Sen. Collins celebrates World Habitat Day in SearsportNew family will come home in December
Searsport — In December of 2010, Christina Johannes and her three children went home thanks to Waldo County Habitat for Humanity.
“My whole life Christmas was my least favorite time of year,” she wrote in a thank-you letter to the Waldo County Habitat for Humanity Board of Directors.
The year she and her children moved into the newly finished Habitat home in Belfast, though, she and her children lovingly decorated their new residence and baked Christmas cookies.
“Now I love going home,” wrote Johannes. “I have the hardest time sometimes making myself go out. I just enjoy being home so very much.”
Friday morning, Oct. 5, Sen. Susan Collins visited the site for the second Habitat home on Old County Road in Searsport and told those gathered there that she looked forward to seeing another local family go home this December.
“You prove that many homes make one great local community,” Collins said. “With caring hearts and strong hands, this great organization’s volunteers have built 350,000 homes in 3,000 communities in 80 countries.”
Collins said one of her causes has been combating homelessness, particularly for veterans. Expanding programs that help low income families winterize their homes is another issue Collins said she feels is important because it would reduce the demand for the Low Income Heating and Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) and make sure families are living in warmer and safer conditions during Maine’s coldest months.
“The Habitat for Humanity program works towards a solution, one community and one family at a time,” Collins said.
Randy Mailloux, the former chairman of the Waldo County Habitat Board of Directors who spoke on behalf of the current chairperson, Andrea Walker, offered a bit of history about the local affiliate.
Mailloux said the effort to launch a Waldo County chapter for Habitat for Humanity began in 2007, and with the help of many members of the community, Waldo County Habitat for Humanity became an affiliate in July of 2009. After more fund-raising and lots of donated materials and work, the local organization welcomed the Johannes family home in December 2010.
With the support of local businesses like Robbins Lumber, GAC, Mathews Brothers, Viking Lumber and EBS, and organizations like Waldo County General Hospital and United Mid-Coast Charities, Mailloux said the home in Searsport is off to a good start. Many volunteers, including several residents at the Maine Coastal Regional Reentry Center in Belfast, have erected the walls and completed the roof in just three weeks’ time, work that was completed under the guidance of lead carpenter Richard Ames and Jenness and Jim Robbins with Robbins Lumber.
Mailloux said the local organization has enjoyed a lot of support from communities as well, thanking the voters of the Town of Searsport for their donation of the Old County Road property, which Mailloux said was large enough to construct two more homes in the future. The City of Belfast contributed property that the Unity Foundation had donated to the cause, and Mailloux said the organization looks forward to building more homes in other parts of the county.
“There are needs all over the county, and we also continue to look for volunteers,” said Mailloux.
Carol Robbins with UMCC presented Mailloux with a check to help the organization reach its goal of $80,000 to complete the Searsport home, a goal the organization is quickly reaching — a chart displayed at the press conference indicated the group has raised just shy of $72,000 as of Friday.
Jenness Robbins said he’s proud to be a part of building Waldo County's second Habitat home, and that he's looking forward to seeing the home completed by the target date of Dec. 1.
“It’s hard to go wrong when you’re helping people,” he said.
Sean Adams, a resident at MCRRC, said he’s been volunteering with the building crew since the start of the construction phase, and said it’s something he would do again if given the chance.
“It’s just nice to give back,” he said.