The Women on Wednesday volunteers are a group of women who dedicate their time working on Habitat Choptank job sites and supporting the affiliate’s neighborhood revitalization and home repair projects. This all-women crew was formed in 2009 and, in 2017, they led the effort to complete a women-funded and women-built Habitat home.
Many of the Women on Wednesday volunteers are retirees and spend two to five days a week on Habitat job sites involving new builds or home repairs. These women work on all aspects of home construction projects, ranging from replacing siding, kitchen cabinets, plumbing, and storm doors to deck work. Their shared knowledge and construction experience has empowered countless other women volunteers and homeowners.
Sandy, a long-time volunteer, shared, “A lot of what we’re doing is teaching women how to use basic tools. It helps to learn that from another woman; that ‘Yes, you can do this. This isn’t too hard.’” Terri, another regular on the crew, added, “It’s very different learning construction from a woman…[men] don’t realize that we normally have a height difference. I prefer a circular saw that has a blade on the left side. I’m 5’3’’and I can’t look over a saw and see the blade if it’s mounted on the right.” Terri also shared that “because we’re older too…we always help each other.”
In early 2020, the Women on Wednesday volunteers took on the project of fully designing, constructing, furnishing, and decorating a “She Shed” to raffle for the affiliate, but when COVID hit, work on the She Shed was halted. However, the volunteers knew that during this public health crisis and time of economic uncertainty, the protection and safety a home provides is more important than ever and wanted to continue to support Habitat’s mission. Volunteers were able to work on refinishing furniture for the She Shed at home. When it was safe for them to do so, they returned to see the shed through to completion, all while wearing masks and following social distancing guidelines.
Volunteers Sandy and Terri shared, “There are more people behind this than us and when COVID is over…we do hope that people come out and build with us.”