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A Foundation of Faith

'Lumber for the Lord' fundraiser helps Habitat garner $1,700 for its latest Hagerstown house

'Lumber for the Lord' fundraiser helps Habitat garner $1,700 for its latest Hagerstown house

August 10, 2008|By MARIE GILBERT

HAGERSTOWN - Of the dozens of homes along Lanvale Street, one stands out from the crowd - not because of its design or color scheme but because it is being built with the help of Popsicle sticks.

The structure is a Washington County Habitat for Humanity Faith House, a project of the area's faith community.

Congregations have provided skilled labor and have volunteered in other ways. But when it came to raising money for construction needs, a unique fund drive was conceived.

Known as Lumber for the Lord, local churches sold two-by-fours for $2.50 each and raised about $1,700 for the new house.

Popsicle sticks and tongue depressors represented each two-by-four that was sold, said Kathy Powderly, director of development for the local Habitat for Humanity.

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As the Popsicle sticks and tongue depressors piled up, many of the congregations built miniature versions of the Faith House to show their support, she said.

Powderly said about 10 churches participated in the project.

But it didn't stop with the lumber.

Purchasers also had the opportunity to write a house blessing, sign their name or draw a picture on a card.

Saturday morning, participants were invited to stop by the house and write their message in magic marker on the inner framework of the house before drywall and insulation was installed.

"This is the first time we've done anything like this," said Powderly. "Workers have sometimes written messages informally. But this is the first time there has been an organized effort to cover the house with blessings. It's a pretty powerful thing."

The day also included an invocation by the Rev. Roland Hobbs.

Among those on hand for the day of blessings was Cassandra Burnett, who will be moving into the Habitat house this fall with her four children.

"This is incredible," she said, as she watched the volunteers write their messages on the house's framework. "This is a big day for the whole family."

Burnett said it was appropriate that her new home be known as a Faith House "because I've always had a lot of faith that my dream of owning a home would one day come true."

Though it will be several months before she will move in, Burnett said she is buying plaques that say "Faith" to place around the house.

"This really will be a Faith House," she said.

Ann Marie Downey, co-chair of Habitat's Family Services Committee, said Burnett is already reaping the rewards of everyone's good wishes.

"She was recently promoted to assistant store manager at her workplace, is a new grandmother and now is getting a new house," she said.

Burnett said the promotion means her life will "financially be a little less stressful. It's all about faith."

Powderly said churches are encouraged to continue participating in the Lumber for the Lord program, even after Saturday's event. Messages after Saturday will be printed in a keepsake album for the new homeowners.

"A lot of love goes into every Habitat home," Powderly said. "Volunteers put a lot of themselves into each project. This is just one more way of sharing the love."

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