ATLANTA, Sept. 26, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- "If you have any items you wish to discard, please do so now as flight attendants begin to make one last round around the cabin," the P.A. announces, as the plane begins to make its descent. Recyclable goods like empty soda cans and plastic bottles are gathered from tray tables, handed off to a flight attendant, then, at Delta, are likely transformed into a home.
Last Friday in Atlanta, Delta employees worked alongside two Atlanta families to put the finishing touches on the 10th and 11th Habitat for Humanity homes funded by the airline's Inflight Recycling Program.
The innovative program has raised $1 million in proceeds for Habitat since 2007, when flight attendant Susan Powell first started the program. To reduce waste on Delta flights, paper, plastic and aluminum from food and beverage products are collected and transported to recycling centers in 36 cities worldwide. The program has recycled over 230 tons of aluminum thus far, which is enough to make five A350 aircraft.
In the quaint neighborhood miles from the Atlanta airport, two single-mothers and their children stood misty-eyed on the porches of their new homes at the dedication. "My house leader knew exactly what I wanted; from the railing, up to my windows, everything was so me," said first-time Habitat homeowner Kedre Clark.
"My kids and I want to say thank you guys," added her now neighbor, Demetrius Harvey, with her 76-piece homeowner toolkit in hand. "I can only describe this as a blessing."
The next-door homes were numbers 260 and 261 Delta has built with Habitat in 12 countries. In ten short days, Delta employees volunteered 4,800 hours building alongside the future homeowners. Volunteers were led by Kim Mills-Smith and Scott Meader, build coordinators and husband and wife, who met onsite at a Delta-Habitat build. And among the volunteers was a band of Delta employees who travel the world together building Habitat homes.
"Helping our neighbors soar is core to who we are at Delta," said Tad Hutcheson – Managing Director, Community Engagement. "The two new homes in our backyard mark the commitment we've built with Habitat – to make Atlanta, and the world, stronger, safer and prepared for a sustainable future."
Families in need of decent, affordable housing can apply for homeownership with their local Habitat for Humanity. Local Habitat's family selection committees then select homeowners based on three criteria: the applicant's level of need, their willingness to partner with Habitat, and their ability to repay an affordable mortgage. As part of their willingness to partner, Habitat's homeowners invest hundreds of hours of their own labor, called "sweat equity," working alongside volunteers and other Habitat homeowners.
"The proceeds from Delta's Inflight Recycling Program have helped empower so many families to build strength, stability and independence through shelter," said Julie Laird Davis, vice president of Corporate and Foundation Relations for Habitat for Humanity International. "We are thankful for the ongoing support and partnership with Delta which allows us to continue to serve families in need of affordable housing and a decent place to call home."
The Inflight Recycling Program, which has helped make homeownership possible for families in five cities, illustrates the airline's commitment to Global Health and Wellness as well as sustainability. Annually, Delta contributes 1 percent of its net profits to charitable organizations like Habitat – a sum that totaled to over $45 million last year.
Each year, over 2,500 Delta employees volunteer their time and talent with Habitat to build homes in the U.S. and internationally to offer families safe and affordable homes. Following Delta's Global Build in Guangzhou, China in April, the airline also has builds in New York, Seattle and Los Angeles in its flight plan this fall.
About Habitat for Humanity
Driven by the vision that everyone needs a decent place to live, Habitat for Humanity began in 1976 as a grassroots effort on a community farm in southern Georgia. The Christian housing organization has since grown to become a leading global nonprofit working in local communities across all 50 states in the U.S. and in more than 70 countries. Families and individuals in need of a hand up partner with Habitat for Humanity to build or improve a place they can call home. Habitat homeowners help build their own homes alongside volunteers and pay an affordable mortgage. Through financial support, volunteering or adding a voice to support affordable housing, everyone can help families achieve the strength, stability and self-reliance they need to build better lives for themselves. Through shelter, we empower. To learn more, visit habitat.org.
About Delta Air Lines
Delta Air Lines serves more than 180 million customers each year. In 2018, Delta was named to Fortune's top 50 Most Admired Companies in addition to being named the most admired airline for the seventh time in eight years. Additionally, Delta has ranked No.1 in the Business Travel News Annual Airline survey for an unprecedented seven consecutive years. With an industry-leading global network, Delta and the Delta Connection carriers offer service to 324 destinations in 57 countries on six continents. Headquartered in Atlanta, Delta employs more than 80,000 employees worldwide and operates a mainline fleet of more than 800 aircraft. The airline is a founding member of the SkyTeam global alliance and participates in the industry's leading transatlantic joint venture with Air France-KLM and Alitalia as well as a joint venture with Virgin Atlantic. Including its worldwide alliance partners, Delta offers customers more than 15,000 daily flights, with key hubs and markets including Amsterdam, Atlanta,Boston, Detroit, Los Angeles, Mexico City, Minneapolis/St. Paul, New York-JFK and LaGuardia, London-Heathrow, Paris-Charles de Gaulle, Salt Lake City, São Paulo, Seattle, Seoul, and Tokyo-Narita. Delta has invested billions of dollars in airport facilities, global products and services, and technology to enhance the customer experience in the air and on the ground. Additional information is available on the Delta News Hub, as well as delta.com, Twitter @DeltaNewsHub and Facebook.com/delta.