SALISBURY — More than 75 women are spending much of the week building homes for total strangers in Salisbury and North Andover.
Merrimack Valley Habitat for Humanity is building seven homes — a single-family and three duplexes — on Old County Road in Salisbury and six units in North Andover.
In partnership with Lowe's, Habitat for Humanity has been hosting its International Women Build Week on Old County Road and Lupine Road in North Andover since Monday.
The Women Build program brings women from all walks of life together to learn and use construction skills to build homes in partnership with the families that will live in them.
Three local families have already been selected to purchase the new $180,000 homes they also are helping to build in Salisbury. "Sweat equity" is part of the requirement to qualify for a Habitat house. A lottery will be held to determine who will own the remaining four homes.
About 10 women from all over the area, including West Newbury and Plum Island, spent Thursday working on doors and putting Sheetrock on walls, among other tasks.
Rose Yates of West Newbury works as an assistant general manager for the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, but she took a vacation day to help out.
"I'm a builder myself," Yates said. "I have my own tools and I do things at home. I enjoy that very much but this is a fantastic project. Taking a day off and doing this was something that I really wanted to try."
Yates spent all day Thursday working as part of a team with Carol Tarbell of Manchester, New Hampshire, Kathy Gerow of Norwood and Pat Crowley from Plum Island.
"It has been very fun," Yates said. "I love these women. They are hilarious and this has been fantastic. There is a lot of heart being put into this work."
Gerow was taking part in her fourth Habitat building project and said she would like to see more local businesses get involved.
"Lowe's has been great but it would be nice to have some businesses from the Newburyport area take part," Gerow said. "It has been nice to help all of these families."
Habitat for Humanity will celebrate International Women's Day on Sunday with the culmination of its Women Build Week.
Yates got a look at the newly finished basement wall she and her teammates worked on and gave it an honest appraisal.
"It looks damn good," she said.
For more information and to volunteer, go to www.merrimackvalleyhabitat.org/womens-build.
Staff writer Jim Sullivan covers Amesbury and Salisbury for The Daily News. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 978-961-3145. Follow him on Twitter @ndnsully.