Traveling with a purpose: Building homes across the U.S.

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AURORA, S.D. (KELO) — Some people travel for fun, some travel for work and others travel to volunteer. The Care-A-Vanners with Habitat for Humanity travel the country to build houses and there’s a group of them in South Dakota this week.

Thirteen volunteers are in Aurora, South Dakota, today helping the Brookings Area Habitat for Humanity. The volunteers aren’t from around here, though. They’ve hit the road to travel with a purpose.

“Obviously I believe in Habitat’s mission and to have something useful to do, it’s great to be gone all summer and there’s plenty of beautiful places to see,” Brenda Sawyer, a Care-A-Vanner from Arizona said. “But to schedule a month of sight-seeing or whatever and then two weeks of building is, it’s just a nice way to order the summer for us.”

The Care-A-Vanners are volunteers with Habitat for Humanity who spend their time traveling the country in RV’s and helping with different house builds.

“People from all walks of life. We have lawyers, we have doctors, we have former construction workers,” Jeremy Kraut-Ordover, vice-president from Habitat for Humanity International, said. “It’s basically people that want to see the country and do good while they’re doing it.”

The volunteer groups stay in each area for two weeks at a time. The Brookings Area Habitat for Humanity will have three other Care-A-Vanner groups helping them throughout this summer.

“A big group of Care-A-Vanners, a big group of volunteers that comes in like they do, they can really push a project forward in a hurry,” Trever Shelden, director for construction for Brookings Area Habitat for Humanity, said. “Most of them come with great skills that we need for our projects.”

Brenda Sawyer and her husband have been traveling the country helping Habitat for Humanity for ten years now. They’ve done builds during both the winter and summer months.

“And it’s been great to get back after COVID because we didn’t build for over a year,” Sawyer said. “Care-A-Vanners program was closed down for the year. So most of us are just really excited to be back.”

Sawyer and her husband will also help with builds in Wyoming and Colorado this summer before heading home.

This group of Care-A-Vanners will be done helping the Brookings Area Habitat for Humanity on Friday.

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