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Habitat hopes auction raises $70,000

March 21, 2009|By DAN DEARTH

HAGERSTOWN -- Wedding gowns, tennis rackets and a guitar signed by country music star Martina McBride were among the items that were up for bid Saturday during Habitat for Humanity of Washington County's 16th annual dinner auction.

Sherry Brown Cooper, executive director of Habitat for Humanity of Washington County, said 450 people paid $45 each to attend the event, which was at Hagerstown Community College's Athletic, Recreation and Community Center.

Officials said they hoped to raise $70,000.

"That can build a house," Brown Cooper said. "This is our largest fundraising event of the year ... It raises a lot of money."

This year's theme was "Home, Home on the Range with Habitat."

Some of the attendees drifted into the spirit of things by wearing cowboy boots and 10-gallon hats as they dined on marinated beef brisket and chicken marsala.

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The venue was decorated with saddles, a chuck wagon and hay bales.

Habitat for Humanity of Washington County has built 28 homes since its inception in 1994, and four more homes are in the works, Brown Cooper said.

She said the homes Habitat for Humanity builds are not free.

Among other things, recipients are required to put in 500 hours of volunteer work on Habitat for Humanity projects and make monthly payments on a no-profit, no-interest home loan. Payments are reinvested to build more homes.

"They work hard for these houses," Brown Cooper said. "It's not a handout. It's a hand up."

Jodie Stock of Hagerstown and Tina Barse of Greencastle, Pa., said they attended the auction to support Habitat for Humanity and to look for good deals.

"I like quilts and jewelry," Barse said. "That's what I came to look for."

Robin Robins of Hagerstown said Saturday marked the first time she attended a Habitat for Humanity auction.

"I'm just looking to see what they have," Robins said.

Robins said the $45 price for admission was a good deal for a night out that will help people in need.

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