Bruce Donner didn't need to be asked twice. Recently retired from a career in construction, he was a new member of South Hills Church in Kennewick, Washington. He didn't know many people. But when given the opportunity to help build a house for an area family, he said yes.
"I went up to the pastor after our men's breakfast and said I thought it was perfect for me, given my background" he remembers. "I wound up as the contact person on the project."
The program that captured Donner's attention and expertise was Apostles Build – a collaboration between Thrivent and Habitat for Humanity.
The initial goal was to engage with 12 area churches, mirroring the number of apostles, to put up a house for a needy family. The project coordinators ended up going one better, recruiting 13. One of them was Donner's church.
Doubling up: Framed 2 houses side by side
On the project's first day, something really wonderful happened: So many people showed up that they were able to frame and raise two houses, side by side.
The construction took place in the summer of 2016. After the home's foundations were poured, volunteers worked to raise the walls at each site. Then each church took turns providing volunteers for one week at each site.
"The house was dedicated right before Christmas. The goal was a home for the holidays."
For Donner, the work was not only inspiring, but skillfully done.
"There were 40 people who turned out, and we were able to get the exterior walls and the interior walls framed and upright in one day," he says. "I used to do this for a living, so I know how impressive that is. It was extremely well organized and included people with varying abilities all doing excellent work."
The houses were completed in the fall, and one family has already moved into one of them.
"The house was dedicated right before Christmas," says Jenny Krueger, a Thrivent Financial practice development manager who worked on the project. "The goal was a home for the holidays. There was a Christmas tree, it was snowing, and it was cozy inside. Best of all, we could see the family's dream realized – and what it would mean for their future and for the education of their kids."
It's an experience Donner won't soon forget.
"I shook hands with the father and mother," says Donner. "They were very appreciative. This project did a real service to the community by helping the family in this way."
Build a new tomorrow!
Connect with Thrivent members and other volunteers through the Habitat for Humanity and Thrivent Partnership. Find out more about domestic and international programs.