Why We Build

For Habitat, “why” isn’t a question. It’s the answer.

It’s why we build.

More than 1 million people each year lend their hands and hearts, so that Habitat’s “hand-up” approach can be realized. Many give days, months and even lifetimes to our cause, but too few have the chance to see their investment pay dividends in the lives of our partner families.


If you ask 100 people why they build with Habitat for Humanity, I expect you’ll get 100 different answers. After all, we build so much more than  houses.

Habitat houses provide stability for families searching for a way to help themselves and their neighbors. We build so children can have healthy, safe  homes where they can learn and grow to their full potential. We build to break down barriers to establish vibrant neighborhoods. We build to open  doors to new opportunities and the promise of a new start for a better life.

Actions taken on a build site can have deep and far-reaching effects, and the impact of the work we do together is real and tangible. More than 1  million of you each year lend your hands and hearts so that Habitat’s “hand-up” approach can be realized, but far too few have the chance to see how that investment pays long-term dividends in the lives of our partner families.

Because we build homes, communities and hope, it’s important to remember that Habitat stories don’t end when our partner families become homeowners. Arguably, that’s where they begin.

One small investment in a community pays off in healthier, happier families who can improve their livelihood options and provide a better future for their children.


Often as not our members are asked questions about MWV Habitat Affiliate, such as: “how did you guys do on the yard sale”,  “who do we call to donate furniture”, “how’s the house coming in Tamworth”, “do you sell furniture on-line”, “how do I volunteer”, among others.  So, an update is in order.

Tamworth House Finished

In late October-early November, the finishing touches were made on our latest house located at 253 Silver Pine Lane, in Tamworth. Unique to the house, as well as to MWV Habitat, was the decision to install solar energy and radiant floor heating. Once the road bans were lifted in early spring, radiant floor heating tubes were laid out and in April H. R. Hoyt Construction poured the concrete slab. Combining the many volunteers who were on site each Thursday with the labor and equipment provided by local contractors such as Alan Eastman (site clearance, excavation); H.R. Hoyt (foundation, trusses); Chris Martin & Paul Jean (roof construction); Mike Lyons (roofing); and construction materials provided by Chick Lumber, Lowes, Milford Flooring and Silver Lake Hardware brought it together.

The mantra ”neighbors helping neighbors” continued. “Neighbors” included Altrusa, MWV Kiwanis, N. Conway Rotary, Kennett Middle School Summer Camp, Memorial Hospital Primary personnel and the women who participated in Women Build Day in May. Integral to the home-owner process are the sweat equity hours put in by the family selected to be the new home owners.  The Shangraw family’s commitment to the 300 hours started at the former Grison Road, Madison site and continued with their home site in Tamworth.  Evan and Deni are very excited that their 1200 sq. ft. home was the first selected by MWV Habitat for solar energy and radiant floor heating as well as a Heat Recovery System. As Evan noted, “to have helped build my own environmentally friendly home is truly rewarding.”

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2016 Women Build

The 2016 Women Build Day for the Mt. Washington Valley Habitat for Humanity occurred on Saturday, May 7, 2016.  This year the build site site was located at 253 Silver Pine Lane, Sokokis Pines, Tamworth, NH. Board member Barbara Reilly headed the program this year, having signed up 45 women to participate in the Lowes sponsored event.

Indoor Yard Sales

Thanks to John Lowell and his staff at Attitash Mountain Resort, Habitat has once again was provided use of Bear Peak Lodge to store and sell furniture, appliances, building materials and home furnishings for its three indoor yard sales spanning spring through late summer.  The first yard sale started in  June and the last sale was in September. Sam Johnson heads furniture pick up and the yard sales for Habitat, assisted by a dozen or so volunteers, many of whom also participate in house construction.


The importance of these yard sales cannot be overstated, as the revenue derived from the sales equates roughly to a third of the cost of building a house.  Furniture is collected throughout the year on Saturdays, winter excepted as well as on the weekends of the yard sales.  How does it all happen?  All one has to do is call the Habitat office, 356-3832, or  visit the Habitat web site (mwv-habitat.org), click on “Donate” and follow the prompts.  A donor will receive instructions as well as an on-line form that will facilitate the process.  The web page lists items that will not be accepted and the necessity for the items to be in good condition and salable. Habitually, there is a recurring problem – a lack of drivers/volunteers to handle furniture.  Habitat is putting out a call for volunteers to drive its box truck and load/unload furniture. A few hours on Saturday, picking up donated furniture and loading the items into a storage trailer.  If you or someone you know might be interested in helping with this vital fundraiser, call the Habitat office, 356-3832.  You need to be over 18, obviously have a driver’s license as well as a clean driving record.




MWV Habitat also offers an “On-Line Yard Sale” whereby the donor and buyer are connected on-line, effect a transaction, arrange for transportation of the item(s) and Habitat receives the sale proceeds.  As Nels Gustafson, Habitat board member who manages the on-line program  states, “it is a simple process”.  The Donor provides Habitat with item description, photo and contact information.  Habitat posts the item description/photo with asking price on its web site.  The Buyer completes an on-line form with appropriate contact information and bid price.  Habitat awards bid and instructs the buyer how to make payment.  Once received, Habitat effects contact between the Donor and Buyer who in turn arrange for pickup of the item.  The Donor controls all contact data ensuring confidentiality and Habitat provides a tax deduction form.  Greater detail and form(s) can be found on Habitat’s web site, mwv-habitat.org.

Since its founding in 1994 by Al Risch, Bob Morrell and Ted Pettengill, the MWV Habitat Affiliate has refurbished four and built 18 homes to qualified families.  Dick Ficke, Board president of the MWV Affiliated noted: “ this equates to 51 children who have been provided safe, stable and affordable living conditions”.

To learn how to volunteer your time and services, make a contribution, receive a newsletter, or apply for a house, visit MWV-Habitat.org.  As a new home owner recently told a board member, “ you have no idea the difference this home has made in my family’s life”!