MARSHALL, Tx (KLTV) - More than 150 college students, faculty, and other volunteers in Marshall are volunteering their Spring Break to make a difference in the life of an East Texas family.
In support of East Texas Baptist University’s Neighborhood Renewal Initiative, ETBU is partnering with Northeast Texas Habitat for Humanity to execute ETBU’s first Blitz Build in Marshall during Spring Break 2020.
“A Blitz Build is where we try to build an entire home in one week’s time,” said LaJuan Gordon, CEO of Northeast Texas Habitat for Humanity.
“We’ve built about a hundred houses in northeast Texas over our 35 year history... this is the first time we’ve had a Blitz Build."
Habitat for Humanity typically spends about 10 weeks building a Habitat home, Gordon explained, so to knock out the planning and construction in one week would be quite a feat.
“So, as you can imagine, we’re cramming about 50 hours of building with about 100 people. We have to make sure we’ve got things organized with our city, our sub-contractors, and of course, we’ve got the hands and heart to do the building,” Gordon said.
In the months leading up to the build, ETBU secured a vacant lot near campus in an effort to help provide affordable, quality housing for local families. The university has donated the lot in support of the Blitz Build program and scheduled volunteers to cover the work site throughout the week.
“Our mission at ETBU is to be a Christ-center institution; for us to share the love of Christ,” said ETBU President J. Blair Blackburn. “And one of those core commitments is to enhance our community.”
Finding the students to make such a commitment wasn’t hard. ETBU students are required to perform at least one hour of community service every week during the course of a semester.
Blackburn said aside from the community service requirement, many students commonly give to the community.
“When we announced that we were doing the project, we had students wanting to sign up and be a part of it,” Blackburn explained. “Again, we’re on Spring Break. They could be at home, they could be going on trips, you know, taking it easy. But these students have committed their Spring Break to helping this family.”
Since Blackburn started the Marshall Neighborhood Renewal program, ETBU has demolished and removed 16 houses in the city.