The Good News Project: Building Homes for Underprivileged

By: Jonalee Merkel Email
By: Jonalee Merkel Email

Every January, volunteers fly down to the West Indies, and build homes for the underprivileged.

But with such a great need for housing, it's often difficult to decide who gets a home and who doesn't.

That's why the organization set up a committee of community leaders on each island.

The housing committee reviews applications from single mothers, the elderly, families with handicapped children, and financially unstable families.

After visiting with each of the applicants, Good News' West Indian Partners are faced with the profound task of deciding who's the neediest.

"First I look at where they come from. Sometimes when you go and see the house they are living in, the condition of the house, especially when they have children, sometimes the house is missing boards or has holes in them. And they live in a one bedroom house and they're paying the rent for $350 and their salary is not even $350. So I give those people priority first," says Noella Williams, St. Lucia Good News Coordinator.

Those who are picked to get homes are informed in late summer, and then they wait until Good News volunteers arrive in January.

That's when they start to see the construction process begin, and a new start coming their way.

But nothing compares to the moment the traditional house blessing occurs, and the structure officially becomes their home.

"Blessings. I was feeling blessed because God see the need," says Maryanna Aimable.

"It's one of the most incredible feelings ever when you get to hand a set of keys over to a family or to a individual who you just built this home for," says Ruth Van Zeeland, Good News Project volunteer. "I have seen many many house blessings over the past seven years and I don't think I've ever been able not to cry at any of them because it's just a really moving experience."

Some who are overwhelmed, are left speechless.

Others are overjoyed by details many of us take for granted.

But more than anything, they feel grateful.

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