More than 1,000 women plan to build 6 Habitat for Humanity homes in Toronto
More than 1,000 women will strive to help build homes for 35 men, women and children and reach an ambitious goal of raising $1 million for the charity.
Ramna Shahzad, The Canadian Press
Published Wednesday, September 18, 2013 7:12AM EDT
TORONTO -- More than 100 women are to gather Wednesday morning to launch Habitat for Humanity Toronto's 2013 Women Build campaign and break ground on a six-home site.
During the 11-day event, more than 1,000 women will strive to help build homes for 35 men, women and children and reach an ambitious goal of raising $1 million for the charity.
Amy Beintner is one of the Toronto "superheroes" participating in the project.
The single mother of four young children and full-time student at George Brown College spent last weekend as "Super Amy."
Sporting a pink cape, a bright pink hard hat, and a shirt with "Super Amy" written on the back with a shield and hammer on the front resembling the Superman logo, Beintner organized a bottle drive.
Beintner and her team raised over $1,300 by accepting donations and sorting out bottles a local beer store. Aside from going door-to-door to raise funds, she also asked stores in her community to collect donations, and even sold pink hammer-shaped Rice Krispies treats.
"The main reason I chose to fundraise with Women Build was simply that 100 per cent of my fundraising dollars was going to the build," Beintner said. "I know what it's like trying to raise a family, maintain bills and keep a roof over your head that is not big enough. I understand the need."
Since 2009, Habitat Toronto's Women Build campaign has raised over $2 million and helped construct over 50 homes, aided by around 2,700 women volunteers.
Kristin Philpot, director of annual giving at Habitat for Humanity Toronto, said the Women Build grows in popularity each year. This year, women from all over Toronto ranging from teenagers to retirees are working together in teams of 80 to 90 people per day through Sept. 28.
Philpot says that women don't always get the opportunity to build.
"Over half of the women will have never swung a hammer before," she said. "This is a place where they can feel confident. They aren't going to get delegated to sweeping."
Experienced crew leaders will be on site to guide the women in pink hard hats and superhero shirts as they construct the houses, located at Kipling Avenue and Dixon Road.
On Sept. 23, over 30 women from all government levels are expected to help build the homes, a first in Toronto's Habitat history.
Women Build has reached 85 per cent of its $1 million goal. One of the top contributors is Toronto author and columnist, Vera Held. She has raised almost $7,000.
Held says she signed up as a volunteer a month ago as a birthday gift for herself.
"Immediately, it kicked off," she said.
She says she has reached out to her personal, professional and ethnic network to raise money for Habitat. Held has received donations from connections online, from her gym, car and insurance provider, grocery store -- and even her pet foods store.
"It's been the craziest month of my life," Held said.
Tricia Wedderburn, a single mother of three, says she's grateful to Habitat Toronto for the opportunity to own a home, calling it "an absolute dream come true."