By Michelle Key
The Auburn – Opelika Habitat for Humanity organization held their annual “Habitat Around the Heart” fundraising dinner and silent auction last Thursday night at the Saugahatchee Country Club.
Mark Grantham, executive director for the local organization, welcomed more than 100 guests to the event, stating that it is events like the dinner that have helped build 66 homes in the area.
After the meal, Aaron Friend, president of the Auburn-Opelika Habitat for Humanity, spoke to the crowd, thanking them for their support. “Our mission to provide decent, affordable housing for the community. Our supporters help us achieve our mission,” Friend said. “Seeing first hand how safe, affordable homes can change the lives of families is immeasurable.”
The 2018 “Habitat Around the Heart” dinner generated $31,000 in sponsorships. That is more than triple the amount of sponsorships from 2017. This year’s event raised more than $46,000 with pledges still being received at press time.
During the event, Opelika Mayor Gary Fuller presented Daniel Hatcher with the Affiliate Leader of the Year Award and Joe Crespo was named Volunteer of the Year. Fuller expressed his appreciation for the volunteers and for what they do. “I’m sure our community would be in a pretty rough state if we didn’t have volunteers. You make a difference in the lives of our community,” Fuller said.
In 2015, Grantham’s organization set a goal of 20 homes by 2020. He said that because of events like this, they are nearly halfway toward reaching their goal. “This represents about a $700,000 investments in the community,” Grantham said. “We have just about 2 1/2 years to accomplish our goal,” Grantham said. “What you do tonight, and what you do on a regular basis helps us accomplish these goals.”