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on December 05, 2016 at 6:21 PM, updated December 05, 2016 at 6:22 PM
“It’s going to be great,” said his older brother, Zavion, 10, who will have his own room in the brand new house.
The Monroes will be moving into their new home in a few weeks, just in time for Christmas, thanks to the efforts of Habitat for Humanity and local churches who joined together to construct the home on Allen Street in the East Forest Park neighborhood.
“We have had about 140 volunteers put in 896 hours of volunteer work into this home,” said Liz Persch, program services coordinator for the Greater Springfield Habitat for Humanity.
A build can take up to two years, but this project was done in six months.
“We had very consistent volunteer groups every weekend, as well as great skilled workers who served as build leaders and business connections through our Circle of Faith group,” said Kris McKelvie, construction manager for the project.
A Circle of Faith build is unique in that interfaith groups come together not only to work on the project but to fund it as well and create an opportunity for dialogue among different faith communities.
For this build there were 13 faith groups involved, including: Church of Epiphany-Christ the King; East Longmeadow United Methodist Church; Episcopal Church of the Atonement; First Church of Christ Longmeadow; Foster Memorial Church; Friends of St. Cecilia Parish; Islamic Society of Western Massachusetts; Sinai Temple; Sisters of Providence Health/ Mercy Hospital; St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church; St. Luke Greek Orthodox Church; St. Mark’s Episcopal Church; and St. Michael’s Parish.
A dedication of the home was held on Sunday to welcome the family and included words of blessings from all of the different religious groups.
Dr. M. Saleem Bajwa, of the Islamic Society of Western Massachusetts, said a major aspect of the project is getting various faiths to work together.
“May God keep this house full of prayers, peace, love and compassion, and may we all continue to work together for the betterment of humanity,” he said.
For LaToya Monroe, who will live in the house with her three sons, Zavion, Zyair and Zayden, 1, the home is like a lottery prize, she said.
“I am so excited to have our first really nice family dinner here,” said the mother of three, who has lived in a third floor apartment building in Chicopee for the past 10 years. “No more climbing up three flights of stairs with these three, no more calling the maintenance man to clean up the hallway,” she said.
Monroe and her children committed to the project by doing 300 hours of volunteer work in the community. Monroe worked with her church, Holy Redeemer Cathedral in Springfield, to coach a basketball team and cheerleading team as well as helping to build the house. Her sons contributed by getting A’s and B’s in school, each worth a few hours.
“This is just a true blessing for our family, and we are so thankful,” she said.