Community Spotlight: Jason Gingrich

5 12 2008

Volunteering is his favourite thing to do

Kara Bertrand
Staff Reporter, Community News South
Published: July 2, 2008

Jason Gingrich, 29, has been volunteering for 14 years. He’s built homes with Habitat for Humanity in Jamaica and Kansas, and been involved in the Mennonite Relief Sale and ‘Rock Revival Air Band Lip Sync.’ Most notably, Gingrich has dedicated countless hours to the J. Steckle Heritage Homestead and its haunted barn over the past 14 years.

On June 12, Gingrich was honoured with the Helping Hands award at the 2008 Volunteer Impact Awards. He said he was surprised at winning.

“I thought I might have a chance, but seeing the other nominees and the age of everybody else, I thought, ‘I won’t come anywhere close to that,’” he said. “They’ve had so many more years to volunteer.”
An electrician by trade, Gingrich uses his expertise to make the haunted barn ‘high-tech.’

“I love the final product of the people that are going through it and how much they love it,” said Gingrich. “That’s what makes the whole year of working on it worth it.”

All the money raised at the haunted barn goes to help out the Steckle family.

“I think it’s important that it goes to them because they’ve been hosting it for so long,” he said. “It’s a great property in what they do with the kids.”

Gingrich went to Jamaica twice and said he would love to go back to build another house with Habitat for Humanity, but can’t afford the expense for the trip.

“It’s important for the habitat build for the families,” he said. “It’s a great thing to help them out – even if it’s far away like Jamaica.”

Gingrich now does the Mennonite Relief Sale mostly as a memorial to his father. There, he helps out making over 2,000 pancakes.

“That’s always fun because we just get family and friends to help out with it,” he said.

Gingrich said the biggest problem with committing so much of his time to volunteering in the community is “lack of pay and not being at work when doing the event.” With the haunted barn, he said he sometimes has problems making sure volunteers can commit to the event. He sometimes has to put in his own money into fundraising in order to make ends meet.

“I wish I had the money where I could do this all the time,” he said. “I would volunteer constantly.”

It’s clear that volunteering is Gingrich’s favourite thing to do and something he doesn’t see himself stopping anytime soon.

For more information on the J. Steckle Heritage Homestead haunted barn happening again this upcoming fall, see their website at http://www.stecklehomestead.ca.

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