Returning to Lovejoy, GA for MPU’s Service Day

Atlanta, GA

Ralph Jean   |   November 04, 2022

More Perfect Union members lifting wall frames to build a house
Ralph Jean and his mom helping build a home with MPU.

There are few feelings like the joy one receives from serving others. I was reminded of that at + More Perfect Union’s Day of Service with Habitat for Humanity in Lovejoy, GA. My whole life I was taught that good fortune is best when shared with others. Growing up, there were many Saturday mornings my mother would wake my brother and I and take us to volunteer. From soup kitchens, clothing drives, or walk-a-thons, there were dozens of ways to be a servant to others.

Oftentimes we were among the first volunteers on the scene, arriving with the sun. I didn’t know why we had to be there so early, but my mother seemed eager to get there and do anything to help: setting out tables and chairs, or chatting with folks who arrived early. Slowly, more people would arrive and before long the chatter would grow into a chorus of conversation between those who came to serve and those who needed service. That was the part I enjoyed most– listening to the different stories that brought people to one place and seeing how regardless of our journeys, everyone was better for being there. These types of Saturday’s were a regular part of my life.

My mom purchased her first home in Lovejoy just before I started high school. Around the same time she signed us up to participate in our first Habitat for Humanity build. Back then I worked construction jobs during my summer breaks. It was just a handful of guys restoring historic homes. The days were long and the work was hard. With Habitat for Humanity the pride that comes with building something by hand came in a day. With so many people working together, building a house was easy.

A group of Black and white MPU members
+MPU members at the Atlanta Service Day event

I’ve attended many Habitat for Humanity builds but +MPU’s service day was special. It didn’t just bring me back to my hometown; it connected me with people I wouldn’t have otherwise met. Working and learning from people from so many different walks of life was rewarding. More than that, I was reminded that the solutions to community problems exist in the community.  The Service Day was the time I spent the day in Lovejoy in over five years. It feels fitting that +MPU would be the reason I came back home.