Group tests the waters to determine viability of local Habitat for Humanity

Friday, December 8, 2006
Habitat for Humanity of Benton County Executive Director Deborah Wienke, talked to a group of more than 40 people Wednesday morning, concerning the possibility of an Inter-Denominational Habitat for Humanity starting in Carroll County. The task-force is currently seeking the help of volunteers, business persons, those proficient in the building trade, legal assistance, financial counseling and all aspects involved in supplying the materials and expertise necessary for this major county project. Sheree Kuehn / Carroll County News

HOLIDAY ISLAND -- More than 40 people representing various church groups met Wednesday to consider establishment of a Carroll County chapter of Habitat for Humanity.

That was the topic of discussion as Deborah Wieneke, executive director, Habitat for Humanity of Benton County Inc. addressed the group at Geraldi's.

Habitat for Humanity is a non-profit agency started in 1976 by Millard and Linda Fuller, as a way to address poverty housing and those families in need. But, it was not until 1984, when former United States President Jimmy Carter and his wife Rosalynn, took their first Habitat trip to New York City, that the group received national visibility and phenomenal growth.

Today, Habitat for Humanity has built more than 200,000 homes worldwide to provide decent, affordable housing for low-income families.

Weineke helped spread that same sharing message by recalling some personal stories that have happened in the past 15 years with families helped by Habitat for Humanity of Benton County.

"There was a young boy whose family had just gotten a new home and he came to my office one day to tell me about a slumber party he was having. He was so excited about it because he actually had his own room, enough space to have his friends over and a backyard in which to play.

"But, he said something else that really got to me. He told me that now the bus picked him up and dropped him off at his house. When I asked where he went before, he told me that he would have the bus driver pick him up and let him off a block away from where he lived because he was too embarrassed for people to see his home," she concluded with emotion.

Weineke was emphatic in noting that if a county-wide, inter-denominational Habitat for Humanity was going to work in Carroll County, a consensus would have to be taken before any major decisions could be made.

"You have to have committed people, with committed time and you have to be solid. If you're going to start a chapter here, you will need to know how much of the town, the churches and the people will back up this program," she added.

For more information or if you would like to participate in the interdenominational Carroll County task force, telephone Bob Huston at (479) 244-5884.

For more information on Habitat for Humanity of Benton County, please call (479) 273-3638.

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