Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune
Local dignitaries, Madera Chamber of Commerce and community members join Habitat for Humanity Greater Fresno Area representatives for a ribbon cutting ceremony on Dec. 10 for the new Habitat For Humanity ReStore.
Sometimes, everyone needs a helping hand.
The Habitat for Humanity of the greater Fresno area is putting that philosophy into practice with its Acts of Kindness initiative.
With a $50,000 sponsorship from healthcare provider CalViva, the nonprofit organization has launched the program in Madera after being active in Fresno County for several years, over which time they have completed over 240 projects.
Through Acts of Kindness, volunteers use the money from the sponsorship to provide aid to those who have been adversely affected by circumstances out of their control.
Whether it be helping clean up a messy yard or touching up some paint, the program is designed to give members of the Madera community help with their homes in some capacity.
“Habitat takes great pride in helping to lift all neighborhoods and families in our community,” Habitat for Humanity’s Director of Development in the greater Fresno area Cary Catalano said. “We want to help those who own a home, but just don’t have the means to maintain their home or don’t have the resources for a critical repair.”
Catalano said that he hopes that the repairs to the homes can help lift up the entire neighborhood and preserve its housing stock.
Habitat aims to complete 15 projects for members of the Madera community from now until June.
Courtney Shapiro, CalViva’s Director of Community relations, volunteers some of her time to help with the projects. She said the acts of kindness don’t just help those directly affected, but that also that they can rub off and convince others to help as well.
“I feel when you do these acts of kindness, it’s contagious,” Shapiro said. “I know that when my neighbors are doing things in their yard, it kind of rubs off and you want to do something on your home. I hope that it creates a trickle-down effect where we come in and help a neighbor and maybe that pays it forward to another neighbor. I think this will have a big impact.”
To be eligible for assistance, a person must be a homeowner and demonstrate a need such as major health concerns or physical limitations. They then must submit an interest form with the Habitat for Humanity.
But the people selected to receive aid aren’t solely determined by the severity of their situation. Catalano said that a host of factors are considered.
“It may be that you could have a physical limitation and maybe you need someone to clean your yard. It doesn’t just have to be the most desperate, it could just be the need.”
Habitat then visits the home and does an inspection and assessment of the home to determine what needs to be done.