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Solid support for Habitat for Humanity

January 31, 2006|by ALICIA NOTARIANNI

alician@herald-mail.com

"It makes your heart jump a beat ... lots of warm fuzzies when you walk into an event like this," Sherry Brown Cooper said.

Cooper, executive director of Habitat for Humanity of Washington County, had gone to the pancake breakfast fundraiser Saturday, Jan. 28, at First Christian Church in Hagerstown.

Cooper said Habitat for Humanity invites churches to make covenant agreements to help provide affordable housing by raising money and assembling volunteers.

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"First Christian Church has done an outstanding job supporting Habitat," Cooper said. "They truly put their faith in action. There is a lot of action here today."

Nearly 50 volunteers worked to provide breakfast for about 370 people who filled the cafeteria throughout the morning.

Les Powlen is a member of the First Christian Church outreach commission who recruited volunteers for the event. Powlen, 77, of Downsville, said the church committed in 1998 to contribute $1,000 to Habitat for Humanity.

"We didn't want to just give money, so we said, 'Let's have a pancake breakfast and see what we raise,'" Powlen said.

Powlen said that first pancake breakfast brought in $720 and laid the groundwork for an annual event.

This year, the breakfast raised more than $1,000, a figure that was increased by a donation from local architecture company Alsip & Associates PC. Chip Alsip, a First Christian Church member and president of Alsip & Associates, said the business pledged to match fundraiser earnings up to $1,000.

"As an architect, I have an interest in the built environment, and I've always had a spot in my heart for Habitat for Humanity," said Alsip, who also pitched in Saturday flipping pancakes on the grill.

Powlen said the church's total donation to Habitat for Humanity from breakfast profits and matching funds would exceed $2,000.

Sheri Stewart, 35, of Hagerstown, volunteered to serve at the breakfast along with her husband, Mike, 42, and her sons Adam, 10, and Ryan, 12. Stewart said, although her family had only been attending First Christian Church for a few weeks when they heard about the event, they felt compelled to get involved.

"(Habitat for Humanity) is one of those things I always wanted to help with, but I never have time to go out and help build a house. I figured this way we could do some small part," Sheri Stewart said.

Rebekah Coleman, 17, of Williamsport, attends First Christian Church and decided to help with the breakfast as a way of fulfilling her high school community service requirement.

Tom Plum of Smithsburg took his daughter, Alana Plum, 11, to eat breakfast at the fundraiser.

"It's good when I can support something worthwhile" Tom Plum said. "And the food doesn't hurt!"

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