Ilyasah N. Shabazz
Ilyasah N. Shabazz is a communications associate at Habitat Wake. Passionate about connecting others, Ilyasah works with families, volunteers, and donors to tell their story via online channels.
“The importance of safe, affordable housing for families prompts a recurring question,” says volunteer Bennie Collins. “How can we make a difference where we live?”
Two years ago, Bennie, a member of Wendell Baptist Church, attended a meeting to assist in organizing a faith coalition with churches in eastern Wake County. Prompted by the aforementioned question, Bennie has exhibited great commitment and leadership to making a difference in Zebulon -- the site of the first East Wake faith coalition build.
“Bennie has worked tirelessly in recruiting homebuyers and churches in the early stages of the East Wake coalition,” says Rick Beech, Habitat Wake vice president of faith relations. “With the Zebulon house now under construction, he continues to work on getting volunteers to the construction site, and has spent numerous days himself on the build site.”
Bennie was first introduced to Habitat Wake in the mid-1990s, when he volunteered with a group of co-workers from Wake County EMS in northeast Raleigh. Over the years, Bennie responded to many disaster recovery projects, including Hurricane Fran and Hurricane Katrina, and also participated in several short-term mission trips in Central America.
Bennie recalls a special moment of introducing his sons to Habitat when they were teenagers during a build in Wendell. With his sons, he witnessed a home go through the various phases of construction. Together, his family served with other churches and learned of the difference a stable, affordable home can make for a family.
“Volunteering to me is viewed like God’s grace, a debt that has already been paid as a disciple of Jesus Christ,” Bennie says as he quotes the Bible. “Matthew 25:40 ‘Whatever you did for one the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’”
We invite you to build in Zebulon with Bennie and the East Wake faith coalition. Click here to sign up.