Habitat for Humanity and the Florida Gulf Coast University softball team came together on Saturday morning to help one family get closer to having a home.
The team volunteered its time to help raise the walls of the future Harlem Heights home of a mother and daughter who have been living in overcrowded conditions.
Daniela Marquetti and her mother Hilda Gonzalez share a 2-bedroom, 1-bath home with another family.
They need an affordable and decent place to live and Habitat for Humanity and the team are helping them achieve their goal.
“I’m really happy because soon I’m gonna be owning my own house. I’m really grateful for this girl’s helping us today and I am really excited to see that everything’s coming up together and everything is just going really fast,” Gonzalez said.
Katie Cribbs, public relations coordinator, said they’re thankful for the athletes who volunteered their time.
“These athletes, they’re full-time students. They’re full-time athletes, yet they’re finding the time to come out this Saturday and help build a home,” Cribbs said. “And what’s truly special is once these walls are up, once they have this experience, they’re going to forever be able to drive by that home, to drive by that site and say, I helped build that house, and it’s truly going to be an amazing experience for them.”
Jenna Modic-Blythers, an assistant coach with the FGCU softball team, said the team was looking forward to helping.
“You know, I think as women, it’ll show them that no matter what, you can have an opportunity and you can always help out another person,” Modic-Blythers said. “It could be a team full of girls coming to help raise these walls for this home. I think it’s just an awesome, really symbol, to show how strong we are as a whole and how, you know, when you put multiple hands together, a lot of hands makes light work. And so, to be able to help is really cool.”
Cece Schepp, the director of communications for Habitat for Humanity, said there is a critical need for affordable housing in Lee County.
The new home will help improve Marquetti and Gonzalez’s mental and physical health, Schepp said.
“It’s important for them to have a fresh start and a place they can call their own and have pride in that,” Schepp said. “That’s why it’s so important for them to be here today.”
Randy Airhart is the Carpenter for Habitat for Humanity for Lee and Hendry counties.
“The girls have come out and lifted him up and nailed the braces and stuff on him and then got that taken care of. And did a really good job,” Airhart said.
Once the mother and daughter get to buy their home through Habitat for Humanity, they will receive a zero to low-interest loan.