Local churches join forces to build Faith House for family

HILTON HEAD ISLAND—A small group of men and women are close to finishing construction on a ‘Faith House’ that will become a home for a Hilton Head Island family.

Parishioners from Holy Family and St. Francis by the Sea, along with members of St. Andrew by the Sea United Methodist, have joined with Hilton Head Regional Habitat for Humanity to build the small, wood-frame house.

Dennis Mahoney, a parishioner at Holy Family, said about 30 volunteers from the three churches typically work at the site.

“Some of the volunteers work two to three days a week, others once or twice a month,” Mahoney said.

The parish first considered a Habitat project back in 2015 at a meeting with Msgr. Joseph Hanley, Father Mike Crowley, Habitat CEO Pat Wirth, and Brenda Dooley, Hilton Head Habitat assistant executive direct.

Fundraising at the three churches started last summer, with plans to begin building that October, but Hurricane Matthew pushed the start date to Jan. 12, when volunteers built and raised the home’s wooden frame.

“There was a mid-morning dedication ceremony,” Mahoney said, which included an invocation by Msgr. Hanley, then-pastor of Holy Family. Deacon Pat Sheehan from St. Francis blessed the build, while prayers were offered by the Rev. Daniel Burbage, associate pastor at St. Andrew Methodist Church.

Around 30 volunteers from the three churches attended the dedication. “We’ve done these types of builds in the past,” Dooley said, “with the idea that not all churches are able to raise the funds and provide volunteers on their own.”

Habitat uses licensed professionals for specialty work, such as HVAC, electrical and plumbing. “By bringing churches together, they can share in those efforts and provide a great service to the community,” Dooley said. The three-bedroom homes generally cover around 1,100 square feet, she said.

This particular home, the 101st for the Hilton Head chapter, is being built for the Antonella Fioritti family. She has helped build not only her home, but also homes of other Habitat families, Dooley said.

Once completed, Fioritti will buy her home from Habitat with a 30- year, interest-free mortgage. The payments are placed in a fund for use by Habitat in building additional homes.

Mahoney, an engineer by profession, said he began volunteering with Habitat two years ago, but has been involved in home building and repair most of his life.

“Part of the reason that any of us volunteers do things like this is that we have been so blessed … and this is an opportunity to give back to those in need,” Mahoney said.

Habitat hopes to have the Fioritti home finished this month.

All photos, Miscellany/Gerald Weaver: Shelly Hudson prepares to place a rafter in the new Faith House on Hilton Head Island on Jan. 27. Hudson is a volunteer with the Hilton Head Regional Habitat for Humanity.