Friday, August 29, 2008

Habitat For Humanity RV Style

Dear Dick:
There is another RV Lifestyle—it is the RV CARE-A-VANNERS of Habitat for Humanity. It was started in the late 1980's by Jack & Lois Walters and consists of RVer's who travel about the U.S & Canada to assist affiliates in their home building endeavors. We've been a part of the group since 1991 and loving every minute (well, nearly every). Perhaps you've heard of us, Michiganders are a large part of the CARE-A-VANNERS.
—Sincerly, Ann DiLorenzo, NYP.S. Most of us are always on the lookout for birds and other wildlife.

Hi Ann,
Thanks for the letter. I have not heard of the CARE-A-VANNERS. I have now read several interesting articles on them and find it fascinating. What a great way to travel, meet new friends and help deserving people with a leg up. Ain't life grand?—Keep Smilin', Dick E. Bird

RV Travel with a Purpose… RV Care-A-Vanners

RV travel just got better! Habitat for Humanity International's RV Care-A-Vanner program offers anyone who travels in a recreational vehicle the opportunity to make a difference—and have fun while doing it—by helping build houses with families in need.

The RV Care-A-Vanner program welcomes people of all ages and from all walks of life who are ready to pick up a hammer and help change lives. No Experience Necessary. Every RV Care-A-Vanner building project is a unique and rewarding experience. Previous RV Care-A-Vanner teams have participated in house construction, roofing, interior and finish work, renovations and disaster relief. Those who prefer to be non-builders volunteer in the affiliate office or as "go fors" around the build site. There are ample opportunities to learn and plenty of meaningful work for everyone—no experience necessary.

RV Care-A-Vanner builds normally involve eight to 20 RVing volunteers and last two weeks, with ten six- to seven-hour workdays. A typical day begins with devotions and includes morning, lunch and afternoon breaks. Volunteers bring sturdy work shoes and gloves, and their personal hand tools—tool belt, hammer, square, pencil, measuring tape. The affiliate provides everything else including power tools, ladders, building materials, instruction and supervision. A volunteer leader handles the organization and administration of the team.
Team members pay their own expenses, which may be tax deductible, and the host affiliate arranges for RV parking—usually free or at a nominal charge. Teams can expect at least minimal electric hookups, access to water and a dump station nearby. Hosting affiliates often also provide lunches and a welcome gathering. Due to safety and hygiene issues, pets are not permitted on the work site.Aside from the opportunity to use existing construction skills and learn new ones, RV Care-A-Vanner teams experience God's love in action firsthand. Lasting friendships develop as the group parks together, builds together, eats together and socializes. In addition, the team often has the opportunity to work alongside local volunteers and future homeowners —a truly unforgettable experience.

More Than Houses—Habitat for Humanity and the RV Care-A-Vanners are about much more than building houses. Many team members partner with Habitat affiliates around the country to promote awareness of poverty housing and homelessness by speaking to churches, civic groups and local media. Individual Care-A-Vanners often make financial contributions to the host affiliate and houses built by RV groups are sometimes funded through fund raising and donations from the members.Starting with just a handful of builds in 1988, the RV Care-A-Vanner program has grown to include over 140 builds per year in the United States and Canada. The RV coordinator also organizes at least one international RV trip each year during which an organized group travels to other countries, rents RVs and participates in a Habitat build or two while touring.The RV Care-A-Vanner program is designed for both individuals and organized groups. Each of the more than 5,000 Care-A-Vanners has the option of participating in as many or as few builds as desired; all you have to do is sign up. Even if you don't build for a year or two, you still remain on the mailing list and receive updates on building opportunities.

RV Care-A-VannersHabitat for Humanity International

121 Habitat Street

Americus, GA 31709-3498

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