Church volunteers come together to build home for family

NOW: Church volunteers come together to build home for family


MISHAWAKA, Ind. - The heatwave is here, but that’s not going to stop volunteers with Matthew 25 on building a new home for a family in need.

Saturday was the first day for the build and the hard work will pay off for the future homeowner, Priscilla, and her daughter.

Matthew 25 was started in 1995 by a local Mennonite church. The group partners with Habitat for Humanity in St. Joseph County to build homes for those in need.

“They started helping Habitat on their own and started inviting other churches to help and it’s grown into what it is today,” Bill Young said. 

Young is a volunteer and on Matthew 25 steering committee.

According to Young, around 25 churches now help either with the build or financial contributions.

“We’re responsible for raising $100,000 for the house," he said.

Priscilla will pay the mortgage as well.

Juanita Townsell was the first person to receive a Matthew 25 house in 1995.

“A dear friend of mine, Joanie, told me about a program that would help build a house for my family,” Townsell said.

With 4 children, a niece and nephew and twins on the way, her two-bedroom home was just not enough.

“After completing the application and turning in the paperwork, they said ‘Nita, you qualify’ oh what joy it was,” she said.

This is the 25th anniversary of Matthew 25 and it happens rain or shine.

“Today they have mandatory rest periods where they have to go hydrate. We have cold water, we have cold towels for them to wear and we have shade. They are very conscious of what the heat is doing to the volunteers," Young said.

And the volunteers all still came out to help, despite the heat.

“We have two full crews. We have a morning crew which was a lot cooler than this afternoon crew," he said.

25 years later, and Townsell remembers how this moment felt to her.

“It was such an awesome feeling to finally get into a place to call my home," Townsell said.

Matthew 25 has built 27 homes in the last 25 years it’s been running. On Saturday they were building the walls. On August 1st they start to build on-site and by mid-October, the house should be ready for Priscilla and her family.

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