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Habitat for Humanity Home Wall Raising

It may take a village to build a house, but it only takes a few individuals to come together and raise a wall.

April 2015

The sub-zero temperatures did not stop the ESL “VolunCare Crew” and Flower City Habitat for Humanity (FCHH) workers from collectively constructing and raising the final exterior wall of the second ESL Charitable Foundation-sponsored Habitat for Humanity home in late February. The Charitable Foundation provided two individual $75,000 grants to support the construction costs of the two homes in Rochester’s Josana neighborhood, the first of which was completed in summer 2013.

Despite frigid air temperatures, construction on the Habitat for Humanity home began in late January in a Habitat-leased warehouse on Atlantic Avenue.  There ESL and other volunteers constructed panels indoors, while sheltered from the brutal Rochester winter winds and temperatures. After panels were finished in the warehouse, they were transported by truck from Atlantic Avenue to Jay Street, for assembly in the record-setting February cold.

Constructing part of the home inside a warehouse was a first for FCHH, inspired by the opportunity to continue their build season throughout winter and to construct more houses annually. This innovative building practice is more efficient, safe, and helps create an overall more positive volunteer experience.

“I have no building experience,” said Brian Walsh, ESL’s Treasury Portfolio Manager, when asked about his prior construction experience. “But this is a lot of fun to come out here with my team. It is a great opportunity to learn some new skills together.”

"ESL and Habitat staff and volunteers have put in numerous hours of hard work to get the house to this point," said ESL CEO David L. Fiedler, and President of the ESL Charitable Foundation. "Not only is a deserving family one step closer to owning its own home, but Habitat is helping to revitalize neighborhoods in our community. We are grateful to have Flower City Habitat for Humanity as a valued partner."

"We are incredibly grateful to ESL Charitable Foundation and the employees of ESL Federal Credit Union for once again stepping up and demonstrating their commitment to affordable housing in Rochester by supporting our homebuilding program," said Matt Flanigan, President and CEO of Flower City Habitat. "We're especially grateful with this house, as the ESL team has supported our newest innovative building technique by being the first group of volunteers to build a panelized house with us. We hope that this technique will allow us to build more efficiently, safely, and provide a better volunteer experience during the winter months."

Created in 2013, the Employee Volunteer Program reinforces ESL’s core value of caring about people. As part of the volunteer program, employees are granted up to eight paid hours annually to volunteer at a pre-approved organization. Since the program’s inception, ESL employees have donated some 2,000 volunteer hours to other local non-profit organizations in addition to FCHH, including Foodlink, Junior Achievement, and the United Way.

Together, the partnership forged among the ESL Charitable Foundation, the ESL VolunCare Crew, and FCHH is helping to create lasting community impact, one home at a time, in the Josana neighborhood and the entire Greater Rochester community.