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When Tonisha Carr and her three children walked through the door of their new three-bedroom home as its owners last weekend, they were greeted by the aroma of homemade chocolate chip and Snickerdoodle cookies that were the first items to come out of the oven.
Those fresh-from- the-oven cookies made the house on Auburn Street in Opelika truly feel like home to them after months of anticipation. Carr and her family received the keys April 28 as the Auburn-Opelika Habitat for Humanity group celebrated the completion and dedication of its 65 th home.
Carr said the house, with its energy-efficient appliances, large yard and “princess” purple bedroom for her daughter, represents a dream come true. Auburn University architecture students designed the home.
“Thank you to the sponsors, volunteers and board members for helping to make our dream of becoming a home owner a reality,” Carr said. “I appreciate all of the hard work and everyone who came out and volunteered.”
More than 60 community members celebrated the dedication of the home, which moves Auburn-Opelika Habitat for Humanity a step closer to its “20 by 2020” goal of completing 20 new homes between 2016 to the end of 2020. “We have full expectations of meeting that goal,” said Auburn
Opelika Habitat for Humanity Board President Aaron Friend. “To meet that goal, we’ll need just shy of $1 million through donations.”
Auburn Opelika Habitat for Humanity Executive Director Mark Grantham said new sponsors and donors will find that there is a strong return on their investments.
The organization accepts tax deductible donations of money and building materials. Grantham said the Opelika build project would not have been possible without the support of the Auburn University College of Architecture, Design and Construction, Auburn University Panhellenic, Auburn Bank, Auburn Rotary, ACI Worldwide, Public Supermarket Charities, Walmart, the Lee County Association of Realtors, the Jonquil Garden Club, the Oak Hill Foundation and the Alabama Association of Habitat Affiliates.
Habitat for Humanity describes itself as a “hand up” and not a “hand out” organization since homeowners must be employed and be able to pay the mortgage for homes in which they are placed.
Each Habitat for Humanity homeowner family is required to invest 500 hours of “sweat equity” in the construction of their new home and other Habitat for Humanity homes. Friend said that experience
provides a unique perspective for the families placed in homes, as well as the volunteers who help bring the structures to life.
“You start thinking about the experience, the sweat equity you put into the house, watching your children grow, the sense of pride in owning that house,” he said.
Opelika Mayor Gary Fuller said the recent dedication represents the sort of event that brings “joy to our hearts.”
“Seeing the children and how excited they were,” Fuller said. “They showed me their rooms, and I kind of liked the purple one the best.”
About Auburn Opelika Habitat for Humanity:
Auburn Opelika Habitat for Humanity (H4H) is a non-
profit, nondenominational Christian housing organization. H4H builds quality, affordable homes in partnership with moderate income families and assists these families in developing the necessary skills for successful home ownership. Each homeowner family is required to invest 500 hours of “sweat equity” in the construction of their new home and other Habitat for Humanity homes. Homes are built with the help of volunteers and tax deductible donations of money and materials. Learn more at http://www.auburnopelikahabitat.org or by contacting Executive Director Mark Grantham at 334-745-2123 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.