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Student fundraiser garners $6,000 for Habitat

March 4, 2009

KALAMAZOO-- The annual Shantytown fundraiser at Western Michigan University recently garnered a record $6,266.62 for Kalamazoo Valley Habitat for Humanity.

Jenny McGinnis, co-president of WMU's campus chapter of Habitat, says Shantytown is the registered student organization's major annual fund-raiser. The group turned over this year's proceeds to Habitat's board of directors on Jan. 19, the date of Kalamazoo's "Communitywide Day of Service" to honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Shantytown is staged annually the Friday before Thanksgiving at Kanley Chapel. After collecting donations, students gather at the chapel and build an outdoor "shantytown," where they spend the night in sleeping bags.

"The event has two purposes," says McGinnis, a junior from Clarkston, Mich., majoring in psychology. "It raises awareness about homelessness and what students can do about it, and raises money that will be used to help build affordable homes in Kalamazoo. It's a great way to get to know people better because you're all in the same situation and completely out of your element."

Along with McGinnis, five other chapter members played a key role in making the 2008 event a resounding success. They are Mike Davis, a senior from Jackson, Mich., majoring in computer science; Kevin Key, a junior from Portage Mich., majoring in electrical and computer engineering; Malory Manderfield, co-president and a senior from Houghton, Mich., majoring in speech pathology and audiology; Zack Siddall, a senior from Midland Mich., majoring in elementary education; and Sarah Spruit, a senior from Schoolcraft, Mich., majoring in interior design.

For more information about the Shantytown fund-raiser, contact Jenny McGinnis at jennifer.c.mcginnis@wmich.edu or (248) 464-4515. Information about Kalamazoo Valley Habitat for Humanity is available from its development coordinator, Ann Kilkuskie, at akilkuskie@habitatkalamazoo.org or (269) 344-2443, ext. 206.

Media contact: Jeanne Baron, (269) 387-8400, jeanne.baron@wmich.edu

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