Annual Day of Prayer event emphasizes importance of home

Dani Jardine
The Sanabria family are the recipients of this year’s Habitat for Humanity blitz build. From left: Kelsie, Lucy, Destiny and Amanda Sanabria will move into their new home on Sept. 22. (Dani Jardine)

After countless years of working, praying and serving in the community, Lucy Sanabria and her family earned a place they can call home.

Habitat for Humanity of Utah County is constructing their home in a two-week “building blitz.” The home was the location of this year’s Annual Day of Prayer on Sept. 17.

Habitat for Humanity hosts the nondenominational Annual Day of Prayer and Action for Human Habitat.

Kena Mathews, executive director for the Habitat for Humanity of Utah County, said members of the interfaith community usually attend, but everyone is welcome. The annual event brings the community together to create awareness for the need of shelter in the community.

Dani Jardine
Members of the community and interfaith representatives gather for the Annual Day of Prayer. This year’s Annual Day of Prayer was held at the site of Habitat for Humanity’s building blitz. (Dani Jardine)

Eric Bennett, board chairman for Habitat for Humanity of Utah County, said the organization builds a house once a year in a house-building blitz. What usually takes months will happen in a manner of days, Bennett said.

This year’s blitz is a new home for the Sanabria family, who have dealt with homelessness and inadequate housing for years.

Lucy and her five children are originally from New York. While living there, the family tried applying for a Habitat for Humanity home three times but never qualified. When the family moved to Utah, they continued to apply for a Habitat home. 

BYU alumna Kelsie Sanabria was one of the speakers at the event. She said her mother, Lucy, has made service part of her lifestyle.

“Habitat (for Humanity) has you do hundreds of hours of volunteer work to qualify, and (Lucy) did it all on her own. She’s gone above and beyond the requirement already and she just keeps going,” Kelsie said. “Despite her physical struggles, despite her limited resources, this is so meaningful to her.”

Kelsie said she and her family couldn’t be happier or more grateful for Habitat for Humanity, and getting chosen for the blitz was “unimaginable.”

Dani Jardine
Kelsie Sanabria, a BYU family studies alumna, spoke at the Day of Prayer. Kelsie talked about the challenges of homelessness and inadequate housing her family has dealt with. (Dani Jardine)

After recounting the story of her family’s struggles with homelessness and inadequate housing, Kelsie said she never felt like the “most less-fortunate,” because of her mom and the hope she gave her.

According to Kelsie, the blitz build is a metaphor for her family. After how long they struggled to find a home, finally having a home and seeing it go up in a matter of days is “poetic.”

Kelsie said she has many people to thank for how her family has grown over the years and benefitted from the miracle of their new Habitat home.

“I have faith and prayer to thank for that. I have my mom to thank for that. I have Habitat for Humanity to thank for that,” Kelsie said. “It’s hard to express what this means to my family.”

Prayer and religious unity were also themes of the event in addition to home.

“It’s good for us to remember the miracles that come through prayer,” Bennett said. “We can be helped in helping others when it starts with prayer.”

Mathews said this event is important for the community because it increases awareness of the need for volunteers to help promote the mission of Habitat for Humanity in Utah County.

Dani Jardine
BYU Advancement Vice President Matthew O. Richardson gave the special address at the event. His remarks focused on the meaning of home. (Dani Jardine)

BYU Advancement Vice President Matthew O. Richardson gave the special address at this year’s event. During his remarks, Richardson said having a home is important because it creates opportunities for people.

Richardson said he believes Habitat for Humanity’s mission is about making homes, not houses, for those that stand in need.

“It’s not about structures,” Richardson said. “It’s about creating a sense of belonging that is rich within ourselves and defines us and gives us the opportunity to be humane.”

He said the interfaith event is a way the community can come together and put aside differences of religion, nationality, ethnicity and background in an effort to push for a good cause.

The Sanabria family will move into their new home after a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Sept. 22. For more information about Habitat for Humanity and how to get involved, visit the organization’s website.

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