[Photo: Raeford Police Chief Marc Godwin was among the volunteer men who served up some sliders at the Habitat for Humanity fundraiser.]
By Catharin Shepard • Editor • It’s not every day Raeford’s mayor, police chief, assistant police chief and a city council member put on hard hats to wait tables, but it happened for a good cause last week at the Raeford Civic Center.
The sharp-dressed “studs” donned their construction gear Thursday night to serve meals to dozens of donors at the Habitat for Humanity “Studs and Sliders” fundraiser. The event, put on by the Habitat for Humanity of the N.C. Sandhills, sold tickets to a meal of slider sandwiches and sides served by businessmen, elected officials and other community supporters. Patrons could also write a special message on the other kind of “studs” present – the sturdy wooden beams used to build future Habitat homes.
All of the proceeds from the evening will go toward Habitat for Humanity projects in Hoke County, Executive Director Amie Fraley said.
“Everything that we raise tonight will be used right here in Hoke County for our new home ownership that we’re doing, and also our critical repairs, our aging in replace, which is for elderly or disabled members of the community who might need a new roof or windows replaced, something in their house to make it safer and more affordable as they age,” Fraley said.
“We’re really excited to bring all of these people together, not from just a fundraising standpoint but friend-raising, because we need people to come swing hammers,” she continued. “We just want people to know what we’re planning on in the next few years, and what we can do if we get that energy from the county.”
There was plenty of energy in the attendees as they greeted the volunteer “studs” for the evening, and handed over additional donations into the aprons of their servers.
The volunteers included Brad Calloway of Raeford Hardware, David McNeill of Home Food Market Inc., Raeford City Manager Dennis Baxley, Evan Hendrix of Hendrix Farms and Hendrix Trucking, City Council Member John Jordan of Fidelity Bank, Raeford Mayor John K. McNeill, John Wright of Edward Jones Investments, Raeford Police Chief Marc Godwin, Matt Hendrix of Hendrix Farms, Michael Hedgpeth of Hedgpeth Plumbing Company, Raeford Police Assistant Chief Ray Crumpler and Will Wright of Raeford/Hoke Economic Development.
The men who volunteered were able to raise over $1,000 extra on top of the ticket sales thanks to the donations made at the dinner.
Fraley spoke about some of the future plans for Habitat for Humanity of the N.C. Sandhills in Hoke County. That includes creating a 16-home Habitat subdivision off of Blue Springs Road.
“If we can get going on that, that is still our next goal,” Fraley said. “Until then, we’ve got a house or two each year that we’re planning to do. Once we have the fundraising and kind of that capacity to do that entire neighborhood, that’s our goal. We’re hoping everybody here will help make it happen.”
Right now the nonprofit has volunteers working on rehabbing a house on Blue Springs Road, and has another family putting in their “sweat equity” hours before beginning work on the construction for their own home.
The organization recently concluded a round of potential homeowner applications, and selected three families to work with from Hoke County in the near future.
Habitat for Humanity is “a hand up, not a hand out,” and families have to meet certain income and other eligibility requirements, Fraley explained to the attendees. They also put in 300 hours or more of hard work helping on the actual construction. In situations where a person is disabled, the nonprofit can work with them to fulfill that part of the requirements in another way, such as having them work at the ReStore shop in Aberdeen, or having a family member put in the “sweat equity.”
Fraley thanked the partners who helped make the event happen, including Unilever, which donated toiletries for a giveaway at the fundraiser. Some of those present at the fundraiser included groups from FirstHealth of the Carolinas, Sandhills Community College, and Las Amigas, along with a representative from Rep. Richard Hudson’s office, among other supporters.
For more information or to get involved with Habitat for Humanity, visit https://sandhillshabitat.org.