Habitat for Humanity partners with local university to help hurricane victims


IMMOKALEE, Fla. Habitat for Humanity responds to people devastated by Hurricane Irma in Immokalee today, with the help of a group of students from Ave Maria University.

This neighborhood in Immokalee is completely made up of Habitat homes, which already house 90 families, including Maria Cardenas family.

Cardenas and her husband put in 500 hours of work to help build their Habitat home.

“It’s something to call yours, it’s your own place to raise a family,” Cardenas said.

Even Cardenas daughter is in love with her new home.

“She is so excited when people come over,” Cardenas said. “She’s like, ‘Come see my room, my room!”

When Hurricane Irma was headed directly for Immokalee, everything came into perspective for the first-time homeowner.

“My daughter has a ritual, she says bye to the house,” Cardenas said. “For us, it was hard to not shed a tear at that because we didn’t know what it was gonna be like when we got back.”

Cardenas home didn’t get damaged, but some surrounding houses did.

That’s why the Ave Maria University students with the Mother Teresa Project and Habitat for Humanity broke ground on two new sites today.

Andrew Nussbaum is a Mother Teresa Project scholar who helped build homes in this neighborhood.

“All it takes is a little bit of effort, that’ll go a long way,” Nussbaum.

The new construction will eventually become two homes for people who lost everything from Hurricane Irma.

“They handled it with so much grace, these are some of the happiest people in the world because they love each other,” Cradenas said.

Nussbaum said they are using that kind of spirit to guide them through this project, love and some dirt.

The volunteers and students will begin construction on Oct. 21.


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