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Old 08-03-2011, 10:17 AM   #1
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Habitat for Humanity RV Care-A-Vanners

We volunteered in our hometown area on weekends but this is a 2 week commitment and wondered if anyone can comment on their experiences. Since our travel cost are ours, even tho tax deductable, does it end up being a big expense? There are builds all over the US and of course we can choose which ones to go on. Thanks
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Old 12-07-2011, 06:58 AM   #2
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Brenda and Frank,

did you ever pursue HFH Care A Vanner work? I see no replies from your note several months ago.

I have done several of the builds over the last few years and have nothing but positive experiences to share. I highly recommend them.

PM me if you want to talk directly.

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Old 12-23-2011, 08:42 AM   #3
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First Timers and We Loved It!

RV Care-A-Vanners has been on our radar screen for several years. We've longed for the day when we could take two weeks and help build a house. We've always enjoyed the one-day builds (on multiple weekends) done through our church and employer. So a two-week stint sounded like good fun, fellowship and adventure.

Our first time with RV Care-A-Vanners was a recent build in Dade City, Florida (just northeast of Tampa). The two week experience was everything we hoped it would be. We thoroughly enjoyed meeting the other RVers, meeting the local Habitat personnel, working on the house(s), meeting the new homeowner, etc.

Based on discussion with other first-timers and some who have Care-A-Vanned for a number of years, each build is different, but each is a wonderful experience. We liked it every bit as much as we hoped and have signed up for another and are tentatively planning on several more. They fill up fast so you have to watch the build list regularly so you can find locations that suit your destinations.

Click here for the build list

When we choose a location we look for volunteer camps with sewer hookups at the site. Some camps offer a dump location, some have a dump station off-site and some have a sewer hookup. We don't need to dump every day but we certainly cannot go two weeks without dumping. So be sure to look for that and be aware of your needs.

The volunteer camp sites will vary (sometimes dramatically) from one Habitat affiliate to another. The location in Dade City was several contiguous city lots that had been made into an RV area that would handle about 20 rigs parked closely together. We've been told some volunteer camps are in parking lots, some are in local campgrounds. It depends...

One fellow we worked with told us about a Beatitude that is not found in the Bible - blessed are the flexible for they shall not be permanently bent out of shape. This motto applies to working with Habitat in general and certainly applies to RV Care-A-Vanners. Approach your camping area and various work assignments with compromise and empathy and you'll be fine. You will likely not be staying in an RV resort and your work assignments may simply be picking up trash.

We've found Habitat allows each individual to work at their level of ability and desire. If you want to learn new skills at the job site there will be people around that will help. It's not an official training program by any means but people around you will help. There will be times when things are slow - ran out of materials, waiting for another group to finish, weather delays, and other problems. At that point just think about "blessed are the flexible...." and find another job - pick up nails, pick up trash, sweep the floor - whatever needs to be done.

Many Habitat affiliates also have other volunteer opportunities. Check with the location you are considering and see what's going on in the area. Some affiliates have a ReStore (second hand shop) that needs manpower, you may be able to help with homeowner training classes, you may be able to work in the office. There are volunteer possibilities other than swinging a hammer.

Keep track of your expenses. Items that can be attributed to the Habitat build are tax deductible. Check with an accountant but I suspect you can itemize your mileage to/from your home (or previous location), your meals (or at least some of them), your camp fee if there is one, and other related expenses.

In closing, we loved it and hope to help on many more builds. We're on a wait list for an upcoming build and we will be signing up for several more. I hope you enjoy your experience as much as we enjoyed our time.

Lucius
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Old 12-24-2011, 09:50 AM   #4
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Thank you for sharing Lucious. We did enjoy the local builds, so we will be sure to try one of the two-week builds.
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Old 03-22-2012, 08:41 AM   #5
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Our Recent Habitat Trip

I've attached pictures of our recent trip. The Habitat work was in Thibodaux, LA.

