WASHINGTON, DC - This week, Oct. 4-9, marks the 27th Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter Work Project. Linda Fuller, co-founder of Habitat for Humanity, is joining the Carters and hundreds of others in Washington, D.C. as part of a special "Thanks a Million" dinner in honor of the Carters on Monday Oct. 4th, 2010.
Source: Habitat for Humanity
"The Carters have always been special friends," says Linda Fuller. "I am grateful for the opportunity to be part of this wonderful event honoring the Carter's commitment these past 27 years to helping improve the lives of those suffering in substandard living conditions. Because of their involvement, they've been absolutely instrumental in putting a spotlight on the important issue of affordable housing."
The President and former first lady began volunteering with Habitat for Humanity in 1984 a few years after they returned to Plains, Ga. from The White House. Habitat was an 8-year-young organization at the time that most people had never heard of. The Carters joined the worldwide non-profit housing ministry at the invitation of Habitat founder and President, Millard Fuller who lived and led the Habitat organization in Americus, Ga., 10 miles away from the Carter's hometown of Plains, Ga.
Linda Fuller, widow of the late Mr. Fuller recalls, "Millard was jumping for joy when he returned from a visit with the Carters at their home. He told me, 'President Carter said he and Rosalynn were not only interested but very interested in doing some hands-on involvement with Habitat.'" President Carter suggested Fuller create a list of ideas of how he and Rosalynn could be helpful. When Fuller came back with a list of 15 items, to Fuller's amazement, they agreed to all of them.
One of those 15 items included an annual weeklong build. The first two years, the "Jimmy Carter Work Project" took place in what was then a decimated neighborhood on the lower East Side of New York City. Media burst with stories about a former president of the U.S. wearing overalls and working right alongside the Fullers, other volunteers like themselves and soon-to-be homeowners.
The Fullers left Habitat for Humanity International in 2005 after 29 years of leadership and founded a similar organization, The Fuller Center for Housing, as a way to continue their mission of helping the poor. "God called us to this work more than 40 years ago," said Linda Fuller. "Millard and I lived a very wealthy lifestyle, we were millionaires in our twenties, and we decided to give away our wealth and serve others. The result of that decision was the start of Habitat for Humanity in 1976 and then The Fuller Center in 2005. We have truly been blessed."