Ride to Raise the Roof benefits Women Build

September 14, 2009|By HEATHER KEELS

SHARPSBURG -- Which of the following was not essential gear for a Confederate soldier: a canteen, a cotton blanket, a toothbrush or a housewife?

The answer -- and it's not the obvious one -- is just one of the many bits of Civil War trivia motorcycle riders picked up Sunday as they cruised between monuments and markers on a Ride to Raise the Roof scavenger hunt to benefit Habitat for Humanity's Women Build program.

The event also featured a car show at the Washington County Agricultural Education Center on Sharpsburg Pike open to antique cars, classic cars, street rods and motorcycles.

"We wanted to do something fun to take advantage of the outdoors and get to experience the beauty of Washington County," said event chair Liz Bellantoni of Shepherdstown, W.Va.


Money raised at the event will go toward the organization's program to build houses for families in need, said Pam Meredith, chairwoman of Washington County Women Build.

Women Build is a division of Habitat for Humanity that utilizes female volunteers who want to learn construction skills while making a difference for a deserving family, Meredith said.

Washington County's Women Build chapter is working on its fourth house, a one-story, 1,000-square-foot home on Lanvale Street in Hagerstown's West End, Meredith said. That house is nearing completion, and funds raised Sunday will go toward the group's fifth house at a yet-to-be-determined site, she said.

For each house it builds, the organization must raise at least $65,000, Meredith said.

The group is also seeking land donations, she said.

Turnout at Sunday's fundraiser was hampered by competing events, including at least two other motorcycle-related events, but 17 riders participated in the scavenger hunt and others turned out for the car show, organizers said.

"This is the first year we've done this, so we're going to learn from our experience," Bellatoni said, adding she hoped word of the unique scavenger hunt format would spread to boost turnout next year.

The scavenger hunt questions were developed by volunteer Marilou Barratt of Myersville, Md., and her husband, Bellatoni said.

"We had quite a few families participating, and we thought that's a good way for the kids to have some fun and learn some things," Barratt said.

Scavenger hunt winners were entered into drawings to win 20 pounds of meat donated by Stonecrest Farms of Sharpsburg or a $50 gift card to South Mountain Inn, she said.

The confederate gear question was one of Barratt's favorites, she said, explaining that visitors to South Mountain Inn would learn that a "housewife," or sewing kit, was an essential item for soldiers, as was a wool -- not cotton -- blanket.

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