ST. CLOUD – Central Minnesota Habitat for Humanity is building new homes amid the pandemic – and looking for more volunteers to pitch in.

The St. Cloud-based organization recently brought in $80,000 at their annual Breakfast for Humanity fundraiser, held virtually due to the coronavirus. Jessica Dahl, Habitat’s Volunteer Coordinator, says the nonprofit has remained on their construction schedule – despite fewer sets of helping hands.

“We’ve seen fewer volunteer groups this year, which is completely understandable,” said Dahl. “A few of our regular volunteers are high-risk, but we’ve seen great turnout from many other volunteers and groups. They’ve kept our builds on schedule, and that’s been promising.”

Dahl says the organization received between 30-40 applications for homes last summer. Three are currently under construction.

Such a joy to pull up to a future home filled with painting volunteers this morning! As the weather gets colder, Habitat...

Posted by Central Minnesota Habitat for Humanity on Tuesday, November 10, 2020

“Right now, we have our Tiger Build house, which is constructed at Tech High School before we move it on site in the spring,” Dahl said. “We have our Faith Build, which is sponsored by a group of our faith communities here in the St. Cloud area. And then we also have our Veterans Build in Sauk Rapids.”

Dahl says the exteriors of all three homes are mostly completed.

“We’ve moved onto things like painting and trim work,” she said. “We’re getting the appliances in and the plumbing finished. That’s been really exciting.”

Dahl says Habitat for Humanity has needed to make certain adjustments due to COVID-19; volunteers wear masks and gloves, use hand sanitizer on site, and remain a safe distance from one another whenever possible. Dahl says they haven’t experienced an outbreak of the virus related to a build site.

“We’re really fortunate that a lot of our work happens outside,” Dahl said. “We do everything we can to prevent the spread of COVID-19 on our sites.”

The task of getting individuals and families into new homes has never been more critical, Dahl says.

“They’re in situations where they’re in apartments,” she explained. “It’s really hard to feel safe when you’re surrounded by a lot of COVID cases and shared air. The community has really come together to help these families and individuals who need these homes. The volunteers come to work, and I can see the smiles in their eyes, even though they’re covered up by a mask. They still come with the heart, and the attitude to get this work done.”

“It’s really more than a home we’re providing right now,” Dahl added. “It’s safety and health.”

Dahl says Central Minnesota Habitat for Humanity needs volunteers year-round. To learn more, visit their website.