Several volunteers and others with the Truman Heritage chapter of Habitat for Humanity gathered on a chilly morning this week at a home under construction in Independence. They came to work and to celebrate changes to its annual Women Build program.

This year will be one of “building homes, community and hope together,” said Christina Leakey, president and CEO of the chapter.

Rather than focusing Women Build efforts on one week in the spring, as in the past, Truman Heritage plans to hold events each month – using skilled and unskilled volunteers to build and improve homes. Having women involved has a special resonance in that many of Habitat’s clients are single mothers.

Leakey said northwest Independence is on the rebound with improved schools and more families choosing to live there – but said it will take years if not decades of investment to bring it all the way back.

“And women get to be a part of making that happen,” she said.

Habitat for Humanity relies heavily on volunteers. The Truman Heritage chapter, which serves Eastern Jackson County, says last year it moved nine people into new homes, made home weatherization improvements for 18 and made critical home repairs for 19.

The chapter works closely with Lowe’s in Lee’s Summit. That store is having monthly DIY workshops on things such as potting plants and laying laminate flooring.