By KELSEY KO
For The News-Letter
The Hopkins chapter of Habitat for Humanity held a fundraiser at Dominion Ice Cream on Saturday Oct. 10 to help fund the construction of affordable homes for working families in the greater Baltimore area. Senior Jack Jung, president of the chapter, spoke about the day’s success.
“Every year the JHU campus chapter of Habitat for Humanity donates around $15,000 towards a new home for low-income families. Every penny we earn goes towards that goal. We’ve been able to reach this goal every year, and fortunately we’re on the right track this year. We’ve actually had a couple fundraisers this past week with the first being Dominion and the second Chipotle. We just felt people wanted to enjoy Dominion Ice Cream one last time before they close for good later in the year. And who doesn’t like ice cream on a sunny day?” he said.
According to junior Jonathan Tai, vice president of Habitat for Humanity, the money often goes towards alleviating costs of Habitat for Humanity work trips, which helps Hopkins students go out into the community and have hands-on experience with volunteer work.
“Many of the donations we receive from fundraisers go directly towards helping to get our volunteers out on weekend work trips and helping to subsidize the cost of our annual Spring Break work trip to Huntington, W.Va. One of our goals at Habitat is to ensure that anyone who wants to help out has the opportunity to. Personally, one of my favorite things about Habitat is giving Hopkins students the chance to get away from Brody and campus for a little bit and seeing them getting excited to build and use power-tools… Often for the first time ever!” Tai said.
Habitat for Humanity has been making progress in its ongoing efforts to rebuild neighborhoods and homes, particularly in the area around Hopkins. In the past, partnerships with other organizations have also allowed Habitat for Humanity to expand their volunteering efforts.
“We’ve made great strides in revitalizing the McCabe neighborhood, about 15 minutes north of Hopkins, where our Saturday work trips usually take place. In addition, we made substantial progress in partnering with other local organizations, such as Rebuilding Together Baltimore with whom our most recent work trip took place,” he said.
Jung spoke about numerous Habitat for Humanity projects planned for this year and the cooperative nature of their work.
“We’re also planning to work with some local Hopkins organizations as well in order to place as many Habitat volunteers where they’re needed most. We’re looking forward to the completion of our home by the end of May 2016, and the smiling faces of the future homeowners we’ve been working beside these past few months,” Jung said.
Fundraising Chair Brandon Yu said that he wants to continue to raise money for Habitat for Humanity and hold more creative events.
“We are looking forward to running more social types of fundraisers as this year goes on. While we have had success with retail/food type fundraisers in the past, they seem to be really over done and we want to try doing something different. Be on the lookout for more community-involved social fundraisers or events sponsored by Habitat!” Yu said.
Yu believes that Habitat for Humanity has had a positive influence on not only the community around it but also on its volunteers.
“I’ve been working with Habitat for five to six plus years now, and I think the organization has changed the way I perceive a lot of social issues as well as how I view people. When you go on a Habitat build, you will see the neighborhoods you are working in or the people you are working with and will immediately begin to resonate with their stories,” he said.
Additionally, he claims that Habitat for Humanity has been a learning experience for everyone involved.
“Actions definitely speak louder than words, and working besides those that actively seek to better their lives is one of the most fulfilling experiences I’ve had at Hopkins. Seeing people who often have had everything taken away from them still have such a vital energy for not only their own lives, but the lives of those around them is something that is really an experience. All in all, I feel like Habitat is the embodiment of the idea that everyone deserves a second chance, or sometimes a chance to begin for those who were never able to in the first place,” he said.