Building houses for families


by Rachel Peterson

Simpson students help a family in need through Habitat for Humanity

Eight Simpson College students spent their weekend using power tools and building houses through Habitat for Humanity in Des Moines. They worked alongside the family who will be residing in the house.

Chapel intern of justice and mission Tricia Ingram said Habitat for Humanity serves to beautify areas of a community and build homes for families.

Ingram said to qualify for a Habitat home, families must apply for a loan through Habitat and have an annual income within a certain range.

Families must put in sweat equity hours during the building process. Ingram said this is a unique experience for volunteers.

“Since the owners are doing sweat equity, you get to meet the people you’re helping,” she said. “It’s really cool to see what impact you have not only on the house, but the people that are there.”

In addition to sweat equity, families must also take classes before they move into their home. Ingram said these classes discuss what it means to be a homeowner, budgeting and maintaining the house.

Bróna Burke was one of the eight students to help on Saturday.

“I was using lots of power tools and was up on the ladder working on the roof,” Burke said. “They trusted us to do a lot.”

Burke’s family members have volunteered with Habitat in the past and have found it a rewarding experience.

“It’s just a new experience. You’re learning new skills, and you’re able to help someone out at the same time,” she said.

In addition to community volunteers, Habitat employs site directors to oversee the process and AmeriCorps volunteers to help build the home.

Spring break trips with Habitat for Humanity are planned this year to Washington, Florida, Georgia and Alabama. Students will be working with Habitat for Humanity for five days. Activities and site seeing are also planned.

Simpson’s Religious Life Community (RLC) helps participants fundraise the money for these trips.

Ingram said there should be no cost above the registration fee for future trips.

“It’s a really cool opportunity to spend your spring break doing service and having fun with your friends,” Ingram said.

Students interested in volunteering for Habitat should contact Tricia Ingram or Jacob McLain. Information about Habitat in Greater Des Moines can be found at