“God’s Work Our Hands” day of service for Lutheran Church of the Master is Saturday, September 15, with these service opportunities:
1. Habitat for Humanity:
- build using your carpentry skills
- purchase food for volunteers
- prepare meals for the volunteers
- deliver meals to workers
2. Pick up trash along Kuhn Road as part of the LCM “Adopt a Highway.”
To volunteer for “Habitat for Humanity,” please contact Julie Mangum (847-652-7041); to volunteer for “Adopt a Highway” please contact Patti Edwards.
The “Adopt-a-Highway” program was initiated by James “Bobby” Evans, a young engineer in Texas who was alarmed watching debris fly out of the bed of a pickup truck. That was in 1964. He learned that the cost of picking up litter was increasing 15-20 percent each year, so he challenged a group to “adopt” and clean a section of highway. The challenge went unanswered, but the idea was born. Mr. Evans then brought his idea to the Texas Department of Transportation. The Department liked the idea, offered to furnish safety training, reflective vests, equipment and “Adopt-a-Highway” signs. The Tyler, Texas Civitan Club was the first to volunteer, adopting a two-mile stretch along US Highway 69.
“Habitat for Humanity” was founded in 1976 by Linda and Willard Fuller. Millard Fuller was born in 1935, the only child of a sharecropper in Alabama. His family was poor. He was determined to leave poverty. He began his own business as a child, selling pigs, chickens, rabbits and fish bait. He moved on to selling silk hosiery and underwear as a door-to-door salesperson. While studying at the University of Alabama, he waited tables.
At law school, he, Linda Caldwell and Morris Dees (who later co-founded the Southern Poverty Law Center) began a direct-mail business selling cookbooks and knick-knacks. In 1959 Linda Caldwell and Millard Fuller married; they had four children.
By 1964, at age 29, Linda and Millard were millionaires. The strain of work nearly cost them health and family. Inspired by what they heard in church, they knew they had to make changes in their lives. They decided to live their faith; they sold their possessions and gave the proceeds, a million dollars, to Tougaloo College.
The Fuller family moved from Alabama to Koinonia Farm near Americus, Georgia, a community founded by Clarence Jordan in 1942 as a “demonstration plot for the Kingdom of God.” Clarence Jordan was a Biblical scholar and author of “The Cotton Patch Gospel.” Koinoina Farm championed community living, sustainable agriculture, local African American history, the Civil Rights Movement and involvement in peace and justice movements. The Fullers and Clarence Jordan took seriously a biblical edict in Exodus 22:25, “If you lend money to any of My people who are poor among you, you shall not be like a moneylender to him; you shall not charge him interest.” Koinoinia Farms continues to thrive to this day.
In 1969, Jordan and the Fullers began building homes and selling them interest-free to those in need. Jordan died in 1969, but the project continued and by mid-1972, 27 homes were built. A two-month visit to Zaire in 1968 with the United Church of Christ was on his mind, so in 1973 Millard and Linda Fuller and family returned to Zaire, now the Democratic Republic of Congo, where they lived for four years and built homes for 2000 people.
When Willard and Linda Fuller moved to Americus in 1976, they worked together with friends and established Habitat for Humanity. Under Fuller’s leadership, 175,000 homes were built in 100 countries. Their work attracted many prominent volunteers including Roslyn and Jimmy Carter.
Hundreds of thousands of low-income families that had been living in substandard housing benefit from Habitat’s no-interest mortgages. Would-be homeowners make a small down-payment and spend a certain number of hours building their home with the help of volunteers.
Habitat reported by 2017, 13.2 million people obtained a safer place to sleep at night and in 2017, 3.5 million people improved their living conditions.