by Summer Bessent
If you have ever volunteered on a Habitat for Humanity of Horry County build site, there is a good chance that you have met and worked alongside one of our many core volunteers, Alice Davenport. Since she began volunteering with our affiliate in 2017, she has clocked well over 1,000 hours of volunteer time!
Alice first became familiar with Habitat for Humanity when she was living in New Jersey. She volunteered at her local affiliate and through her church, she even did a couple mission trips to New Orleans to work on reconstruction projects after hurricane Katrina.
Once she retired and moved to Myrtle Beach, she knew that she wanted to give back to her community in some way. After sitting behind a desk for years when she was working, she knew that she wanted to do something different with her time in retirement. That drive to do something new and to give back led her to reach out to Habitat for Humanity of Horry County with specific interest in volunteering on our construction sites.
When asked why she specifically chose to volunteer on the construction sites, she said, “The end result that we’re going for is getting those people in that house and to me, to be able to be there and be a part of directly getting those people in that house is very meaningful.” While she enjoys the role she plays in building homes for Habitat families, she sees far beyond simply providing those families with a safe and affordable place to call their own. During her interview, she said, “It’s really great when I come out here and I talk to them [homebuyers] and they tell me about what they’re doing and what their work is, and sometimes they’ll share with me how going through the Habitat program has helped them to better understand that they need a stable income, and that they need to stabilize their financial situation. So yes, it’s great getting them in the house, but it’s worth more than the house. It’s about the fact that they understand what it means to be a homeowner. I think that’s really, really cool.”
Alice is fully invested in the work that we do here at Habitat for Humanity, but her interest in affordable housing actually started long before she became a volunteer. She shared that while she was in college, she did an independent study on that exact topic.
A large part of her study focused on how we can ensure that affordable housing is available in the community that people work in. She stated, “They’re not all going to be the top paid people in your community. They’re going to have a lot of those jobs that are in the different ranges of the income scale, and that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be able to be in affordable housing.” This is an issue that can be observed across our county, state, and the United States as a whole. Many people must deal with long commute times simply because they are priced out of the area in which they work.
When Alice was asked what she would say to anyone who is considering volunteering, she had much to offer. She said, “I think that if you find a place volunteering with Habitat, making you feel that you’re able to use your skills, that it is one of the most rewarding experiences you can have. I know some of the people at the ReStore and to them that’s very rewarding. I know other people that have helped out in more of an office capacity and to them that’s very rewarding. And then, of course I know pretty well a lot of the volunteers that come to the construction sites, with all different backgrounds, with all different interests, and all different opinions, and yet at the end of the day when we stand a wall up or put a roof up or see that they siding looks perfect at the end of the day, for every single one of them it gives them the kind of good feeling that you can’t otherwise get. “
If you are looking for a way to give back to your community and change the lives of those that live and work alongside you, follow Alice’s lead and reach out to us! While your work will directly allow us to further our mission of providing safe, decent, affordable homes to families in Horry County, you too will take something special away with you, and that is the feeling that you get knowing that you are truly making a difference.
Thank you, Alice, for all that you do for Habitat for Humanity of Horry County, and for the many families that we serve! We are incredibly grateful to have you on our team.