Archive for Thursday, March 11, 2004

Fundraising efforts begin for Habitat

March 11, 2004

When the Baldwin City Council decided not to waive any permit fees for the town's first Habitat for Humanity home, Trina Schartz and Stephanie Schimke decided to take matters into their own hands.

The owners of Espress Yourself decided to start a change jar in an effort to collect the $4,100 needed for permit fees for the Habitat home.

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"I was hoping the city would be able to kick in some funds," Schartz said. "At least a partial reduction of the permit fees would be better than nothing.

"But when we saw that they hadn't, we wanted to do something."

So a jar was set out on the counter of the downtown coffee shop last Thursday. So far, around $75 has been collected. Schartz said she believed collecting the amount needed for the permit fees was a realistic goal.

"If everyone in Baldwin could kick in a buck, it would be well taken care of," she said.

Their customers, she said, seem enthusiastic about the idea and appear to be willing to contribute.

"A lot of community members that came in, they were disappointed, too, the city couldn't kick something in," she said. "All these people were like we want to help, we want to do something.

"So people are really glad to see we're doing what we can," Schartz said. "I think people are really tickled to be a part of it."

Espress Yourself isn't the only business contributing to Baldwin's Habitat home.

Baldwin State Bank and Mid America Bank have each donated $5,000, and Kansas State Bank has provided a six-month, interest-free note for the purchase of the property.

And at least one church is also getting involved.

Dan Neuenswander said the First United Methodist Church has pledged $20,000 toward the project.

Neuenswander said the Baldwin church has raised money in the past for several of its own projects, but the congregation, which has been active on Lawrence Habitat projects, believed it was time to go outside of the church and contribute to its community.

"We thought maybe it was time we did something for somebody else," he said. "It was something we thought would be good for the community in terms of helping somebody."

Not only will the church raise $20,000, Neuenswander said, it will also help organize work groups and do a lot of hands-on work on the house.

Jean Lilley, executive director of Lawrence Habitat for Humanity, said she has already received a few individual contributions from Baldwin residents, including from a couple of city council members.

She said an additional eight to 10 businesses have also promised labor or monetary donations as well.

Those who would like to contribute monetary donations or labor, she said, or those with questions, can contact Lilley at the Lawrence Habitat for Humanity at (785) 832-0777. She said contributions can also be made through the First United Methodist Church.

She said the interest received so far proves the community is in favor of the house being built.

Schartz said she agreed.

"I know given the chance, all who could would support it, whether it's through monetary donations, time or with their talents," she said. "That's what I love about this city. It's a very caring and very supportive community."

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