four children, aged 2-17. (last name withheld by request)
According to Appleberry, the first full weekend of building was very successful. The shed’s floors and walls were completed, and “we were putting the layer that comes between the basement and the first floor” on the house.
Though the work is, well, work, “It’s fun. It’s a riot,” Appleberry said, and urged anyone interested to come and help. “You don’t have to have any particular construction skills or experience – though of course we love people who have experience – but you just show up and people will show you what to do.”
Volunteers can register as individuals or as a group, Appleberry said, and added that groups of employees from her office as well as LaSalle Bank and Ford Motor Co. were among those that have registered to come and spend a day working on the house. The build will be going on through September, so there are plenty of weekends left to sign up for.
Appleberry said that her group has raised $50,000 toward the build but has yet to raise the final $25,000 necessary to complete the home for Carla and her children. Rainbow House has applied for a few grants, “but you can’t really count on that,” she said. To help reach the final goal, there will be a Texas Hold’em tournament on July 15, she said.
How to Help OUT
There are several valuable – and fun – ways that the LGBT community can support the Rainbow House Project, Michigan’s first LGBT-sponsored Habitat for Humanity house. One is to sign up to volunteer for one of the weekend build days, either to help build or to provide support services (including, perhaps, providing a gourmet lunch). Volunteers will be trained on site; no prior construction experience is necessary. To volunteer visit http://www.rainbowhouseproject.org and click on the “Volunteer” tab.
Another fun way to help is to attend the July 15 Texas Hold’em tournament. For just $50, gamblers, philanthropists and people who like to get out and have a good time can help support the Rainbow House Project beginning at 6:30 p.m. The top prize is $500, and the event will take place at the Glencoe Hills Apartments on Glencoe Hills Drive in Ann Arbor. To order tickets visit www.rainbowhouseproject.org.
If you enjoy making donations to worthy causes, visit http://www.rainbowhouseproject.org or send your check made payable to Habitat for Humanity to Rainbow House Habitat for Humanity Project, P.O. Box 130527, Ann Arbor, MI, 48113. Your investment will help insure that Carla and her children will have a home this winter.