Habitat for Humanity lends Norristown a helping hand

Helping out in the community has always been a goal of Eastern, and the goal of student-led ministries on campus. Habitat for Humanity is no different. Through the work of some ambitious and hard-working students, many on campus will have even more opportunities to do their part in the community.

Habitat for Humanity is raising money to build a house in Norristown. The house will be worked on by the Eastern community, giving first-years, upperclassmen and faculty and administration the opportunity to come out on workdays.

“The idea was being talked about ever since I got here three years ago,” said Andy Horvath, the coordinator of service learning and campus ministries, “but this past year and a half it was really put into motion.”

Last year, seniors Jessica Sanger and Kathy Sullivan and others decided to give the idea another shot. In the fall of 2003, they talked to Horvath, Bettie Ann Brigham, vice president of Student Development, and President David Black, among others.

“They gave us a lot of support, and they were really open to our ideas. They really wanted us to succeed and helped us a lot,” Sanger said.

The administration’s biggest concern was how to raise the money and whether it would conflict with fundraising for the campus as a whole. After talking to their Habitat affiliate, Eastern’s Habitat board thought of the most viable ways to get the idea to work.

Sanger and sophomore Jessica Brett met with the administration again this September and gained the approval they were looking for.

“I’ve been very impressed with their effort,” Horvath said. “Almost all of the work has been done by the students, and they worked very hard.”

The plan is to raise $50,000 to build the house. They need to have at least $25,000 collected before they can officially start, so they want to have half by the end of this year and the rest by the end of next. This sum seems less daunting considering that Eastern’s chapter of Habitat has raised over $90,000 in the past three years. Still, $50,000 is not an easy amount to accomplish.

“Most of our money will come from corporations, and we’re going to approach Commerce Bank and some other companies about donating money to the cause,” Sanger said.

Corporate donations and grants will hopefully make up most of the money needed, but Habitat also plans on trick-or-treating for change on Halloween Day and holding a breakfast for local churches to get to know them and ask for donations. Other fundraisers include a sweatshirt sale in January, a date auction in February and a golf tournament in April. So far they have raised $2,800-a little above their expectations.

“I’m really excited about this,” Horvath said. “This is something the entire Eastern community can do, something that is really positive in the community.”

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