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Sargento Volunteers Build 29th Habitat for Humanity Home in Milwaukee

The Sargento Family raised the walls — and the roof — of the company’s 29th Habitat for Humanity home in Milwaukee in July.

The house rose from the ground as teams of volunteers braved the summer heat July 16 through July 20 to give a family in need a solid foundation.

“This will be my sister’s house,” Moo Day, speaking on behalf of his sister, said. “We are very happy to have so many volunteers to help build it. I am very excited about helping build the house.”

Sargento has made a 3-year commitment to Habitat for Humanity’s Midtown 100 project, an effort to build, rehab, and repair 100 homes in the Midtown neighborhood of Milwaukee over the next three years.

Sargento is the first company to pledge a full three-year sponsorship. This year, the company has committed to build two Milwaukee Habitat homes, doubling the opportunity for the Sargento Family of employees to volunteer. The second Habitat build will be in September.

“There’s about 20 Sargento employees working, so we have a nice team,” Shawn Carter, a material handler from Hilbert, said during a water break. “It really feels good to give back and help others out. For me, it is really important to work for a company that appreciates and gives back to their community.”

More than $10 million will be invested into the Midtown Neighborhood by Habitat for Humanity over the next three years — which will more than double the number of families who will have access to affordable housing.

“Sargento has been an amazing partner for the Milwaukee Habitat for Humanity. They were our first corporate sponsor back in the 90’s and have been with us ever since,” Jake Brandt, Marketing Director at Habitat for Humanity, said. “We can absolutely not do this work without community partners like Sargento.”

Sargento volunteers built walls, installed decking, and began installing the second floor during the week-long build blitz.

“It came from boards, wood, and nails and is really starting to look like a home,” Carter said.

Michelle Lau, an administrative assistant in the sales department, said her favorite part of the experience was meeting the homeowner and working alongside fellow Sargento employees.

“I applied last year and didn’t get selected, so I’m fortunate to be selected this year and to have an employer that lets us do this,” Lau said. “My favorite part of this experience has been meeting the homeowner. They have been very dedicated and you can tell how excited they are to help build their future home.”

It was a chilly April day 26 years ago when the Sargento family first traveled to Milwaukee to build a home for Habitat for Humanity.

The team’s effort – then led by Lou Gentine — marked the beginning of a company endeavor that has seen more than 800 Sargento volunteers build 28 homes for Milwaukee families in the last 26 years.

Sargento employees worked alongside long-time Habitat for Humanity volunteers and the homeowners throughout the week.

“All of our families help build their own homes and pay an affordable mortgage. The family is working on the home with Sargento employees,” Brandt said. “I think one of the coolest things about Habitat for Humanity is it’s not a handout; our homeowners actually help raise the walls of their own home and work side-by-side with volunteers like Sargento Employees.”

The Sargento volunteers embodied the culture of the company by spreading goodwill and success to the broader community. As members of the Sargento Family, success is not solely measured by the profits we earn, but how we use our success to make a difference in the lives of our stakeholders. That includes members of the Sargento Family but, just as importantly, members of our community.

“It’s been a great experience,” said Andy Hammen, a process tech in the snacks department in Kiel. “I love that Sargento gives us the opportunity to come out here and help the community.”