Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Students paint houses for charity

On Saturday morning, 25 students gathered together for one goal — to help build houses for families in need.

The volunteers left Tuscaloosa for Birmingham at 10 a.m. to participate with a “Unity Build” through the Habitat for Humanity of Greater Birmingham. The volunteers worked on two separate uncompleted houses, doing work such as painting.

The response for this volunteering opportunity, put on by the Community Service Center, was so remarkable that some students had to be turned away, said Charlotte Brown, the co-director of Hunger and Homelessness Awareness at CSC.

“I never want to have to turn students away from service, but I also want the volunteers that go to have enough meaningful work to do.”

This was the fourth Habitat trip that Brown has coordinated, and she said the turnout is always impressive. The houses that the students worked on will be finished soon and will belong to single mother families, such as the Heard family.

“Owning my own home will give my kids and me stability, comfort and a new beginning,” Charlicia Heard told Habitat for Humanity. “This is such a blessing to us. Thank you all for your help and support in this opportunity.”

For many students, this was their first experience working with Habitat for Humanity.

For Joe Mahoney, a sophomore majoring in political science, the trip Saturday was an opportunity for him to volunteer for volunteering’s sake. Mahoney said he is a political guy, and most of the volunteer hours he has logged were spent helping in campaigns. The Habitat for Humanity build has taught him that volunteering isn’t always about building a resume — it’s about doing something good for others for no reward whatsoever.

“I did this because I felt that I needed to take advantage of volunteering opportunities to help other people,” Mahoney said. “What made the experience so rewarding was not only helping out people in need, but also working with great people.”

Chris Izor, a junior majoring in English, was another Habitat for Humanity newbie. He said the experience was rewarding because the volunteers were able to immediately see the fruits of their labor because the house looked totally different before and after they painted the inside walls.

Izor said volunteering is a chance to become a part of the community around you instead of just existing in it.

“It’s really easy to live in your own bubble and not really see the community needs around you,” Izor said. “Instead of just existing within this community, I want to give back while I’m here.”

Brown said there are a lot of ways students can get involved to help fight hunger and homelessness.

Besides coordinating Beat Auburn Beat Hunger in the fall, there will also be a Sleep Out on the Quad on March 30 to promote awareness for homelessness.

At this event, volunteers will be packaging meals for Stop Hunger Now. Every Monday, volunteers can spend two hours at the Salvation Army or the West Alabama Food Bank.

“Students should get involved with events like this, because it is a great way to learn about the community,” Brown said. “Students can give back to those in need, and build friendships with other students.”

Izor and Mahoney both agree that they were able to meet new people from UA as all of the volunteers came together for a common goal. Mahoney said he was glad to be able to represent the University.

“I think that our duty as members of this institution is to represent and be ambassadors for this school,” Mahoney said. “We are Crimson Tide family members but we are also taking care of the other families in the state of Alabama.”

For more information about serving with the Community Service Center, visit their site at or check out their Facebook page.

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