Volunteers Build New Friendships & Habitat Homes In Gautier

Habitat For Humanity received a special delivery this week in Gautier - a group of 20 volunteers from New Jersey and another 13 workers from Wisconsin.

"The out-of-state workers are working on at least five houses. And they're helping us do things they we are normally not able to do," Chapter President Latan Griffin said.

While the two groups are working to build better futures for several South Mississippi families, they're also getting better acquainted with each other.

"We have met some great people from Wisconsin. They told us all about their cheese," volunteer Edward Carll laughed.

Fellow volunteer Margaret Anderson fired right back. "They are really nice people, and they assured me that all the things you here about New Jersey are not true," she said with a smile.

Wisconsin volunteer Nancy Miller quickly partnered with a New Jersey buddy to help with the work load.

"It has been a lot of fun to meet other people. We sit down at night, we play Scrabble, and we are working on a puzzle right now."

All the fun can make you forget just how much hard work these volunteers are really doing. They're focused on building a better tomorrow for South Mississippians still recovering from Hurricane Katrina.

"A hand up, not a hand out. Most everybody can relate to that," Carll said.

"We are trying to help people who are in desperate situations. And they are trying their best to help themselves. We are just participating in that so they can get on with their lives, so they can be less depressed and more hopeful."

Both groups say they already plan to make another trip down to the coast to help Habitat For Humanity in Jackson County.