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Habitat for Humanity holds public fundraiser

Nov. 16, 2009

KALAMAZOO--Western Michigan University's chapter of Habitat for Humanity will be raising awareness of homelessness in Kalamazoo during its 13th annual Shantytown fundraiser from 9 p.m. Friday, Nov. 20, to 7 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 21, on the lawn in front of the campus' Kanley Chapel.

The event gives the chapter as well as members of the campus and local communities a chance to raise money to help Kalamazoo Valley Habitat for Humanity in its efforts to provide affordable area housing. The general public and members of WMU sororities, fraternities and classes are especially encouraged to participate.

The students and volunteers participating in Shantytown experience homelessness for a night by building a cardboard city out of boxes and sleeping there--regardless of the weather. Funds are raised by each Shantytown participant soliciting at least $35 from family members, friends and other supporters. The group that raises the most money is eligible to win a prize, and students taking part in the event will earn 15 hours of community-service credit.

"Our WMU students impress us every Saturday with the skill and energy they bring to our Habitat construction sites," says Don Jones, KVHH executive director. "They amazed us by raising more than $6,000 for Habitat last year with Shantytown and we hope the community will help them meet their goal this year."

The University's Habitat for Humanity chapter has been an active group since 1993 and has hosted Shantytown for 13 consecutive years. But his year, chapter members are getting the greater Kalamazoo community involved. They also have set a higher fund-raising goal than last year and have a matching grant for all funds donated.

Representatives from KVHH plan to be on hand to lead discussions on poverty and how it relates to the mission of the organization. Scheduled activities for the night include a privilege walk, candlelight vigil, cardboard house contests, and dining in style with chili and bagels.

An unincorporated student-run, student-led organization, WMU Habitat for Humanity focuses on building houses in partnership with Habitat affiliates and homeowners; educating the campus and local communities about affordable housing issues and the work of Habitat for Humanity; and raising funds for Habitat for Humanity. The group also works with United Campus Ministry to provide volunteer experiences through service-learning.

Habitat for Humanity International is an ecumenical Christian ministry that is dedicated to eliminating poverty housing. Founded by Millard and Linda Fuller, the organization and its affiliates build in 3,000 communities in 90 nations and have built and sold more than 300,000 homes to partner families at no profit with zero-interest mortgages.

Get involved

To volunteer for WMU's 2009 Shantytown fundraiser, register at wmuhabitat@gmail.com, visit WMU Habitat for Humanity on Facebook or stop by Kanley Chapel before the event begins. Visit wmich.edu/ucm or e-mail to wmuhabitat@gmail.com to donate to learn more about the event or the WMU campus chapter of Habitat for Humanity.

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

WMU News
Office of University Relations
Western Michigan University
Kalamazoo MI 49008-5433 USA
(269) 387-8400