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Operation Playhouse

SPONSOR A PLAYHOUSE

Operation Playhouse is a unique program that benefits local veterans and military families and their children. We are proud to give back to those who have served our country and encourage our partners to do the same.

REQUEST A PLAYHOUSE

We are looking to identify veterans or military members living in New England with young children up to 12 years of age who would like to receive a playhouse as a thank you for your service.

JOIN OUR
BUILD-A-THONS

We annually host three playhouse Build-a-Thons. One is held in MetroWest and two in Greater Worcester. These are exciting events where organizations come together and build several playhouses.

BECOME A HOUSE CAPTAIN!

A house captain will be the "expert" volunteer in charge of one playhouse, the person who instructs the team building the house as to the necessary steps. We provide training beforehand.

SPONSOR A PLAYHOUSE

We’re pleased to report that our in-person Operation Playhouse events to benefit veteran families are back in 2022. Whether you join one of our Build-A-Thons, or build a playhouse at your own site, it is a rewarding and unique experience. Please call or email Deborah Huegel at Deborah.Huegel@habitatmwgw.org or 508-799-9259 x 118 for more information, and see below for more details. Thank you for your interest!

Operation Playhouse is a unique program that benefits local veterans and military families and their children. Children of veterans are often left with a one-parent household and have to cope with feelings of loss and uncertainty. The playhouses provide a special place for family members to bond, play, dream, and think. It is a “home” of their own.

We are proud to give back to our veterans and military families who have served our country. We are one of just a handful across the U.S. to provide the program, the day-long activity is popular and in demand with our sponsors and partners.

You can build a playhouse with your team at different venues. Playhouses can be built on your own site, space permitting, or we can help find you one. See more details below. Or, you can join our Build-A-Thons held in June in MetroWest and Greater Worcester.

How Does It Work? Your team of 8 – 10 will work together to construct and decorate colorful and themed children’s playhouses, which are then donated to the veteran family at the end of the day.  Read what one recipient had to say after receiving a playhouse for their grandchild.

Where and When can I take part in Operation Playhouse? There are many options for your team to take part in building a playhouse to benefit the family of a veteran! We build outdoors from mid-April to mid-October (weather dependent), and indoors the rest of the year.

Weather permitting, we build outdoors and can come to your site, space permitting. If it rains, or the weather is too cold for paint to dry, we look for indoor space, or the partner provides the indoor space.

  1. The playhouse can be built right at your own site, indoors or outdoors, if the space is big enough and appropriate. (We need at least a 30’ x 40’ space for each playhouse to lay down tarps). The finished playhouses are approximately 4 1/5 feet width x 5 1/5 feet long x 5 feet tall.
  2. Or, you can find your own space, off-site, at which you’d like to build the playhouse. Our Operation Playhouse Manager will make an appointment to check out the site beforehand.
  3. Another option is to join one of our Operation Playhouse Build-A-Thons that we hold in MetroWest and Greater Worcester.

Who Builds the Playhouses? Teams of 8 – 10 people can build playhouses: corporations, faith groups, community organizations, and groups of friends.

What happens before the Operation Playhouse event? Before your Operation Playhouse event, our Operation Playhouse Manager will contact the parents of the child who is scheduled to receive a playhouse. The interests of the child are determined, and a theme for the playhouse is chosen. Playhouse themes include: American Flag/Patriotic, Barnyard, Castle, Cozy Cottage, Firehouse, Log Cabin, Minnie & Mickey Mouse, and New England Patriots. The themes are then passed along to each partner who is building the playhouse so they can be prepared for their day. Decorations or add-ons for the playhouse are optional, and some teams choose to purchase them.

The day of your event: On the day of your playhouse event, your team will gather at a pre-selected site from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM. You will build the playhouse from a kit, paint, and decorate the playhouse according to your theme. At about 3:00 PM, the veteran family arrives at the site to receive the playhouse. The child is surprised and delighted, and it is a touching, personal, and heartwarming conclusion to the day. Your team will meet the family, spend time with them, and learn about the veteran’s service to our country.

