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Local Commentary: Habitat for Humanity thankful for all the help it's received in last five years

By Pat Mumm

Habitat for Humanity of Prairie Lakes, Stevens County Chapter wishes to thank everyone who has shared their time, talents, resources, finances, and prayers with us over the past five years. Without you we could have done nothing. We now have four new homeowners in Stevens County paying taxes and contributing to the economic growth of the county. Their monthly mortgage payments are going back into Habitat's bank account to help finance future houses. This is a win win situation for our county and our homeowners. It is also a win win situation for the eight new homeowners in Honduras. For every home we build here, there are two homes built in Honduras through our tithe. Twelve homes in five years! Look what a little faith and a lot of volunteers can do!

It takes many people working together to build a house. It starts with many hours of planning, preparation, and fundraising. The Board of Directors meets every month with eight committees reporting in. The committees are: Family Selection, Site Selection, Fund Development, Family Support, Church Relations, Construction, and Public Relations. Each of these committees have their own meetings and report back to the board. All of these people are volunteers. Then there are many people who volunteer to help with fundraisers. This is a hardworking committee with a big responsibility. It takes from $65,000 to $85,000 to build a house depending on how much labor and materials are donated. A fundraiser typically brings in about $2000 so the committee has its work cut out for itself. Of course the majority of our volunteers come on board when we are actually building the house. From the concrete work to the shingling, from the siding to the drywall finishing, from the floors to the ceilings, from the basement to the peak of the house, volunteers are everywhere. The people who know what they are doing are eager to help those who don't. There is a lot of good training for do-it-yourselfers on the Habitat job site. There are also a lot of clean up jobs to do. Then there are the wonderful people who provide meals for the construction workers. Where else can you get a home cooked meal delivered to your worksite and served with a smile? These people are terrific!

We can't say enough about our volunteers whether they are volunteering their time, their materials, their expertise, or their money, they are wonderful. If you are one of these people, we thank you from the bottom of our hearts. You truly have made this happen.

Our last three houses have been Thrivent Builds with Habitat for Humanity houses. Thrivent has paid for 65 percent of the house and our fundraising has paid the rest. We will not be receiving a Thrivent grant for 2011. It will take a lot of $2000 fund raisers to earn the $65,000 to $85,000 we need to build a house. We will probably not be able to build in 2011 unless we come up with an unexpected source of money. We will continue with our fundraising efforts and hope to build again in 2012. In the meantime, we would like to build our board, our committees, and our volunteer base to make a stronger organization. With the grace of God and the help of our friends we will build again. If you would like to help Habitat for Humanity in any way or if you would just like to be put on our e-mail list to get our updates, drop us a card at PO Box 353, Morris, MN. Again, thank you so very much to everyone who has helped us in building these twelve wonderful homes. May God bless you!

Pat Mumm is President of the Habitat for Humanity of Prairie Lakes, Stevens County Board of Directors, and submitted this article on the board's behalf.