Habitat for Humanity 50+ volunteers swell charity's ranks

Habitat for Humanity says more people over the age of 50 are volunteering abroad.

Older volunteers have more time and money to build houses abroad

Habitat for Humanity is noticing that more and more of its volunteers are 50 and over. (Luis Sanchez Saturno/Associated Press)

Habitat for Humanity says more people over the age of 50 are volunteering abroad.

Peter Cote, 52, is one of them. He has led five trips to Mexico and one to Chile to help build homes for people in need.

The Calgary financial adviser said at his age, he has the time and money to dedicate to volunteering.      

"This is not the 50-year-olds of 30 years ago. We are very healthy. We are very active. We don't want to slow down. We want to see how the rest of the world lives and … we want to make a big difference in the rest of the world,” he said.

Habitat for Humanity estimates that 30 per cent of the people who volunteer for its overseas projects are now over 50.

And most of the crew leaders for projects here at home are retired, said Leslie Tamagi, president of the Calgary Habitat for Humanity Society.

“People want to stay active and if you are on a construction site, you are active. And so it’s a way for people to keep their mobility up and as I said, feel like they're really contributing to something,” Tamagi said.

In 2010, Canadians over the age of 55 spent, on average, more than 200 hours per year volunteering.


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