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Habitat for Humanity - Build - Bakers2 - Molly

BUILDING A HOME TOGETHER

by Nestle Toll House Bakers | Dec 19, 2016

On Friday, each of us experienced something that we’ll probably never forget. It was a moment when a selfie doesn’t quite seem like enough to fully capture the magnitude of what we accomplished. We’ve laughed and baked in the kitchen together. We’ve made new friends and volunteered in the community together. And now we can say we’ve helped build a home together.

Partnering with Habitat for Humanity to build a home in Chicago took us to the small community of West Pullman, where we met up with Jack, Jackson, and the rest of the Habitat for Humanity volunteer crew. After introductions and safety training, we divided into teams to work on different parts of the house.

KateLadder (1)

Kate helped build elements that protect roofs from heavy downpour and harsh Chicago winters.  She says, “To me, building is similar to baking. You have parts, pieces, and ingredients with a recipe or general guidelines for assembly. With Jack’s instructions, we each added our own touch and could stand back to admire the results of our collective effort.”  

HayleyAmeriCorps

Hayley sawed flooring for a hallway closet and especially enjoyed painting the siding that will go on the outside of the home. “Throughout the day there were so many laughs! I truly enjoyed this experience. It really made me feel good at the end of the day walking out of the house I just helped build for a very deserving family.”

Some of us learned new skills, like how to use a variety of power tools. Soyoung shares, “One of my favorite shows is Extreme Makeover Home Edition.  Today felt a little bit like I was living out my dream! I never thought I would be using a Jig Saw, but it happened and I can officially cross that off my bucket list!  When that square that I helped carve out fell on the floor, it felt amazing and Jackson handed it to me to keep as a souvenir.”

GroupBoard

Unlike a gingerbread house, building an actual house doesn’t come in an easy-to-assemble kit. Communication, teamwork and muscles were in abundance. “If we didn't have the right size piece of wood, we had to make it,” explains Eric, who helped build a wall in the kitchen. “We had to take measurements and make outlines so we knew where to cut (and not cut) to allow for pipelines, power outlets, etc. You know what it takes to make that happen on a cold winter day---from volunteers no less? Lots of time, effort, energy, and more than that----it takes love.”

This house is part of a larger project to restore and revitalize the entire block. Jackson, an AmeriCorps volunteer, explained that it’s a requirement that each family spend 250 hours helping build their own house. What a special memory for all!

No matter the task each baker was working on, it was wonderful to be a part of a project that will change the life of a local Chicago family. Cherise explains it, “I felt synergy. I felt love. I felt compassion. I felt family, [the “Bake Some Good” family] which are all of the components you really want a home to be built upon. I’m certain the family that moves into the new home we all helped build will feel that same warmth, too!”

SarahSaw

Sarah adds, “Bake Some Good came full circle for me when I got to help build a wall in the kitchen. I learned to bake in the kitchen and, to me, the kitchen has always been the heart of the home. At the end of the day, it’s a tradition for the group that volufamily nteers sign a wall in the house. As I was signing my name, I wished that the who would call this home theirs would have their own special memories in the kitchen together. And maybe, just maybe, they will use their new kitchen to Bake Some Good too.”

When the house is completed, we will be invited back to the special dedication ceremony. It’s then that we’ll be able to see the finished house and meet the family that will call this house a home. You can bet that we’ll bring some baked goods as a house warming gift, too!   

Habitat2

- The Nestle® Toll House® Bakers