Habitat for Humanity of Greater Sioux Falls was honored to welcome 450 volunteers in 2020. Some of these volunteers served in early 2020, for example, when more than 100 volunteers came out to support Habitat during our two-day Women Build event in early March. Others served regularly throughout the year, pausing only when Habitat canceled volunteer shifts for 11 weeks during the Covid-19 outbreak. And still others joined us after the spring, when we were able to reopen volunteer shifts with changes to ensure social distancing and protective protocols were in place.
With such a challenging year, every single volunteer who joined us this year truly made a difference. They helped families continue to make progress on construction and maintain their health and safety through home preservation projects, and they made it possible to reopen the ReStore safely and efficiently.
“Our ministry in Sioux Falls was founded by a group of dedicated and passionate volunteers more than 30 years ago,” said Rocky Welker, Executive Director at Habitat Sioux Falls. “Many things have changed in that time but one thing hasn’t: selfless individuals still come together to help create life-changing opportunities for our neighbors. Just like 30 years ago, our organization would not exist without them.”
Several individuals and groups stand out as going above and beyond in serving this year. Though we had to forego our Volunteer Recognition Event, that doesn’t stop us from recognizing some of the people who have made a difference. In fact, we’ve included a few extra awards this year since there truly were too many people to thank.
When Habitat’s Construction Manager, Paul Johnson, starts with “really not much of a competition”, we know this group has made an impression. The Master’s Builders are a dedicated group of volunteers who serve most Tuesdays and Thursdays. This year, they continued to stay in touch as shifts were paused due to Covid and most were able to come back when precautions were in place. “The Master’s were our primary workforce this year,” said Johnson. They are dependable, extremely hardworking, and we could not have made as much progress without them. All together, the Master’s served 3,201 hours in 2020.
While this is Harris Law’s first appearance on an NR project, individuals from this group have served the Habitat mission through their involvement in our annual Women’s Build, taking leadership roles on Habitat’s Board of Directors, and even organizing a food-truck fundraiser for Habitat this year.
“It is with our affiliate’s gratitude that we recognize Harris Law & Co. as the 2020 NR Volunteer Group for the year,” said Lee Ferguson, Neighborhood Revitalization Coordinator.
“Rob is steadfast and we know we can always depend on him,” said Alisha Grove, ReStore Manager. In 2020, Rob has served 252 hours in the ReStore helping customers. “He is more than willing to stay late if needed, is known to tell a joke or two, and make a mean cup of coffee,” said Grove.
As a member of the Master’s Builders, John is a regular volunteer with Habitat. This was far from a regular year, however. In recognizing John for this award, Paul Johnson remarked that he was “not aware of John taking any time off this chaotic season. If the Master’s had a work day, John was there.” In total, John served 472 hours with Habitat last year.
As churches in the area had to suspend or limit services due to the pandemic, outreach groups had to be flexible as well. One group who consistently made this work was First Baptist Church.
“They really stepped up to fill in the voids this year and took some pressure off everyone,” said Johnson.
Together they served 1,157 hours with Habitat in 2020. In a year where volunteering consisted primarily of small, dedicated groups, First Baptist was one of the best.
Geotek Engineering and Testing put in 351 volunteer hours in 2020 to help build a home in the Habitat Annex that was later moved to Sherwood Avenue. They also helped panelize walls for homes on 9th Avenue and Archer Drive.
“The Geotek team has made it a priority to give back to the community each year by working onsite with us to help build homes during our winter months,” said Welker. “The beginning of 2020 was no different. Geotek stepped up in a huge way and volunteered their time over several weeks to help keep us on track for our build season.”
Harlow has been a volunteer with Habitat for several years. With the ReStore closed for part of 2020, Harlow still managed to serve 375 hours to help our ReStore staff process donated items.
“Harlow is a hardworking volunteer,” said Brittany Bandstra, Volunteer Coordinator with Habitat. “Without his help we wouldn’t be able to get donations on the sales floor as fast as we do. We appreciate all the hard work he has done this year, especially during the pandemic!”
We hope that 2021 will see a return to normalcy on our construction site. Until then, Habitat continues to schedule small groups for volunteer shifts throughout the calendar year. If you are able to join us, our Volunteer Coordinator can work with you to find a date that will work for your team. Every helping hand makes a difference!