Friday, April 30, 2010

Habitat's Relief Efforts in Chile Get a Boost From Hollywood Actors

As you may already know, Habitat for Humanity and our partners in Chile's Talca region have been working hard to provide emergency housing and repair existing homes for the 2 million people affected by an 8.8-magnitude earthquake that occurred on February 27 in Chile. More than two months later, we continue to help low-income families recover from the quake.

I am pleased to announce that more help has arrived with the launch of A group of Hollywood actors, led by Camilla Belle and Wilmer Valderrama, created a PSA for the site to help raise awareness of the devastation and call others to action. The site directs visitors to our own page on relief efforts in Chile.

What can you do to help? The simplest way is to donate. We take seriously our responsibility to contributors, to those counting on our help, to be wise stewards of funds entrusted to us. You can also download earthquake recovery Web banners and post them to your blog or personal website. Due to transportation complications, Habitat Chile is currently only recruiting local volunteers, but you can subscribe to the Habitat Latin America and Caribbean e-newsletter to stay updated.

Many thanks to those who have donated already. I will keep you updated on our ongoing efforts, and don't forget to click over to

Related Posts:
Thank You Linkin Park, Music for Relief & Fans for Helping us Build Green and Hope
How Habitat for Humanity Plans to Aid Haiti's Recovery
Volunteering has Direct Impact on Personal Wellness!

Video Tour of Letty's Home in Lynwood


I'm excited to share this video with you. It's a home tour led by Letty Polanco, one of our newest homeowners in our 10-home project in Lynwood. These homes are all being built to LEED Silver specifications. What that means is these homes use less energy, water and natural resources, create less waste, and help reduce utility bills for our partner families.

What are some of the features of these homes? Energy efficient appliances, recycled insulation, and tankless water heaters!

Watch more videos of our build projects at our official YouTube Channel!

Related Posts:
The Unforgettable Moment when a Family Receives the Keys to their New Habitat Home 
Yo Gabba Gabba!Live!:There's a Party in my City! Tour to Benefit Habitat for Humanity
Volunteers Give it Their All at Paid Dues Habitat Build  Day

Friday, April 23, 2010

Guest blog by Kisha L., a Disney VoluntEAR:

So when I first walked on to the construction site, I had a bit of anxiety. Here I was, staring at saws and hammers everywhere, and knowing an eager family was going to receive this house that our team was going to assist in building. I mean, who was I? Could I really make a difference in helping the team? Was I even worthy of this amazing opportunity to give back?

My self-doubt subsided a bit once Alison and her team walked us carefully through our day’s duties: triple checking measurements of nail placements to ensure the engineering was perfect; check. Measuring and cutting plywood that would be nailed to the house’s frame; check. Hammering nails into frames to ensure durability; triple check.  As I dived into these duties, Adam, my group’s assigned and experienced team leader, was there every step of the way to help with any challenges and ensure that we were applying everything properly.

After a few hours of hard work, we broke for lunch. What happened next totally put the gift of volunteering into perspective for me.  Lorena, a mother of three young children (one confined to a wheelchair due to Cerebral Palsy), and grateful partner on a house built with Habitat for Humanity volunteers, narrated the story of her and her family’s struggle of living and surviving in one bedroom of a friend’s 2nd story apartment. Due to a lot of prayers, and the big hearts of Habitat for Humanity volunteers, her family was able to move into their own house right before the holidays.

Hearing Lorena’s story, and seeing her and her family there in front of me, moved me to tears. I felt an overwhelming appreciation for organizations like Habitat for Humanity. As we continued to work following lunch, the unconfident feeling I felt with every hit of my hammer prior was replaced with a burst of assurance of what I was actually accomplishing.

I’m sure most people have heard the saying “every little bit helps”. Whether you’re a super experienced person, or one of the “little” people like me, there’s one thing for sure: the experience of volunteering even one day or a few hours of your time for Habitat for Humanity contributes so much. Not just to the amazing families that will receive the house you help build, but the experience will contribute to your heart.

 I’m so thankful to have worked with such an amazing team. Rest assured, if you’ve never volunteered, or thinking about doing it again, you won’t regret it. Not even a little bit.