Do I need experience? No experience is necessary! The playhouses are built from a kit. While you will be using some tools for simple construction tasks, we have experienced staff and volunteers on-site all day to help you every step of the way. There is plenty of time during the day to build the playhouse, paint and decorate it before the family arrives.

What we provide: We provide all tools, paints, and a table on which to store the items. We also provide staff and volunteers to help you during the day.

What do you contribute? Our partners contribute a tax-deductible donation of $3,000 for each playhouse built to cover the cost of materials, our staff time, and to further our efforts to expand Operation Playhouse to give back to more local veterans and military families who have served our country. Many of our partners choose to purchase decorations to go along with the theme of their playhouse, based on the interests of the children. This is optional.

To view the Operation Playhouse brochure, click here. 

A big thank you to our 2022 Operation Playhouse Leadership Sponsor!

A big thank you to our 2022 Operation Playhouse Stars & Stripes Sponsors!

A big thank you to our 2022 Operation Playhouse Honor Sponsors!

A big thank you to our 2022 Operation Playhouse Bravery Sponsors!

Here’s some feedback from our Operation Playhouse Partners:

VIEW the video and photos FROM THE AMERESCO EVENT to experience a playhouse build from start to finish © Ameresco, Inc. 2021

“Our team had the absolute BEST day today for Ameresco’s #OperationPlayhouse. Gerry (Operation Playhouse Team Leader) is a rockstar, and was so helpful throughout the day. The entire playhouse build process was so much fun – it was great hands-on team building and many learned new practical skills. We were honored to present our Red Sox and Log Cabin themed playhouses to the families at the end of the day. There were smiles and tears all around; we are over the moon with gratitude to be able to take part in this amazing Operation Playhouse program.  Tremendous THANK YOU on behalf of the entire Ameresco team for everything you, Gerry, and the Habitat team do to make this amazing program a reality for our local veteran families.” 

Jenna Williams
Ameresco, Director - Marketing & Communications

Partners since August 2021

VIEW the video and photos FROM THE security engineered machinery (SEM) EVENT to experience a playhouse build from start to finish 

“Veterans have a special place in our heart here at SEM,” said Mr. Cakounes, who is SEM's Executive Vice President “We are filled with gratitude to those who have served our country and protect our freedom, so giving back in some small way through Operation Playhouse was an absolute honor.”

“This event was incredibly special to me personally,” added Korean War Veteran Leonard Rosen, who is SEM’s founder and Chairman of the Board. “Mr. Brown selflessly served his country, ensuring our rights and freedom. That is a debt we can never repay, so we were thrilled to be able to do something to bring joy to him and his family.” 

Read more about the Security Engineered Machinery (SEM) Operation Playhouse build here.

Partners since 2018. 

Ready to move forward with an Operation Playhouse build? or For more information, contact Deborah Huegel at deborah.huegel@habitatmwgw.org or by phone at 508-799-9259 x 118.

REQUEST A PLAYHOUSE

We appreciate your service! Do you meet the following criteria?

  1. Be a US military member or veteran with a general or honorable discharge, or currently serving on active duty, Reserves or National Guard;
  2. The military family or veteran should reside in any of the New England states: Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Vermont, Connecticut or Maine;
  3. The family must have children or grandchildren up to 12 years of age;
  4. Must arrive at the agreed upon Operation Playhouse event time of 3:00 PM with your children and family. It is helpful, but not required, for the veteran to wear fatigues. Exact locations vary as to the company or partner that may be sponsoring the playhouse.
  5. Transporting your playhouse: Please either bring a full-size pick-up truck with a 6-foot bed, a full-size van, or a 5' x 6' or larger trailer. When measuring your vehicle, please take into account wheel wells, bed cover rails and bed liners. Please make sure to remove any accessories that might alter the size of the bed. Habitat staff will assist in loading the playhouse onto the vehicle. The playhouse is approximately 4 feet 3 inches wide x 5 feet 3 inches long x 5 feet tall. The roof is detachable in two sections and fits above the truck wheel wells. Please bring rope or cargo straps to secure your playhouse.
  6. If you do not have access to the proper size truck or trailer an inexpensive U-Haul rental is another option. Please visit their website for more information > www.uhaul.com

More about How To Request A Playhouse

If you are interested and meet the above criteria, the next steps are to complete the Veteran Playhouse Application. Click on the Veteran Playhouse Application button below.

