Things are starting to look up for Wendy Farrell. She and her three daughters recently moved from a two-bedroom house to a new home where they each get their own rooms. Her bills are considerably cheaper and she isn't as concerned about affording the mortgage. This is all thanks to Clay County Habitat for Humanity, she says.
Her daughters are happy with the change.
"They're so giddy," Farrell said as she held her smiling daughter Chayna on her lap in their new kitchen. "It's really cool to see them so beaming."
The family was selected by the Habitat for Humanity board members as the applicant with the greatest need for a new home. In their old home, the girls had to sleep in the furnace room and the windows were so poorly insulated air constantly blew through the house. One winter, Farrell said she spent $1,400 alone on heating bills.
Building began in August 2004 and was completed this month. Several members of the community joined Wendy and her friends in building the house at 530 N. Leavitt St.
Chayna, 4, Meranda, 10, and Areyna, 13, enjoy their new rooms. All have separate interests. Meranda likes to read, Areyna is getting older and wants her private space, while Chayna just wants to play with her toy horses.
"I love it," Chayna said.
Her mother added, "The older two are just ecstatic."
Areyna is easy going and dealt with the intrusion of her younger siblings well, but now is happy to have her own space, Wendy said. Meranda is always reading now that she has a quiet place.
"I've not seen her so at peace" since they moved into their new home following a dedication ceremony on May 15, Wendy said.
Wendy spent more than 100 hours of service in building her new home. Habitat for Humanity requires that the recipient of the new home dedicate 100 hours, but "after 100 they don't really keep track," she said.
Wendy helped do everything from roofing to installing door knobs, but left flooring, plumbing and electricity to the experts.
Not only did Habitat for Humanity help find the Farrells a new home, but the organization is also helping pay the mortgage. Two 20-year mortgages have been taken out on the Leavitt St. home, said Board Member Keith Bowers. As Wendy begins to pay off her first mortgage, Habitat for Humanity will match her contributions and pay her second mortgage.
Churches and local businesses also donated materials and labor for the project, Bowers said.
With all of the effort put in, Wendy said she lost track of time as a result of all the great experiences she had in the past year.
"The best part about this is the people I've worked with," she said.
Following her positive experience with Habitat for Humanity, Wendy plans to help build the next local Habitat home.
"There's always something that needs to be done out there," she concluded. "There's a need for volunteers and don't just think that someone else is going to do it."