Habitat Choptank’s “Women on Wednesday” Volunteers Give Back by Building a She Shed to Raffle

(September 2020). Habitat Choptank’s “Women on Wednesday” volunteers have continued to support Habitat’s mission — to build homes, communities, and hope — at a time when it is needed most. They spent the past several months building a She Shed that Habitat for Humanity Choptank is now raffling as a fundraiser.

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. This group also supports International Women Build Week each year as a prelude to International Women’s Day on March 8th. Women Build events provide the opportunity for women to take a proactive step in serving their communities.

Many of the Women on Wednesday volunteers are retirees and spend two to five days a week on Habitat jobsites. Sandy, a long-time volunteer, shared that “a lot of what we’re doing, at first anyways, is teaching women how to use basic tools…it helps — I think — hearing that from another woman; that ‘Yes, you can do this. This isn’t too hard.’” Terri, another regular on the Women on Wednesday crew, added that “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 shared that “because we’re older too…we always help each other.” 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.

The initial thought was that the shed could be incorporated into Habitat’s annual fundraiser scheduled for June. With the help of Construction Supervisor, Dan Kurth, the Women on Wednesday volunteers began the task of fully designing, constructing, furnishing, and decorating the She Shed.

When COVID hit, Habitat’s annual fundraiser was postponed and work on the She Shed was halted. The Women on Wednesday 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, many volunteers returned to see the shed through to completion, all while wearing masks and following social distancing guidelines.

The completed 10’ x 14’ custom shed includes a fully decorated and furnished interior — equipped with a craft bench, cabinets, and seating. Two quilts from the Bayside Quilters are included as well as a quilt rack built and donated by Habitat Choptank’s Tuesday crew volunteers. Original paintings from local artists Jerry Canada and Kathie Rogers and redesigned furniture are also featured as part of the She Shed.

Volunteers Sandy and Terri shared that they “would love to win it” and explained that the price of a ticket is “a real bargain for the winner” as it also includes delivery anywhere on the Shore. “There are more people behind this than us and when COVID is over…we do hope that people come out and build with us.”

Raffle tickets for the She Shed are now available for purchase for $25 each or five for $100 at HabitatChoptank.org. Only 1,500 will be sold and the winning ticket will be pulled on November 6th. For more information, to make a donation that benefits our local community, or volunteer, call 410-476-3204 or visit HabitatChoptank.org.

About Habitat Choptank

Since 1992, Habitat Choptank has made home ownership possible for 89 families and has completed critical health and safety repairs in partnership with over 185 qualifying homeowners. At present, 9 homes are under construction in Dorchester and Talbot Counties. Income qualifying homebuyers are offered access to affordable mortgage financing in order to purchase a new construction or rehabbed home from the nonprofit’s project inventory. After completing “sweat equity” hours, attending pre- homeownership classes, and meeting debt reduction and savings goals, these individuals and families will purchase homes that they helped construct and assume the full responsibilities of homeownership including maintaining their home, paying property taxes and repaying their mortgage over 30 to 33 years. Habitat accepts applications for its homeownership and repair programs throughout the year. For more information, to make a donation that benefits our local community, or volunteer, call 410-476-3204 or visit HabitatChoptank.org.