Hammers put away at Apostle Build 2021

Brian Knolla, the construction coordinator for Wichita Habitat for Humanity, thanks employees from the Chancery during a luncheon Thursday, Sept. 2, the last day of Apostle Build 2021. The volunteers finished their work that morning and cooled off at lunch. (Advance photo)


Despite the challenges that are a part of each new construction project and the difficulties related to the pandemic, Apostle Build 2021 went smoothly.

Brian Knolla, the construction coordinator for Wichita Habitat for Humanity, said this year’s build, at 1314 N. Lorraine in Wichita, was one of the most efficient he’s worked in a while.

“We had pretty full groups almost every day,” he said on Sept. 2, after thanking the last group of volunteers eating in the lunch tent. “With the heat, we did shut down early quite a few days, so even with fewer hours we were pretty much two or three days ahead.”

The work was going so well Knolla had to make sure there was enough to do for the volunteers who signed up weeks ahead of their work date.

Supply chain broken

He said the volunteers were efficient but the supply chain wasn’t. “We had some difficulties getting materials and appliances and things of that nature on time.”

In addition to supply disruptions, the pandemic also caused increases in the cost of materials, he said, although the prices seem to be going down now. Those are things we deal with and work through.”

Working with volunteers from the Diocese of Wichita made his work a little easier, Knolla said. “I always have fun with all the different parishes and it’s fun to work with different groups.”

Another sign of relief

It was a long, hot summer for Bonnie Toombs, too.

Toombs, the director of the Respect Life and Social Justice Office, let out a sigh of relief after the Apostle Build’s closing lunch on Sept. 2 because the volunteer work on behalf of the diocese was complete.

“I am so very grateful for all the volunteers who came out and helped us build this home and for all those who helped provide the materials and funding,” she said the day after the lunch.

“The Diocese of Wichita can be proud of all the ways they lived out being missionary disciples on this project. It is wonderful to be part of a larger community project, helping to make Wichita a better place to live. Living as missionary disciples provides a road map to new paths for the church’s journey of evangelization.”

She said the partnership with Wichita Habitat for Humanity is a blessing, adding that Knolla and all the Habitat staff are a joy to work with.

Site blessed on June 25

Bishop Carl A. Kemme blessed the constructions site on June 25. Construction began on July 7. A key-passing ceremony and home blessing by Bishop Kemme will take place at the home at 4 p.m. Friday, Oct. 22.

The 2021 Apostle Build homebuyers, Ramon Luna and Pabla Soto, are members of St. Patrick Parish. Ramon works for Pearson Construction and Pabla is a stay-at-home mom. They have four children, Romeo, 13, Samuel, 11, Bella Josephine, 10, and Saydee Grace, 1.

The parents completed 400 hours of “sweat equity” and 40 hours of financial literacy and home maintenance classes before purchasing their home with a zero percent mortgage.

This year’s Apostle Build was in Wichita Habitat’s Rock the Block revitalization neighborhood, an area bounded by Hillside to Grove and Ninth to 13th streets.
It was the fifth home in that neighborhood sponsored by the Catholic Diocese of Wichita and built by its volunteers. More than 60 Habitat homes have been built in Rock the Block since 2014.