-Kisha L.
Disney VoluntEAR

If you'd like to schedule a group build day with Habitat for Humanity of Greater L.A. please contact us at 310-323-HOME or visit 

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Thursday, April 22, 2010

Earth Day 2010: Union Pacific's Generous Landscaping Donation to Our Lynwood Build

Yesterday morning, volunteers from the Union Pacific Railroad parked a truckload of environmentally friendly landscaping materials at our ten-home, Green build site in Lynwood. Rubber, recycled mulch, and water conserving plant and flower species, were unloaded by volunteers happy to enhance the sustainability of these homes. What's more, Union Pacific employees stayed to help!


This huge landscaping boost, combined with sustainable elements already included in the homes' designs, will equal lower utility bills. In other words, we decrease water and power consumption and our new homeowners increase savings. It's all part of our goal to provide simple, decent affordable housing.

With the extra help from Union Pacific volunteers, we were able to prep more homes for siding. We also got a ton of wrapping done. For the generous donation and lending of a hand to our future Lynwood families, I must thank Andy Perez, Director of Port Affairs, and Dino Orbiso, Manager of Environmental Field Operations, at Union Pacific Railroad.

We look forward to making Earth Day 2010 - and EVERYDAY - a great success in our partnership with families. Go here to learn how you can help.

Related Posts: 
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HFH Construction Staff Gives Back

ReStore in Gardena provides drop off location for Electronics to be Recycled

Did you know Habitat for Humanity of Greater Los Angeles diverts thousands of pounds of material from local landfills each year through the ReStore® program? This year, we are proud to announce our e-waste initiative by offering local residents an eco-friendly way of disposing of their used electronics.
The ReStore® in Gardena is in the process of receiving certification from the Department of Natural Resources formerly the CIWMB (California Integrated Waste Management Board) to process and recycle old CRT’s (televisions and computer monitors), stereos and other various household electronics. Recycling through the ReStore® will help us raise more of the necessary funds to build safe, decent and affordable housing in the greater Los Angeles area.

Contact the Donations Coordinator for more details about this Green Initiative!  Happy Earth Day!

Habitat for Humanity of Greater LA ReStore®
17700 S Figueroa St
Gardena, CA 90248
Open to the Public!
Tuesday-Saturday 9am-6pm

Related Posts:
 Habitat's 21 Ways in 21 Days Tip #1: Go Shopping! 
Things a Shopper Might Find at the HFH ReStore 
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Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Macy's Community Shopping Day Supports Habitat GLA!

Habitat for Humanity of Greater Los Angeles invites you to be a part of Macy's Community Shopping Day on Saturday, May 15, 2010.
Macys logo 
Community Shopping Day gives you the opportunity to help Habitat for Humanity by purchasing a $10 shopping pass for exclusive savings and special offers at the Macy's Del Amo Fashion Center on Saturday, May 15, 2010. As a participating charity, we keep 100% of the proceeds from the sale of each pass. Plus, you can enter to win a $500 Macy's gift card!

Come together with Habitat for Humanity of Greater Los Angeles and Macy's to celebrate Community Shopping Day. You'll enjoy a day of shopping with great savings, and you'll be helping our community at the same time.

Purchase a Macy's pass when you shop our Home Improvement Store now through May 15th & you'll receive 10% off your purchase immediately!

To purchase a pass, please contact: Jesse Goldstein at (310) 323-4663 ext. 139 or via e-mail.

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Monday, April 12, 2010

Nickels For Nails Fund Drive (April 18-May 15)

Did you know that on any given night in Los Angeles County an estimated 43,000 people are homeless and nearly 10% are reported to be children under 18?

You can make a difference and build with Habitat for Humanity of Greater Los Angeles without ever stepping foot on a construction site. Join youth of all ages by raising funds for the second youth-sponsored home! Help make a difference for a hardworking family through the Nickels for Nails fund drive, April 18 – May 15.

 Collect spare change from friends and family or start your own online fundraising page. Visit our website for more info. To get started, email Melissa Killian, Youth Programs Coordinator or call 310-323-4663 ext 109.

Related Posts:
Habitat's Nickles for Nails Youth Advocacy Program in the News
Local Youth have Raised  $100,000 & Counting
21 Ways in 21 Days Tip #17: Get Your Kids Involved in the Youth United and Nickels for Nails!

Friday, April 9, 2010

TONITE on Garage Mahal, DIY Network! Habitat's Home Improvement Store

Big news! Our Home Improvement Store will be featured TONITE (4/9) on the Season Premiere of "Garage Mahal" on the DIY Network at 6:00 p.m. PDT.

