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07/21/10 5:48 PM ET

Ballgirls help rebuild abandoned house

Phillies crew joins up with Habitat for Humanity

An abandoned house got a little Phillies love today.

The Phillies Ballgirls traded in their baseball caps for construction hats in an effort to help rehab a Germantown, Pa., house that was destroyed by a fire more than 10 years ago. The project, which was spearheaded by Habitat for Humanity Philadelphia, has been going on since May -- and most likely will continue until December.

There was much to be done with the house. The walls were rotted, the floors were damaged, the garage roof needed to be rebuilt, the deck needed demolishing, and the basement needed a complete overhaul. The to-do list was endless.

And on a 95-degree day -- inside a house with no air conditioning and minimal ventilation -- it can be more than challenging.

But the Phillies Ballgirls -- and the Habitat for Humanity Philadelphia staff, who do this every day -- handled it with ease, making a tiny dent in revitalizing a neighborhood block.

"This was probably the most physical community event we have taken part in yet," said Brittany, who helped to insulate the basement. "It's great that we can directly see the benefit of what we're doing."

Therenthia Boddie, who has lived in the neighborhood for more than 21 years, is more than happy to see the house start to turn around.

"It's a good thing what they're doing," said Boddie, who has delivered danish and juices to the workers on occasion. "We're excited to meet our new neighbors!"

Habitat for Humanity Philadelphia has been doing projects like this since 1985. Once homes are finished, "partner families" are able to purchase the house. The requirements: contribute 350 hours of "sweat equity" in building their houses and others in order to qualify for the no-interest mortgage provided by Habitat.

"It's a great way for families to receive affordable housing," said Vicki Rosenzweig, a Philadelphia resident who has worked for AmeriCorps/Habitat for Humanity for several years.

To date, Habitat for Humanity Philadelphia has completed over 149 homes. And there are plenty more that need to be turned around. The organization is always looking for volunteers to help with various projects. No need to be an expert -- many learn on the job.

"This was more than a rewarding experience," said Michele DeVicaris, who organizes the community events for the Phillies Ballgirls. "We can't wait to do this again."

Deb Rinaldi is a contributor to MLB.com This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.