Habitat for Humanity of Talbot and Dorchester Counties AmeriCorps Members Assist in Iowa Flood Recovery

Two AmeriCorps members from Habitat for Humanity of Talbot and Dorchester Counties joined more than 500 Habitat for Humanity AmeriCorps*State and National AmeriCorps* and AmeriCorps VISTA members and alumni in building 20 Habitat for Humanity homes, in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, as part of the annual Habitat for Humanity AmeriCorps Build-A-Thon. These homes were built in partnership with families affected by the floods that devastated much of Iowa in 2008.

“This Build-A-Thon is a powerful way to highlight the need for affordable housing for victims of the Iowa flooding while also celebrating the many contributions AmeriCorps members make to Habitat and other organizations in thousands of communities throughout the country every day,” said Jonathan Reckford, CEO, Habitat for Humanity International. “We are so grateful to these hard-working AmeriCorps members for their commitment to eliminating poverty housing and we applaud them for their service.”

The AmeriCorps members from Habitat for Humanity of Talbot and Dorchester Counties, Abbie Baxley and Rhodana Fields, joined other members and alumni from across the country to work in partnership with Cedar Valley Habitat for Humanity and 20 low-income families. The 2009 Build-A-Thon celebrates 14 years of AmeriCorps members helping Habitat for Humanity affiliates and partner organizations build affordable houses and eliminate substandard housing.

“The process of building a Habitat house is as important as the product,” said Susan Devlin, Habitat for Humanity of Talbot and Dorchester Counties Executive Director. “We’re grateful that Rhodana and Abbie could take their Habitat skills and experiences from here on the Eastern Shore and put them to work in Iowa’s flood damaged communities.”

The first day of the Build-A-Thon marks the first anniversary of the day water from the Cedar River crested, leaving nearly ten square miles of Cedar Rapids under water.
The need for affordable housing is especially great in the Cedar Rapids area, where nearly 4,000 homes were damaged by fast-rising water during last year’s devastating floods. While 90 counties were declared federal disaster areas, Cedar Rapids was the most significantly affected region. Most of these homeowners did not have flood insurance.

“The best part of the trip was working with our homeowner,” stated Abbie Baxley, Habitat for Humanity of Talbot and Dorchester Counties’ AmeriCorps VISTA member. “She was there with us as we raised the walls, wrapped the house, hung the siding and got the house under roof.” Baxley, who completes her year of service with the local Habitat affiliate in June, has been working to organize and expand the organization’s volunteer program.

About Habitat for Humanity of Talbot and Dorchester Counties
Habitat for Humanity of Talbot and Dorchester Counties is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to eliminating substandard housing in the two county region. Since its founding in 1992, the organization has worked in partnership with volunteers, churches, community organizations, businesses, and its future homeowners to help more than 45 local working families achieve homeownership. To learn more about Habitat, to volunteer or to make a donation, visit www.hfhtdc.org or call 410-820-6186.

About Habitat for Humanity International
Habitat for Humanity International is an ecumenical Christian ministry that welcomes to its work all people dedicated to the cause of eliminating poverty housing. Since its founding in 1976, Habitat has built more than 300,000 houses worldwide, providing simple, decent and affordable shelter for more than 1.5 million people. For more information, visit www.habitat.org.

About Habitat for Humanity National Service Programs
Since 1994, Habitat for Humanity AmeriCorps*State and National, AmeriCorps*VISTA members have performed more than 5 million hours of service, engaged hundreds of thousands of volunteers and helped build more than 8,500 Habitat houses throughout the across the United States. For information about AmeriCorps programs, visit www.americorps.gov

About the Corporation for National and Community Service
The Corporation for National and Community Service is a federal agency that improves lives, strengthens communities, and fosters civic engagement through service and volunteering. Each year, the Corporation engages four million Americans of all ages and backgrounds in service through its Senior Corps, AmeriCorps and Learn and Serve America programs. For more information, visit http://www.nationalservice.gov.