The show will also feature Darren Moore, known as the EcoMacgyver, and founder of Ecovations, to support the use of sustainable building practices and lifestyle choices.

Moore frequents our store when he's working on an eco-friendly project, or just to shop for near new and vintage items. “Habitat Stores not only save me and my clients money, but they employ and educate thousands of people on good building principles, while providing affordable housing!” says Moore.

So please join us tonight - and spread the word! If after watching you have questions about donating to the store, drop by or e-mail We look forward to seeing you.

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We Dig Digger's List
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Thursday, April 8, 2010

Scenario: How 'Nickels for Nails' Makes Cents

Ms. James teaches a kindergarten class of 20 kids. On the morning of Monday, April 19th, she brings the kids some news.

"There's an organization that needs our help collecting coins for kids just like you who need better houses. If we raise the most money, we get to have a pizza party in May! Do you all want to help?"

"YEEESSSS, MS. JAAAAAMES!" the students respond hungrily.

Ms. James then gives each of her students a jar which they decorate to their liking and bring home to their parents, urging them to take the jars to work and collect nickels for the other kids who need homes. Ms. James also sends home with the kids a letter explaining the charity they are engaging in: an organization named Habitat for Humanity of Greater Los Angeles would like your family's help in collecting nickels to buy nails for the sake of fundraising to build one house for a low-income family who needs it.

Mom and Dad bring their jars to work and sit them on their desks or in the lunch rooms. Some parents even go the extra mile and bring in one of those huge water cooler jugs with a big poster beside it saying "GIVE YOUR CHANGE TO HELP BUILD A HOUSE FOR A LOW-INCOME FAMILY!

A few parents go the extra, extra mile and ask Aunt Phylis and Uncle Steve to take up collections at their jobs. Grandma and Grandpa contribute their own coins, too.

The donations start to roll in. As 28 days pass, approaching Ms. James' deadline of May 13th, Mom and Dad's jars are both halfway filled to the brim. Eagerly, their sons and daughters inquire daily about the progress and encourage their parents to donate as much as they can themselves.

One day, Ms. James brings in her own jar of nickels and it's already filled up. She sits it on her desk. The students are in awe, but boast about how much money they've already collected themselves. Suddenly, Ms. James makes an offer to her lively students:

"We're going to have our own class contest. Whoever collects the most coins by themselves gets an extra star on the 'Good Deeds' chart. And you know what that means..."

Calamity ensues with the thought of whatever prize would be won if they get enough stars. The students get home that day, and light a fire under their parents.

"Mom! Dad! We'll get a pizza party AND I'll get a 'Good Deed' star! We've got to do better!"

Mom and Dad are obliged. "Okay...okay. We'll put in a few dollars at the end before we turn the jars in."

It's now Thursday morning, May 13th, and the kids carry in their jars, bags, jugs and other containers full of nickels, dimes, quarters and dollar bills. They write their name in permanent marker on each jar they brought.

"I'm going to count up each of your jars and tell you the winner on Monday," Ms. James says.

While HFH GLA deadline is on Saturday, May 15, Ms. James gets together as many of her co-workers as possible to tally each kids coinage. After they determine a winner from the class, she consolidates each jar into a few large jugs and takes the coins to Habitat for Humanity in Gardena (If Ms. James' school was in another city, she could take her coins to the bank and have them exchanged for cash without a fee).

And voila...Ms. James' kindergarten class has multi-handedly donated at least $420 to the HFH GLA Nickels for Nails youth program. That's in the worst scenario when each kid's family had only 1 co-worker donate $1, and the parents and family put in only $15 total. Chances are that pizza-minded kids will raise much more than that especially with parents' assistance. One 5-gallon water cooler jug of coins could range from $1,000 to $3,000 depending on how many nickels you have in there versus quarters and dollars (the more dollars, the more money).

Educators: Call on your students to participate for the sake of other students and their families who need a safer, more affordable home to live in. This opportunity to drive your kids towards giving and sharing, even if it's for the mere fact that they're being rewarded, will build a sense of humility in the long run for them.

The Habitat for Humanity of Greater Los Angeles 'Nickels for Nails' Youth Program starts on Sunday, April 18. It takes about $150,000 to build a Habitat home. Make a change with your change!

(Don't laugh at my artwork! It was an effort! Lol. - Christina, the Intern)

Related Posts:
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Local Youth Have Raised $100,00 & Counting
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