Delta Volunteers Work On Third Habitat Build In Asia

June 9th, 2011

Nearly 50 Staff Members And A Delta Customer Help To Build Five Houses In Pinghu Near Shanghai

Eric Arndt, general manager at HFH China’s Shanghai office, with Delta volunteer Scarlet at the recent build in Pinghu.

SHANGHAI, 9th June 2011: Habitat for Humanity China hosted nearly 50 staff members from U.S. carrier Delta Air Lines who helped out at its project near Shanghai.

The volunteers, comprising international and local employees as well as a Delta customer, worked on five houses in Pinghu municipality.

The build was part of Delta’s Force for Global Good program to encourage socially responsible and philanthropic efforts by employees and customers.

This is the third time which Delta has built with Habitat in Asia. The first trip was made to India in 2007. Two years later, in 2009, nearly 70 Delta employees traveled to Chiang Mai, northern Thailand, to lend a hand in the Jimmy & Rosalynn Carter Work Project.

For the three-day build in Pinghu, about 70 km. from Shanghai, the Delta volunteers laid bricks and mixed cement, among other tasks. They were joined by more than 20 local volunteers from China Southern and China Eastern airlines, part of the SkyTeam alliance of which Delta is a founding member.

Among the volunteers was Ronald Hernandez, a Delta SkyMiles member who successfully bid more than 483,000 miles in an online auction to participate in the build. The miles, worth US13,000, will be donated to Habitat for Humanity.

“This was my first time working on a Habitat project and also my visit to China. The SkyMiles auction gave me a unique opportunity to experience China in a way few people have or ever will, and I feel fortunate to have been able to do it,” Hernandez wrote in a blog on Delta’s website.

Barbara Martin, first-time Delta volunteer, said, “My strongest impression is how alike we are, no matter different we may seem on the exterior, different food and cultures. After working with our families, after doing brick work together, we could see through their smiles and body language that they were very happy to have us there. It has been a great experience to be a part of this global effort to help people.”

Habitat home partners such as Fang Haigen also worked with the Delta volunteers to build the houses, each measuring 60 to 80 square meters. The houses are made of brick walls and wood-and-tile roofs in the local traditional architectural style. After the build, home partner Fang said: “Thank you, thank you, for helping me with everything.”

Delta sponsored another house in Pinghu which was built in April.

“At Delta, we take seriously our responsibility to contribute to the communities we serve,” said Ed Bastian, president of Delta and a Habitat for Humanity International board member. “It is our privilege to help families in Pinghu improve their living conditions.”

“Delta’s donations and volunteers will help improve the living conditions of members of the Pinghu community and provide critical support to Habitat for Humanity China’s ongoing disaster response initiatives including Sichuan earthquake rebuilding efforts,” said Kester Yim, managing director of HFH China. “The arrival of the Delta Force for Global Good demonstrates how Habitat for Humanity is mobilizing resources from around the world for life-changing local impact.”

This is Delta’s seventh international build with Habitat for Humanity. Delta employees from around the globe use vacation time and pay a portion of their expenses to volunteer on international builds with Habitat.

Delta has been involved in similar projects in South Africa, Ghana, India, Thailand and Chile. Within the United States, Delta’s volunteers have built houses in New York, Mississippi, Georgia, Massachusetts, Tennessee, Minnesota, Michigan, Florida and California.