Meridian Star

May 9, 2013

Hands 4 Habitat to benefit new home repair program

By Ida Brown /
The Meridian Star

MERIDIAN —     An upcoming fundraiser will give local youth the opportunity to raise money for a new program to help the elderly, disabled and veterans with home repairs – and, to assist with those projects.

    Hands 4 Habitat will provide funding for Lauderdale County Habitat for Humanity's newly established A Brush with Kindness/Critical Home Repair Program, which is a nationwide program serving low-income homeowners who struggle to maintain their homes. In addition, the youth fundraiser will allow interested youth to work on a program project.

    "You have to be 16 to participate in our regular Habitat building projects. But the repair projects with our Brush with Kindness/Critical Home Repair program are open to youth from 13 years old to college age," said Fonda Rush, executive director of Lauderdale County Habitat for Humanity.

    The brain child of Jon Cooper, youth minister of Highland Baptist Church, and Bradly Eaves of Fellowship Baptist Church, Hands 4 Habitat's format includes 10-member teams, with each member responsible for raising $100; teams must raise a minimum of $1,000. Teams can have more than 10 members or more than one 10-member team can be formed.

    "This (having multiple teams) especially works for churches, youth groups, clubs and organizations," Rush said.

    There are three team levels:

    • Level 1: The team does not choose to work on a home project, but helps Habitat raise money for A Brush with Kindness/Critical Home Repair.

    • Level 2: The team will work on a project at a home on Hands 4 Habitat Day, June 8. Habitat will approve the project and assign the project to the team on Bank Day, June 3. Habitat will supply lunch for the work day.

    • Level 3: The project assigned to the team could be one that requires more that 1 day of work, and the home owner is adopted by the team to help finish the work on the home after Hands 4 Habitat Day. Habitat will approve the project and assign it on Bank Day. Habitat will supply lunch for the team's work days.

    Team leaders must be 21 years or older. Teams of 10 that raise a minimum of $1,000, or if a team is more than 10 members and each member has raised at least $100, each member will receive a T-shirt and ticket to see KUTLESS at Evangel Temple on the night of Hands 4 Habitat Day. Evangel Temple is a partner with the youth fundraiser.

    The concert will also be open to the public. Tickets are $18, advance, $20, at the door, and may be purchased at Bible Bookstore, 820 23rd Ave., or at

    The deadline to register to participate in Hands 4 Habitat is May 27.

    Habitat for Humanity's A Brush with Kindness/Critical Home Repair is part of Habitat's Neighborhood Revitalization Initiative, which is designed to revitalize the appearance of the neighborhood, encourage connections within the community and help preserve affordable housing stock.

    More than 36 applications are being considered to qualify for the local program, which Rush notes is for critical repairs, not remodeling of homes.

    A Brush with Kindness focuses on exterior home repair services such as painting, minor exterior repairs, landscaping and exterior clean-up. Groups of volunteers work to revitalize a home's exterior.

    Critical Repair involves extensive interior or exterior work performed to alleviate critical health, life and safety issues, or code violations for homeowners in need.

    The program serves low-income homeowners, however it is not free. Homeowners are selected based on need, ability to pay and willingness to partner.

    "What we do is partnership with families. This is a loan program for up to $5,000 in repairs, at no interest. And they must do 8 hours of sweat equity," Rush said.

    The program is also in partnership with Multi-County Community Service Agency, which conducts the energy program for the homes.