Our operation playhouse manager will work with you to determine a theme for your playhouse based on your child’s interests. Playhouse themes: American Flag/Patriotic, Barnyard, Castle, Cozy Cottage, Firehouse, Log Cabin, Minnie & Mickey Mouse, and New England Patriots.

Habitat for Humanity MetroWest/Greater Worcester is the only Habitat affiliate on the East Coast, and one of a few nationwide, that offers Operation Playhouse. We build playhouses primarily in the MetroWest and Greater Worcester areas of Massachusetts with teams of 8 – 12 participants. Each playhouse is sponsored by a company or other group as a way to give back to veterans and military families.

As a Veterans Build affiliate, Habitat for Humanity MetroWest/Greater Worcester is proud to serve those who have served our country. We thank you for your service!

Thank you for your service! We are honored to give back to the service men and women who have sacrificed so much for our country. 

Please note that once a playhouse leaves the site, we cannot be responsible for damage.  On behalf of all our staff, volunteers, and partners, we wish you many happy years enjoying your thoughtfully built playhouse!

“I wanted to write and personally thank you for our Playhouse we received last month. The kids love it and we are so grateful. Words cannot express our true appreciation for what you, Habitat and all the participants did. You guys are simply amazing. God Bless!” - Kevin, Robyn, Reagan and Georgia Preston

 “Can’t thank the folks at Operation Playhouse enough! They knocked it out of the park with their generosity, kindness and craftsmanship. My kids absolutely love the playhouse, and practically spend every day in it, thanks again all!” – MAJ Matthew R. Paquin, AO/HHD Commander MEDCOM

“My family is very grateful for the support that Habitat for Humanity provided us. The playhouse they built for our two sons was a wonderful gift. The boys absolutely love it! We cannot thank them enough for their kindness and generosity.” -Glen Kernusky

For more information, contact our operation playhouse manager at playhouse@habitatmwgw.org.

OPERATION PLAYHOUSE BUILD-A-THONS – Stay tuned for 2023 Dates!

Our MetroWest Operation Playhouse Build-A-Thon, where we built 5 playhouses, was held during MetroFest at Bowditch Field in Framingham on June 11, 2022.

Our Greater Worcester Operation Playhouse Build-A-Thon, where we built 10 playhouses, was held on Friday, June 24, 2022 at Elm Park in Worcester: https://www.worcesterma.gov/city-parks/elm-park.

We thank all of our sponsors and partners who took part in the 2022 Operation Playhouse Build-A-Thon! Please email Deborah Huegel at Deborah.Huegel@habitatmwgw.org or call 508-799-9259 x 118 for more information. Whether you take part in our Build-A-Thons or build a playhouse at your own site, it is a team-building experience like no other. It is fun, unique, rewarding, and fosters collaboration and communication while benefitting a local veteran family. Thank you for your interest!

Operation Playhouse Build-A-Thon events are where multiple sponsors come together at one site to build their own playhouse for the children of veteran and military families!

  1. Each Build-A-Thon event takes place in one day and is hosted from 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM.
  2. Each team at the Build-A-Thon will be comprised of 8-10 people.
  3. Each team will meet the veteran family for whom they build the playhouse at the end of the day in a small celebration.
  4. A Build-A-Thon is an exciting event to take part in - meet new people and make new friends as you build your playhouse for a veteran family.

Photos to the left are from past 2019 Build-A-Thon events at MetroFest and Greater Worcester.

For more information, contact Deborah Huegel at deborah.huegel@habitatmwgw.org or by phone at 508-799-9259 x 118.



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