Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Women Building Playhouse for Habitat Raffle

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Women Building Playhouse for Habitat Raffle

Article excerpt

Orange Park Town Hall ordinarily is a quiet place on weekends. But this is no ordinary Saturday.

Beginning around 8 o'clock this morning, the silence in the adjacent park at Kingsley Avenue and U.S. 17 will be shattered by the sounds of power tools, drills, hammers and chatter.

By the end of the day, dozens of volunteer builders likely will congratulate themselves on the completion of a playhouse that will be raffled off to raise money for Clay County Habitat for Humanity.

The workers are all novices and all women, who are learning construction techniques from professionals in a program sponsored by Habitat to recruit female volunteers to help build affordable homes for the needy.

Renee Martucci, Habitat's executive director in Orange Park, said the Women Build Project will be a great learning experience for the new volunteers and will generate money for future house-building campaigns.

"It's going to be an upscale building," Martucci said of the miniature house. "It'll have a porch, windows, a door and shutters."

A shingled roof, as well, to keep raindrops from falling on children who one day will play house in the 8-foot by 5-foot structure.

About 100 women signed up last month for the Women Build Project and Martucci said at least 80 are expected to lend a hand today, sawing lumber, framing the building, installing siding, putting on the roof and hanging a door and two windows.

By 5 p.m., volunteers and their supervisors will have a pretty good assessment of the workers' construction skills. Organizers expect the structure to be completed by 5 p.m., but if not it will be finished Monday.

The work project is supposed to be a learning experience, but it also will be a social event where strangers can get acquainted and establish friendships while pounding nails side by side.

"We're going to have some snacks and lunches," Marge Alexander, a retired Orange Park construction superintendent who volunteered to head up the project, said Tuesday. …

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