Alexandra Casazza, wearing a bandanna on her head and equipped with a hammer and nails, was ready to help her mother, Teresa, build the framework of a new home for a local family in need.
“I never handled a hammer in my life, but this is what my mom wanted to do on Mother’s Day weekend,” said Casazza, 17, of Sayville. “It’s her early Mother’s Day gift.”
The Casazzas were among the seven mother/daughter pairs to volunteer with Habitat for Humanity of Suffolk on Saturday to build the framework of a ranch in East Patchogue.
Teresa Casazza, who has owned TFC Electric, an electrical contracting company in Sayville since 1994, was thrilled to help build an affordable home with her daughter.
“This is our first experience with Habitat for Humanity, but this isn’t the first time I’ve done something like this,” she said. “But I couldn’t think of a better way to spend Mother’s Day weekend than by holding a hammer in my hand next to my daughter.”
Middle Island-based Habitat for Humanity of Suffolk organized this build, which began Friday and is a part of National Women Build Week. During that time, Habitat for Humanity recruits and educates women on building and advocating for affordable houses in their communities. Nearly 10,000 women are building across the country May 4-12.
Diane Burke, interim executive director and chief executive of Habitat for Humanity of Suffolk, said the mother/daughter pairs are setting up the floor system and creating headers for the home’s doors and windows. The estimated completion date of the home is next January.
“People with low to moderate income come to us to fulfill their dream of home ownership,” she said. “This experience is like nothing else. It’s fulfilling to build a house that someone could call their home someday.”
Desiree Bollerup used to volunteer with Habitat for Humanity while enrolled at the University of North Carolina in 2011. But this time she was able to bring along her mother, Carolyn.
“After college, I wanted to continue to help Habitat for Humanity and I’ve always wanted my family to be involved,” said Bollerup, 24, of Shirley. “So, I thought this would be a great activity for me and my mom to do together and just in time for Mother’s Day.”
Lloyd Middendorf, a 19-year employee of Cablevision and, and his 24-year-old daughter, Arli, a graduate of Adelphi University in Garden City, will be the recipients of the home.
“I’m thrilled that I’ll finally be able to own my own home,” said Middendorf, whose daughter gives him Mother’s Day cards because he has filled both roles so well. “It’s always been a dream of mine.”