Habitat chapter gears up

“Building homes, building lives,” proclaims Habitat for Humanity, an international group that actively works to fight against poverty housing.

Eastern’s campus has its very own Habitat group who embodies this passion and hopes to spend this year sharing their goals with everyone else.

The goal of Eastern’s chapter of Habitat this year is the education of Eastern’s students and the surrounding community, according to Kendra Book, an Eastern senior and the group’s on-campus public relations representative.

Kristen Doaty, the president of Eastern’s chapter, has high hopes for Habitat’s goals this year.

“I would like to see Eastern’s campus get more involved in eliminating poverty housing,” Doaty said. “We plan to do this through education; that’s our focus this year, with things like monthly education meetings and possibly going into Philadelphia on Saturdays with YACHT (Youth Against Complacency and Homelessness Today).”

Habitat for Humanity has made huge strides in its fight against poverty housing. Relying on the efforts of volunteers, Habitat builds homes for those who cannot afford one on their own income.

Calling their work “a hand up, not a hand out,” Habitat requires the new homeowners to contribute to the building process of their house and then pay a mortgage for the house once it’s been built, according to the Habitat website.

Eastern, in the past and currently, has worked closely with the Habitat site in Norristown, Pa., which is where service learners from Eastern who chose to work with Habitat perform their hours.

Last year Eastern’s Habitat chapter raised $9,000 towards the housing fund for the Norristown site, according to Brian Farrell, a sophomore and the treasurer of EU’s chapter.

To continue their fundraising efforts for the Norristown site, Doaty asks that Eastern students begin to set aside their aluminum cans for Habitat.

“Start saving your aluminum cans,” Doaty said. “We are the biggest contributor in this area of cans to the Montgomery County affiliate and their goal is to build an entire house on the money raised from the cans.”

Bins will be placed in each residence hall for can collection.

While still raising money through the can drive and also trick-or-treating at Halloween, their primary focus of educating the community will happen through various activities they organize throughout the year, particularly by having an event each month.

They will kick off their year at homecoming where they will have their ever-popular Jail-a-Thon. The Jail-a-Thon is an event where you pay to put someone in “jail” and then they must raise double the amount you paid to get out. The money raised will go towards helping the affiliate in Norristown and further fundraising, according to Book.

Each month they will be having events to raise awareness, leading up to the Spring Break trips, which are their biggest undertakings. They have done these trips in the past and seen great success.

In preparation for their Spring Break trips, they are sending two members to the Habitat Leadership Conference in Atlanta, Ga. The two students, senior Cassity McGriff and junior Jennifer Heltzel, will be the leaders for the spring break trips.

Meetings for anyone who is interested in becoming involved with these trips will be held in November. For any other questions about Habitat, contact Membership Chairperson Ashley Ottman at habitat@eastern.edu.

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