During his year of service, our friend Jake Schmetterer had the opportunity to volunteer with Habitat for Humanity in Wyoming. Without much contest, it was his favorite round of AmeriCorps and one we loved to talk about while we were slightly depressed over the monotonous work experienced in Arizona. Cooper and I both craved the chance to work with Habitat throughout our time in AmeriCorps but the opportunity never presented itself for a project round before we joined the fire team.
Luckily for us, Jake’s love for his project round in Wyoming made Habitat for Humanity, or issues regarding affordable housing, an easy choice for a social issue important to him. On Thursday, August 25th, we volunteered in honor of Jake with Habitat for Humanity located in Virginia, MN. We assisted in construction and had the opportunity to work alongside the couple who would eventually come to call this place their home.
The project was one of the most gratifying volunteer experiences we’ve ever had. From the beginning, the group we worked with made us feel as if we belonged. It felt like our shared goals and dedication to this project connected us all instantaneously. There were about six other volunteers there who help regularly with this specific project and we had such a great time connecting with them. One couple had been living out of a camper for five years. They travel from place to place volunteering their time as a part of an organization called Nomads. It was a comforting experience to connect with someone who is living out our dreams and to learn about their experience on the road.
The house was undergoing some electrical work, so Cooper and I had the chance to work outside. We helped construct a frame for a sidewalk they plan to pour before winter, and we dug an 18 inch line to bury a copper wire leading from the propane tank to the house. My favorite volunteer projects are always ones where you can see the product of your work, and that tangible evidence on Thursday made this experience an incredible one for the both of us.
As a part of Jake’s donation, he gave us enough to supply a week’s worth of mashed potatoes. To give some context, Jake was known in AmeriCorps for his culinary genius. Undesirable leftovers, pantry scraps, or anything lacking in much flavor would be thrown into a pot and turned into a pile of mush that he could consume throughout the day. I’m not sure if I ever saw Jake eat any solid foods that hadn’t been combined with numerous other ingredients to resemble some mashed potato-like dish, although I could be remembering incorrectly. Anyway, neither of us could think of a more fitting way to use Jake’s donation than with a week of mashed potatoes. Looking forward to that cold, wet week in Oregon where we get to think of our good friend Jake with every bite of Knorr’s dehydrated mashed potato meals. Thanks Jake for your donation and for your support of our goals!
Our campaign has taken off over the last month, with 16 people raising $725 so far! We’ve both been humbled by the love and support we’ve received from friends, family, and even some generous strangers intrigued by our dreams. If you’re interested in checking it out, follow the link on the right sidebar, and keep checking back here for stories of our volunteer experiences.