Habitat volunteers gearing for blitz of building in area

By Lynn R. Parks

Alicia and Henry Mazzaferro live near Georgetown in a "run-down trailer" for which they pay monthly rent. But they and their two daughters, Oksana, 3, and Olivia, 2, will soon have a brand new home of their own. The Mazzaferro family is slated to receive one of the 19 homes planned for 15 acres in the Concord area. Sussex County Habitat for Humanity, which plans to build the homes, held a ground blessing ceremony Saturday at the parcel on German Road. "A new home will be much better for our family," said Alicia Mazzaferro. Her husband, who is a carpenter, has already arranged to have a week off from work so he can help Habitat volunteers with the construction. As a condition of ownership, participants in the Habitat program have to put in "sweat equity" hours with the organization: 500 hours for a two-adult family and 250 hours for a one-adult family. The Concord project is part of a nationwide Habitat project to build 1,000 homes in the United States in three years. Habitat for Humanity is a Christian, non-profit organization based in Americus, Ga., that builds houses for families in need. Since its founding in 1976, it has built 200,000 homes throughout the world. The homes are sold to the families, who pay for them through no-interest loans held by Habitat. Three of the Concord homes will be constructed in June during a week-long "builders blitz," during which professional contractors will volunteer to build the homes. The Mazzaferro family's home will be one of those three. The other two homes will go to Scotty O'Riley and his children, Scott, Alana and Brittany, and Rosa Diaz and Alejandro Velasquez and their children, Delmy, Sheila and Junior.

All three families attended Saturday's blessing. Sussex County Habitat director Kevin Gilmore told the nearly 40 people assembled for the blessing that, according to the Delaware Housing Authority, 4,324 Sussex County families live in substandard housing. "These 19 homes will have a small impact on the need in the county," he said. "But for the families standing right in front of you, I reckon it's going to make a huge impact. People's lives will be changed because of the houses we build here." Habitat volunteer Larry Miller of Millsboro offered a prayer during the ground blessing. He referred to the New Testament book Revelation, chapter 7, in which St. John describes his vision of the throne of God: "A great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne." "All nations, tribes and languages, all together," Miller said. "God wants us to live together, and build up each other, in one community."

For your information:
Sussex County Habitat for Humanity is looking for volunteers to help with its Concord project. For information, call 855-1153 or visit the Web site www.sussexcountyhabitat.org.

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