MORRIS – Margarita Gonzalez can’t wait until she is able to use the culinary skills she’s learning at Joliet Junior College in her own kitchen for her husband, Jose, and her daughters, Estefany and Isbella.
The Gonzalez family currently lives in the basement of Margarita’s parents’ home in Channahon, as Jose works full time and goes to school part time, and Margarita goes to school full time.
A house is something Jose promised his wife when they were married six years ago.
“We married six years ago when we finished high school,” he said. “I always told her I want to give her her own home by the time we are 25 or 26; my dream for her is coming true.”
His plan is right on schedule, Jose is currently 25 years old and his wife is 26 years old.
The Grundy-Three Rivers Habitat for Humanity celebrated the groundbreaking on its 11th home Thursday.
The house will be the fourth the organization has built in Morris and the third in its first subdivision, Hancock-Page, named after its founding members, Randy Hancock and Janet Page.
The house is being constructed on the old paper mill property on North Street in Morris, next door to the other two houses in the subdivision.
“They will be making memories with their family as they build their home,” said Julie Wilkinson, resource development committee chairwoman for Habitat for Humanity.
The groundbreaking took place at 6 p.m. Thursday with the family, Morris mayor and Habitat for Humanity officials taking ceremonial digs in the ground where the house will be built on the 900 block of east North Street.
The groundbreaking is just six days from the one-year anniversary of its last groundbreaking for the Mercado family, who moved in next door to the Gonzalez property.
The Gonzalez family was chosen at the same time as the Mercado family last year after they received about 25 completed applications, Wilkinson said.
“There happened to be two families who met the criteria who came out on top of the application process,” Wilkinson said. “It was helpful to have them in the program for a year.”
Habitat for Humanity works with low-income families to build homes and provide no-interest mortgages to get them into a home of their own.
As part of the program, the families perform labor on their own homes and help with the construction of other homes as part of the requirement to contribute 400 hours of “sweat equity” toward the construction of their house and at fundraising events.
Wilkinson said the Gonzalez family has already completed about 80 of their hours in the past year working on the Mercado home and participating in fundraisers.
“The first time I came out to the Mercado home, I saw all these older people building the house,” Jose said. “I said if they can do it I can, even if I don’t get a house, I’m going to help them.”
He said it was nice seeing everyone work together to help people they don’t know.
The city of Morris purchased five acres of the paperboard property from Grundy County in April 2009.
In an agreement with Habitat for Humanity, it will sell the lots to the organization as it has funding available.
The house is going to be approximately 1,100 square feet and have a one-car garage. It is expected to cost about $85,000 and will be constructed with donations from area businesses, individuals, churches and civic groups, as well as with donated and discounted materials from local contractors.
To donate to the Gonzalez home, you may send donations to Grundy-Three Rivers Habitat for Humanity, 105 E. Main St., Suite 202, Morris, IL 60450.