By Jennifer Bussey —-
We all remember the chaos and destruction wrought by infamous Hurricane Katrina in 2005. However, none remember so well as the millions that were directly affected by the storm. Forced to evacuate, New Orleanians returned to such devastation that there was nothing to do other than start over.
As the gulf waters receded, a flood of relief efforts began streaming into the area. Habitat for Humanity has been actively involved in the rebuilding efforts along the gulf coast. Together with the volunteered labor of people from all walks of life, they have built over 6,000 houses in that area since the storm, more than 600 in the city of New Orleans. Several programs are available for those who want to get involved, whether it’s a renovation or a build from the foundation up.
Tingue, a family owned and operated organization in the commercial laundries industry recently sought involvement. In April, Tingue reached out to
the New Orleans Area Habitat for Humanity (NOAHH) to lend a hand while they were in the city for a training seminar. About fifty Tingue employees from the sales division, along with CEO David Tingue and company President Ty Acton, spent a day working in small groups on two Habitat homes. Stepping away from their normal routine of sales and installation, each group was given an assignment and guided through its completion with a Habitat member on site, making thorough checks to ensure quality and safety standards were met. Regardless of the construction experience of each individual, every hand had work to do. The Tingue team helped with various phases of the build, from painting and sanding to, quite literally, putting up walls.
Future homeowners are also involved in the builds, as they are required to contribute a certain amount of hours in work, on not only their homes, but those of other future Habitat homeowners as well. In addition to the hours, or “sweat equity”, that a future homeowner contributes, first they must also meet certain criteria to be eligible to enter into the program. They must have a genuine need for Habitat housing, have the ability to pay a monthly mortgage, have at least two years of stable income, undergo a credit check, and show willingness to partner with Habitat for Humanity in construction and also classes that will prepare them for homeownership.
Volunteers can be confident that their hard work will be around for the future generations of the families they are helping–NOAHH homes are built in accordance with the same building codes used in Florida, one of the strictest in the nation.
Tingue found that volunteering for NOAHH was the perfect way to give back to a community that they often visit. They gained more than just the satisfaction that comes from giving. The experience was an invaluable and unique team building opportunity. New and seasoned employees, sales reps and CEO alike had the opportunity to work alongside each other, converting their work ethic and communication skills from the office to a building site. The benefits extend to more than just the families that will be making these houses into homes.
“The gulf coast has been hit hard and New Orleans in particular has been slow to recover. We wanted to help in our own small way, be a part of providing homes for the less fortunate,” said Ty Acton, Tingue president. “The event was so incredibly rewarding for our team, and the Habitat community was gracious and extremely appreciative to have the help… After doing this event, I believe more companies in our industry may want to get involved and give back to a community in need.”
Pictured above right: President, Ty Acton (left) and CEO, David Tingue (right)