Wednesday, February 21, 2018
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20170323 Mabels Building Mission Canyon Lake 001--  Up goes the roof! The final stage of building a house is to put the roof on the newly installed walls of a home for a needy family in Nuevo Progreso, Mexico.

Mabel’s Building Mission, a group of men from Canyon Lake RV Resort in Mission, have now completed their 498th home for poor families living in Nuevo Progreso, Mexico since the program started in 1992. According to Bill Kunzman, a total of 20 houses were built this year. The unusually good weather this year allowed the builders to finish by the third week of February.

The project began in 1992 but it was a direct off-shoot of the work done by Mabel Clare Proudly, who began trying to help the people of Mexico after the disastrous Hurricane Beulah in 1967. Many people were left homeless and many children were orphaned by the storm. Mabel worked to find homes for these children.

In 1992 there were still many families who did not have homes or had very poor quality homes, so a group of men at Canyon Lake RV Resort decided to do something about it. They started raising money to build these small homes that were greatly needed. The homes are only 12 feet by 16 feet with two windows and a door but they are much better than what the family had before. The people who receive them are grateful for them and there is a waiting list to get one.

Kunzman said that about 15 to 20 men living at Canyon Lake Resort in the winter work on the houses. Construction begins with a Mexican national, who pours the concrete slabs in advance for them so it is dry and ready to build on when the walls are ready. It takes about two weeks for the slab to be ready for construction.

20170323 Mabels Building Mission Canyon Lake 002Mabel’s Building Mission workers put the final touches on a wall before they assemble a house.

The wife of the man who builds the slabs works to determine who qualifies for a home. Do they have a job in Mexico? Do they own the property where the home is being built? She checks to see no one is scamming the group to have a house to rent to someone else.

The men build much of the house there in the park by constructing the walls and installing the windows and door.

While the homes are not very large, many of the people who receive these homes are living in shacks that may not be completely closed in or well enough constructed to keep the weather out when it rains or gets cold. Some live in ramshackle shelters built of giant packing crates or large heavy-duty cardboard boxes.

Bill’s wife, Phyllis, works with him to coordinate the furnishings for the homes. A group of quilters at Canyon Lake RV Resort makes quilts for each member of the family. The ladies meet each Tuesday to make the quilts, which are made from large scraps of material that is often donated to the project.

Residents also organize a clothing drive that provides a box of clothing for each member of the family including layettes for babies.

The men build a table for each home and other furnishings are also provided. If Phyllis is able to find a hide-a-bed, a recliner, chairs or a mattress from someone who is giving furniture away and replacing it with new furniture, the old furniture is donated to help furnish these homes. Winter Texan in other parks in the area who have heard about the project help with these donations.

And each family is presented with a Spanish Bible and a box of food.

Money to fund these homes is raised by churches up north or given by individuals who want to help improve the life of a family in Mexico.

20170323 Mabels Building Mission Canyon Lake 003Mabel’s Building Mission, a group of Winter Texans from Canyon Lake RV Resort, stand in front of a completed home in Nuevo Progreso, Mexico.

Building is restricted to those who live in Canyon Lake unless someone outside the park donates the money for a home.

Due to rises in the costs of construction materials, the houses now cost $1400 to build, a considerable increase in cost from when they first started. That is one reason they limit themselves to 20 per year. Whenever possible the builders look for old windows from homes that are being torn down or have their windows replaced. If they are in reasonable condition, they can use them in their construction projects.

Mabel’s Building Mission is truly a mission that has helped improve the lives of many people living in Mexico who are not as fortunate as the people who live on this side of the border.

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