We were on the road a week or so before we went to Thibodaux - visiting Mobile, AL and the Biloxi, MS area and then headed to Louisiana. On the sightseeing leg of our LA trip, we stayed at Chicot State Park - enjoying some time Ville Platte, Eunice, Mamou and the surrounding area. If you ever have a chance to be in Eunice on Saturday evening be sure to check out the Cajun Radio Show held in the old theater.

Next it was on to Thibodaux for the Habitat work. We had lots of fun building and sightseeing in and around Thibodaux and Houma, LA. Every Habitat affiliate is different and each building project is different. We met interesting people and had a good time.

After we left Thibodaux we decided to spend a few days on the north shore of Lake Ponchartrain. It's a beautiful area and we'd love to go back again sometime. We stayed at Fontainebleau State Park.

Here are the captions for the pictures:

1) Bourgeois Meat Market - heaven for a sausage lover. "Miracles In Meat" - what more needs to be said.

2) Angela celebrated a birthday when we were there. I did not ask her age.

3) Bill makes excellent bread and is a very good chef in general. This particular morning (Mardis Gras) he was making beignets.

4) Parade participants in Houma, LA

5) Piles and piles of beads. Where do they all come from and where do they go after the parade? Turns out many of the beads are recycled in a variety of ways - art projects, re-used next year, therapy for the home-bound, etc.

6) Can you say crawfish? This was a special lunch for college students helping with Habitat. The students came down from Ontario.

7) A UFO impaled itself on the side of an Airstream. This picture was taken at the Mystery Museum in Abita Springs, LA

8) Another picture from the Mystery Museum

9) Sunset over Lake Pontchartrain.

10) Yes, we did some work for Habitat - this shows one of the guys installing kitchen cabinets. Our group also installed ceramic tile, painted interior walls doors and trim as well as general cleaning and debris removal, installing insulation and some woodworking.
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Old 03-22-2012, 01:46 PM   #6
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Baker Bill is the greatest!! He made an excellent tort for my birthday a couple of years ago.

What an GREAT guy, hopefully more irv2'er will get a chance to meet him.

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Old 03-22-2012, 05:04 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nvestysly
I've attached pictures of our recent trip. The Habitat work was in Thibodaux, LA.

We were on the road a week or so before we went to Thibodaux - visiting Mobile, AL and the Biloxi, MS area and then headed to Louisiana. On the sightseeing leg of our LA trip, we stayed at Chicot State Park - enjoying some time Ville Platte, Eunice, Mamou and the surrounding area. If you ever have a chance to be in Eunice on Saturday evening be sure to check out the Cajun Radio Show held in the old theater.

Next it was on to Thibodaux for the Habitat work. We had lots of fun building and sightseeing in and around Thibodaux and Houma, LA. Every Habitat affiliate is different and each building project is different. We met interesting people and had a good time.

After we left Thibodaux we decided to spend a few days on the north shore of Lake Ponchartrain. It's a beautiful area and we'd love to go back again sometime. We stayed at Fontainebleau State Park.

Here are the captions for the pictures:

1) Bourgeois Meat Market - heaven for a sausage lover. "Miracles In Meat" - what more needs to be said.

2) Angela celebrated a birthday when we were there. I did not ask her age.

3) Bill makes excellent bread and is a very good chef in general. This particular morning (Mardis Gras) he was making beignets.

4) Parade participants in Houma, LA

5) Piles and piles of beads. Where do they all come from and where do they go after the parade? Turns out many of the beads are recycled in a variety of ways - art projects, re-used next year, therapy for the home-bound, etc.

6) Can you say crawfish? This was a special lunch for college students helping with Habitat. The students came down from Ontario.

7) A UFO impaled itself on the side of an Airstream. This picture was taken at the Mystery Museum in Abita Springs, LA

8) Another picture from the Mystery Museum

9) Sunset over Lake Pontchartrain.

