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Poverty fundraiser raises awareness

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Habitat for Humanity is hosting a fundraising dinner in Idaho Falls at the Shilo Inn on Oct. 9. Different activities throughout the week will raise awareness of the program including school activities for children, a poker run and a dinner.

Habitat for Humanity is a non-profit organization that builds homes for people in financial distress, according to its website.

The events will kick off with children learning about Habitat for Humanity at local schools, according to its website.

“What we’ve asked the children to do is draw a picture or write a story or a poem about why they love their home,” said Karen Lansing, executive director of Habitat for Humanity in Idaho Falls.

The artworks will be entered into a contest, and two winners will be chosen. The winners will receive a trip to iJump in Idaho Falls. Children who win are allowed to bring up to 10 friends with them, Lansing said.

During the week, donors can join in on a poker run. Participants will drive to each of the six Habitat Homes in Idaho Falls and collect an envelope to bring to the dinner on Oct. 9.

The dinner will include both silent auction, a live auction, a woman doing a live painting and local guest speakers.

“We’ve invited two of our families to come and talk about how owning a Habitat Home has changed their lives,” Lansing said.

Winners of the poker run will be announced at the dinner. Money raised will help fund the building and restoring of Habitat homes.

Habitat for Humanity has been functioning since 1976, according to Habitat for Humanity’s website.

“Our mission is to provide simple, decent and affordable housing for everyone,” Lansing said.

There are three criteria: the family’s amount of need, how willing they are to enter into a partnership with Habitat, and the ability to pay for the house, according to the Habitat for Humanity website.

Habitat homeowners are required to spend hundreds of hours helping to build Habitat homes. This is called “sweat equity.”

“So they’re asked to put 250 hours of sweat equity per adult to help build the home, and then we use local volunteers and donors to help us build the home and keep the costs low,” Lansing said.

Habitat for Humanity does not just build homes; they renovate and help improve local communities as well, according to Habitat for Humanity’s website.

“We’ve done two, what we call ‘A Brush with Kindness,’ projects where we go in and we paint the exterior of the homes and do a little bit of light landscaping and yard cleanup,”     Lansing said.

Until recent years, Habitat for Humanity in Idaho Falls only got to build one house during the year. This year, seven projects finished, including two “Brush with Kindness” projects.

“Five of them were major projects,” Lansing said. “Four new constructions and one, what I call, a ‘gut rehab.’ We tore the house right down to the studs and rebuilt it. So we’ve placed five families in relatively newer homes.”

Lansing has been working with Habitat for Humanity for close to 20 years. Lansing said she has caught “Infectious Habititus” because she loves to get out and help build the homes.

“I think it’s a very noble mission,” said Rachel Monson, a senior studying communication. “It’s a good thing. The world could definitely use more of that.”

Donations make it possible to build homes and volunteers are appreciated, according to the Habitat for Humanity Web page. Interested parties can donate online.

For more information on Habitat for Humanity, visit the Habitat for Humanity website. For more local information including how to get involved this year, visit the Habitat for Humanity Idaho Falls area Web page.

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