Casas de Luz is an ongoing UUFSD Social Action program, that brings volunteers together with families in need to build houses in Mexico.

Thanks everyone! We have reached our goal and will be building a house in January for the Padilla family: Jose, Lillian, Akemi, Sofia, and Efrain.

Jose Padilla is 21 and makes a living by selling pizzas he makes using a home-made, gas-fired portable pizza oven. He operates it out of his van and sells pizzas at various locations around town. His favorite pizza is Mexican-style with chorizo and jalapeno.

Lillian Padilla, age 20, stays home and takes care of kids Akeymi, 4, Sofia, 2, and Efrain, 5 months. The girls are bright, sweet and like to read books. Efrain is a little angel!

The Padillas are currently living in Lillian’s parent’s house with along with her parents and her sister’s family.

Casas de Luz is an ongoing UUFSD Social Action program, that brings volunteers together with families in need to build houses in Mexico. The families selected for a home build have the rights to the land, a minimum of three children, and a weekly income of less than $100. A Casas de Luz house is built in one weekend and is typically a 16 ft by 20 ft home, with three rooms and a shingled roof. The cost of the materials for these homes is paid for through fundraisers and UUFSD offerings in Sunday services.

Volunteer builders from ages 8 to 80 arrive in Mexico early on Saturday to help construct these pre-planned homes, with the help of a few skilled workers from both sides of the border. A concrete foundation is poured prior to the arrival of the materials and builders. On the first day of construction, the frame goes up, windows are installed, wood siding panels are painted, and the roof goes on. On Sunday, the caulking and painting are finished, and shingles are put on the roof.

The Casas de Luz program provides ongoing support for these families in the form of education for the children and additional donations of food, clothing, and special needs items, such as a wheelchair. The program incorporates UUFSD initiatives, such as recycling of materials (windows, appliances, doors); donations of used items that can be put to good use rather than filling up our land fills; and greening of the colonias with fruit tree cuttings and other plants (tomatoes).

Our follow-up with the families has shown most times an increase in standard of living and overall increase in self-confidence. Many of our US builders jump at the chance to participate in a second home build.

Contact: Kathy Faller at SocialAction@uufsd.org

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