10) Yes, we did some work for Habitat - this shows one of the guys installing kitchen cabinets. Our group also installed ceramic tile, painted interior walls doors and trim as well as general cleaning and debris removal, installing insulation and some woodworking.
Thanks for the work you all of you do. I hope you enjoyed your visit in Cajun country.

James
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Old 06-07-2012, 07:56 AM   #8
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Our next Habitat trip will be in NJ. it's not part of Care-A-Vanners, we simply emailed the affiliate and asked if they had work available. Later in the summer we'll be in MI for another build. Try it... You'll like it!

So even if you can't commit for two weeks call/email the affiliate - maybe you can work for a day or two.

Lucius
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Old 06-07-2012, 08:55 AM   #9
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I volunteer regularly with the Dallas, Texas Habitat affiliate and love it! I didn't know about the Care-A-Vanners and plan to check it out. We leave Texas every summer due to the heat so this could be a great way to continue helping.
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Old 07-01-2012, 07:01 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Old Dude 66
We leave Texas every summer due to the heat so this could be a great way to continue helping.
Where are you now? We're headed to Michigan later this summer. Habitat has been a great experience for us.
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Old 07-02-2012, 08:55 AM   #11
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We are still in Texas and plan to leave for Colorado tomorrow. I have registered with Habitat and have looked at the various build locations. I hope to sign up for some next year. They have one in Pagosa Springs but it is full.
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Old 07-02-2012, 09:32 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by nvestysly View Post
One fellow we worked with told us about a Beatitude that is not found in the Bible - blessed are the flexible for they shall not be permanently bent out of shape.
Will bookmark the build list.. Sounds like something I might be interested in.

LOVE that Beatitude.

I have worked with Rebuilding Together, a kissing cousin of Habbait, (Rebuilding works with needy home owners, doing needed repairs and re-furbishing on their houses) several times in Oakland County, MI. The Church I belonged to there put over 100 pairs of hands on the projects, most years doing 2 homes or more, This is out of around 500 volunteers total on the projects.


For those who do not know Rebuliding.. They are a one day a year outfit for most of us.. Depending on the house a professional crew may come in and do some prep work before, and follow up work after (Rebuilding, for example, does not do roofing, which is my speciality in this area, Though I no longer do it either) but on the big day, usually Saturday, the big crew comes in and paints, cleans up, lays carpet or flooring, does electrical or plumbing and carpentry and such. Whatever is needed.

Myself I was usually a "Go-Fer" when means I started on Friday and went to pick up some donations, Then while everybody else was at the big rally, I was at the job sites setting up tables, Coffee, Donuts and such. Of course I was also the last to clear the site at the end of the day (After securing the coffee service and taking down the tables) During the day I'd run to Home Depot, or the hardware, or wherever for supplies, the church for the worker's bag lunches, and so on. Long day but a lot of fun. and I am currently wearing the T-Shirt as they say (Really am, that' the shirt I have on as I type this). Alas, for many reasons, I no longer go to chruch there. (mostly logistic) since going full time in the RV and for other reaons have not been able to participate in that program (yet) Where I do go to church.

But that will change, likely in 2014, If Ziwicker & Assoicates does not get their way first.
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Old 07-02-2012, 10:07 AM   #13
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For those interested, there is a religeous orginazation that uses volunteers all over the country. "SOWERS", Servants On Wheels Ever Ready. Google their name and the web site will come up. Great orginazation.
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Old 09-16-2012, 07:52 PM   #14
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My wife and I went to Iron Mountain, Michigan this summer to work on a Habitat build. The Menominee River Habitat for Humanity affiliate is responsible for the work in this part of the Upper Peninsula. The affiliate, the homeowner (and her family), everyone in the area were great! And I mean GREAT! We'd go back again.

This was our fourth RV Care-A-Vanner build and I can't say enough about this program. Whether you have construction experience or not - it does not matter - there's a job for everyone.

I'd really like to promote an iRV2 Habitat Build. Chime in with your interest. Maybe we can put together an iRV2 Habitat Rally

Lucius
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