Amarillo Habitat for Humanity celebrated its 40th anniversary at its Restore location on Tuesday, where organizers and volunteers handed out prizes and cake to customers and hosted a sale.
“We just thought it’d be a fun way to celebrate the day, give out some prizes and cake, and encourage the community to shop," said Alason Moorhead, executive director for Amarillo Habitat for Humanity. "All the proceeds from our Restore go back to our home building to help those families."
The organization has done several activities in honor of the milestone including donating time to the High Plains Food Bank.
“Our goal was to donate 40 hours, which we were able to do with our staff and some of our board members," Moorhead said. "We just thought there was no better way to celebrate this milestone than to give back to the community because the people here have given so much to us."
The organization specializes in making home ownership accessible to families in the Panhandle region. Each family must meet a list of requirements to receive a home, including attending classes to ensure a better living, such as a cooking class, and money management class. These families are also required to provide 500 hours of volunteer work, which they often do in helping to build their own home.
Since the founding of the organization, it has been able to build 115 homes for families in Amarillo and the surrounding area. Moorhead said the organization is in the process of building two more homes and have several more being planned for construction.
“It's such a privilege for me and the staff that we have right now, to have been a part of this story," Moorhead said. "To think that our organization started in First Presbyterian Church in a room and it’s grown to have a Restore, to have an administration office, to building 115 homes. It’s such a humbling legacy to be a part of."
According to Kenzi Singer, community relations director for Amarillo Habitat for Humanity, in the past, the organization has been able to average two to three houses a year, but due to the pandemic there has been a drop in progress. According to Singer, this drop in volunteers is also affected by the winter months as the weather gets colder.
Singer said that she hopes to create more awareness in the community for the organization and those it helps.
“I look forward to the day when the community knows what we do, because there is such a misconception on what Habitat for Humanity is," Singer said. "We don’t give houses away. This isn’t a handout. These people are working hard. What we are doing is giving them an opportunity that they couldn’t get before."
Individuals can go online to www.amarillohabitat.org/ to donate, or volunteer. Amarillo Habitat for Humanity also accepts donations from companies that would like to donate time into building the houses as well as tool and supply donations.
This article originally appeared on Amarillo Globe-News: Amarillo Habitat for Humanity reflects on 40 years