Women build for Habitat for Humanity

Another house in Aiken County is being built with a woman's touch.

Habitat for Humanity recently broke ground on the second house it's constructing through the Women Build program.

That means it will be fully funded and built by women for a female homebuyer. Women do the actual building, though men are not excluded and many help with construction as instructors and supervisors.

Meghan Kehoe, a mother of two small children, will be buying the house and helping build it as part of her agreement with Habitat.

A full-time student at the University of South Carolina Aiken and a Wal-Mart employee, she was there to help ceremoniously scoop up the first bits of dirt at the site of her future home.

"I think it's a wonderful thing that all women can come together and build a house," Ms. Kehoe said.

To add a special touch, workers will use two pink studs in a wall.

The Women Build program began in Aiken County last year and is focused on recruiting women to join the Habitat program as volunteers.

Women don't have to volunteer to do the heavy lifting - volunteers also are needed in areas from administrative to recruiting.

On this cold January morning, the spirit seemed to focus more on the organization constructing another house.

Lessie Price, an Aiken city councilwoman, said it is the responsibility of everyone to make sure that others less fortunate have a decent place to live.

"There is no better gift we can give to an individual than the ownership of their own home," she said.

Since being established in 1988, the Aiken County affiliate of Habitat for Humanity has built dozens of houses for residents. Habitat houses are sold to qualified families who purchase them with no-interest mortgages.

Richard Church, the local affiliate's executive director, said hundreds of volunteers turned out to help build the first Women Build house.

Now, he said, "it's gotten even bigger."

For more information about the Women Build program, call volunteer administrator Lisa Carlton at (803) 642-9295, ext. 108.

Reach Sandi Martin at (803) 648-1395, ext. 111, or sandi.martin@augustachronicle.com.