Habitat Club helps build community

Posted on: January 17, 2011

The McMinn County Chapter of Habitat for Humanity has a few more helping hands and funds thanks to a new club on the campus of Tennessee Wesleyan College.

The McMinn County Chapter of Habitat for Humanity has a few more helping hands and funds thanks to a new club on the campus of Tennessee Wesleyan College.

When Dr. Grant Willhite, associate professor of biology at TWC, discussed the club with a few students almost a year ago, he did not know what kind of reaction he would get.  Turns out, it has been very favorable.

“The students are truly interested in helping others; whether that be a work day on a home or raising funds support our local chapter,” Willhite said.

When the club was deciding how to raise funds, they wanted to think outside the box of typical fundraisers. So, they found something that is near and dear to every college student – parking. The club, with approval of the College’s administration, secured premium parking spaces on campus and with a donation to the club, those students are entered in a raffle to have a reserved parking space for the semester.

At the end of the fall semester, the club was able to present a check for $700 to the local Habitat chapter.  They hope to contribute more this year.

Kirby Vinson, a senior from Lafayette, Tenn., majoring in biology is proud of the humble beginnings, but sees a bright future for the club. 

“My hope is that a house can be completely built by Tennessee Wesleyan. I hope the club raises enough funds to completely fund the build, and the labor is provided by TWC students, staff and alumni.”

Savannah Howe, a senior biology and chemistry major from Athens agrees.  “This is a very good start for a young club. I see the club continuing to grow.” 

“We have had great support from our student body,” Howe continued.  “With the help of our athletes and club members, we provided over 500 man-hours of labor on various projects.”

Those projects include the work on a new Habitat home, renovation to home that suffered a fire and prep work in the local ReStore, scheduled to be open later this year.

Habitat for Humanity ReStores are retail locations that provide a source of income to the local Habitat chapter.  The stores normally feature building materials, either surplus or reusable, appliances, furniture and home accessories.

"These students are a small example of what so many groups in the community can do to help Habitat.  We encourage any church and civic groups to follow the example our students are setting and help our neighbors in need,” Willhite said.

For more information, contact Frank Davis, Executive Director of the McMinn County Habitat for Humanity, at PO Box 1556, Athens, Tenn., 37371, call 423-920-4179 or email faeagle3@aol.com.