WORCESTER, Mass. - Three local families now have a place they can call home after dozens gathered on Harrison Street in Worcester to celebrate Habitat for Humanity’s latest build.

What You Need To Know

  • Habitat for Humanity welcomed three families into new homes on Harrison Street in Worcester on Wednesday

  • The project had started in the early days of the pandemic, and small volunteer crews kept progress going

  • Among those moving into their new home is a woman named Yaritza, a single mother of five who also helped volunteer

  • She urges others to donate their time to Habitat for Humanity

For the families, the day was something they’ve been looking forward to for many months. Volunteers with Habitat for Humanity MetroWest/Greater Worcester broke ground on the project just as the COVID-19 pandemic began, and Executive Director Debbie Maruca Hoak said it turned into quite the logistical challenge keeping progress moving as the world shut down.

“We weren't able to have large groups of volunteers out to build,” Maruca Hoak said. “We built this with two, three, four people on site at a time. Our regular group of volunteers and our dedicated construction staff really are primarily responsible for the gorgeous buildings we've got behind us.”

Among those who donated their time is a woman named Yaritza, and on Wednesday, her hard work paid off as she received the key to a home she helped build.

“We worked on it for a little bit, so just to see the final finalization on it, it's just amazing,” Yaritza said. “It's so bright in there. It's so big with so much room, especially for my little girl to be running around. It’s a great, great feeling.”

Yaritza is a single mother of five children, one of whom has Down syndrome. Their previous apartment was cramped, her kids had to share bedrooms, and there wasn’t any space to store toys or clothes.

For her, the home is life changing.

“It means everything to me and my kids,” Yaritza said. “We come from the projects, so this is a big step for us. Everything's been great. I loved working with everybody in the office… We wouldn't be able to do this without the volunteers, and they are great.”

The build may have taken longer than usual to complete, but Habitat for Humanity’s volunteers said watching a house become a home is the best part of the job, no matter how long it takes.

Yaritza hopes her story inspires others to roll up their sleeves and get to work.

“Let's get the word out there,” Yaritza said. “You know, we do need a lot more volunteers. We're working on two other homes on Sunderland Road and we just need a lot of volunteers, so it would be great.”