Any given week, we might hear from a family in Hancock County who has an immediate need of a simple-decent place to live. We hope to be able to better address that need by building multiple homes each year, but at present we are only able to build one home per year. We just qualified and selected our 19th Partner Family, and look forward to starting that project in the spring or summer of 2016, dependent on meeting our build’s initial fundraising goals. Please check back here for more information.
HCoHFH SMITH PARTNER FAMILY ANNOUNCEMENT
Holly first applied for a Hancock County Habitat for Humanity home back in the spring of 2014 while we were in the midst of our 18th build. After submitting all of the necessary paperwork, an articulate and heartfelt letter outlining her family’s situation and need, several letters of recommendation, and going through the Family Selection review process, Holly and her children, Winter (almost 13), and Hunter (111/2) were selected as our 19th Partner Family in August of 2015 and eagerly await the start of their build in 2016.
Holly has been a single mother since her children were 19 months and 2 months old, respectively. While both children were born in Maine, she felt the need to move south (and later out west) to seek the support of extended family as she raised Winter and Hunter. Holly is no stranger to hard work and the concept of self-improvement, and might best be described as ‘tenacious’ as well as ‘caring’. While the children were both preschoolers, she held down a full time job and finished off her college degree (Business Administration); but then the recession hit. So, like many, she took her college degree and diligently worked wherever she was able in order to simply support her family.
In eloquently describing her move out west at this time of recession Holly wrote:
“Have you ever seen pictures of the Dust Bowl? That raging drought that crippled the country in the 1920s and forced people to go West to California in hopes of a better life? I felt like I had been transported to that time as I drove West. I was surrounded by U-Hauls and cars packed with clothes and kids; people who were, like me, leaving kith and kin to find work to support their families. I was scared; …and I wasn’t sure what to expect.”
The restaurant and retail jobs which were available at the time required nights and weekend work, shifts which weren’t possible without proper childcare. The move did not pan out as Holly had hoped. Eventually, Holly was convinced to move back to Maine by a close friend, and it is here that she’s made her life for the last 5+-years. She continued to improve her skill-set in order to be competitive in the workforce and took classes to earn her Office Administration Certificate at the Adult Ed in Sullivan. She initially made her family’s place in the local community by teaching first grade Catechism at St. Joseph’s Church and interning and temping before she was hired by a local non-profit. Holly now works at Dead River Company and attends the Unitarian Universalist Church of Ellsworth. To give back for “the blessings we received”, Holly has volunteered at the local Emmaus Shelter as well as by arranging transport for animals scheduled for euthanasia in NY up to Maine shelters. (She, Winter and Hunter have two cats and look forward to potentially getting a rescue dog once they have their own home!)
Holly Smith met all of the criteria for our local Habitat program, including living in a 100+ year-old home which she described as “having its share of problems” but of which she also said [in her typical appreciative way], “it’s a roof over our heads, and I will not complain.” Her wish for a simple, decent, healthy place that her family can call its own is one borne out of a desire for permanence and stability for Winter and Hunter. “Everything I have done in the past… has been for my children. Without them, I wouldn’t have had the courage to do what I have done. They have saved me and blessed me, and I want to return the favor….”
We thank you, our Hancock County Habitat volunteers and donors, for supporting our mission as we seek to make Holly’s dream of homeownership a reality!
Note: We hope to start the house build on a parcel in Franklin in the late summer or fall of 2016 once initial fundraising goals for the home have been met and invite you to work along-side Holly as she completes her ‘sweat equity’ hours. Once completed, Holly, Winter and Hunter will move into the home and assume a zero-percent interest mortgage (0% APR), with each monthly payment recycled into Habitat’s Fund for Humanity, allowing us to work toward future builds. For more information on how you can become involved, please call (207) 667-8484.