PEI

'An amazing experience': Habitat for Humanity builds 1st house on Lennox Island

A Lennox Island family will soon have a new home to call their own thanks to Habitat for Humanity.

'We should give more and help people as much as we can'

'Everybody's having fun and we're making a lot of progress,' says Jamie MacKay, construction manager of Habitat for Humanity P.E.I. (Tom Steepe/CBC)

A Lennox Island family will soon have a new home to call their own thanks to Habitat for Humanity. Construction on the house — the first build Habitat for Humanity has done on Lennox Island — began Monday, as part of an international volunteer program called Global Village. 

"We're building a three-bedroom house," said Jamie MacKay, construction manager of Habitat for Humanity P.E.I. "It's been great. Everybody's been super easy to work with. Everybody's having fun and we're making a lot of progress."

Habitat usually focuses on building homes for families, particularly those with young children.

The home, located on Oapos Trail, is being built for a single mother of two. 

Volunteers like Sarah Anderson Austin travelled from all over North America to be part of the project.

"It's just such an amazing experience," Anderson Austin said.

"It's hard to kind of put into words when you come on to a site and again there's nothing there and then we're on Wednesday ... and we've got the framing done and there is a roof up and it's actually starting to look like a house."

Michael Seid, along with four longtime friends from Toronto, wanted to do something special to celebrate his 50th birthday.

Michael Seid of Toronto celebrated his 50th birthday helping to build the home along with friends Young Choi, Derrick Lee, Stan Chan and Trevor Wong. (Tom Steepe/CBC)

They chose to give back by helping another family.

"It's just awesome experience and just it's really rewarding just taking a week off of work and actually doing something beneficial to the community as well," Seid said.

Volunteers from all over North America have travelled to Lennox Island to be part of the project. (Tom Steepe/CBC)

"My forearms are a little tired from hammering," said Seid's friend Derrick Lee. "It's not what I do for a living and it's a great way to spend a vacation, giving back and helping."

Partner families must put in 500 sweat-equity hours before they can move in, either on their own home, or other builds.

These hours represent their down payment.

'Help people as much as we can'

Jamie Sark is helping to build his sister's future home, and learning valuable skills at the same time.

"It's pretty great and it's pretty wonderful," Sark said. "It's a really good opportunity and I'm getting some training out of it too. It feels pretty good."

The Lennox Island build is one of five projects Habitat for Humanity currently has on the go on P.E.I.

Construction manager Jamie MacKay works with volunteers to help build a new home for a single mother of two. (Tom Steepe/CBC)

"There are so many people like us who are willing to give back in this way and to really support someone in their kind of journey to hopefully a better, healthier, stronger life I think that's a really great feeling," said Anderson Austin.

"I think we should give more and help people as much as we can," said Lee. "It lets me sleep at night knowing that I put some work into it and someone else is sleeping in this house and enjoying it." 

The home on Lennox Island should be ready for its owner by the fall. 

More P.E.I. news

About the Author

Tom Steepe

Video Journalist

Tom Steepe is an award-winning video journalist with CBC P.E.I.