Christian aid agency helps construct homes (September 17, 2011)

Written by Mario Toneguzzi

Published by Calgary Herald on Saturday, September 17, 2011

Everyone knows Paul Brandt as a successful musician.

The artist is also well-known for his Build It Forward documentary series on CMT Canada, which chronicles how seven struggling Canadian families are transformed through receiving new homes, then helping to construct houses in the developing world.

And Samaritan's Purse, known for its humanitarian work around the world, played a role in the documentary series.

Samaritan's Purse says the recipient families tapped into the international Christian relief and development organization's vast construction experience to help provide accommodation for families in flood-devastated Mexico and earthquake-ravaged Haiti.

"My experience in travelling (to Mexico) and working with Samaritan's Purse was nothing short of life-changing," says Nicole Nichols, whose Canadian family was a Build It Forward home recipient. "It was amazing to see their dedication first-hand."

The seven hour-long episodes, hosted by Brandt, are scheduled to air every Saturday starting tonight on CMT.

"We were very pleased to come on board with Paul and Build It Forward," says Fred Weiss, executive director of Samaritan's Purse. "We've built thousands of schools, churches, medical clinics and temporary shelters around the world, many of them in Haiti, and this series is a great way to let Canadians know. The participating families had the chance to learn that Samaritan's Purse builds into impoverished people and communities in many ways - housing, health care, vocational training, literacy, spirituality and more."

Samaritan's Purse Canada, which is based in Calgary, works in about 40 countries to provide aid to victims of war, disease, disaster, poverty, famine and persecution.