Not for carpenters only – Habitat for Humanity | VailDaily.com
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Not for carpenters only – Habitat for Humanity

Laura A. Ball
Special to the Daily From left, Kathy Cook, Mary Chaco and Vince Cook have some fun at the Carpenter's Ball in 2004 where enough funds were raised to build a house plus a little more.
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BEAVER CREEK – On Saturday night, builders will hang up their toolbelts and put on their dancing shoes at Habitat for Humanity’s annual Carpenter’s Ball.”It has a dual role and the first is to celebrate Habitat’s success and this year we are celebrating the fact that we have housed over 40 children and their families,” said Barbara Duncan, event chair for the Carpenter’s Ball. “The other is to raise money. Last year we raised enough money to build a house and a little bit more. Everybody who comes to this is very, very interested in bettering the community.”

The fun will begin at 5:30 p.m. with cocktails and bidding on silent auction items, followed by a sit-down dinner, live auction bidding and music a la The Don Watson Band at 7:30. “It’s a very fun, festive atmosphere and The Don Watson Band always brings the house down,” Duncan said.The party doesn’t shut down until the crowd stops dancing.”I’m expecting to see a lot of friends, make new friends and dance well into the evening,” said Holly Woods, Habitat for Humanity director of operations. “I also hope to convert a few people into Habitat volunteers to help build homes for people in need.”Of course no benefit in the valley is complete without an auction.”We have $100,000 worth of auction items and we just have some really amazing, fun things that you can’t just go out and buy on the street.”

Live auction items include various packages including a trip to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, and dinner prepared in your home by Grouse Mountain Grill Chef Rick Kangas. Silent auction items include a Mama Bear pendant from The Golden Bear, dinner for eight at Juniper Restaurant, a $1000 Dental Package from Vail Valley Center for Aesthetic Dentistry and a Swedish massage from Allegria Spa. “That’s always a fun process, to see how much money we can raise,” said Amy Birdsall. “It should be an evening of fun, excitement and celebration of where Habitat’s been.””Build Five in 2005″ sets the theme of the evening, which captures the group’s goal of completing the construction of five homes this year. Since the inception of Eagle and Lake counties’ Habitat organization in 1995, Habitat has averaged the completion of one home per year.”It’s a big accomplishment and a big vision for this year to be committed to building five homes,” said Birdsall. “So the organization is really growing its vision.”The organization has plans to be averaging 10 homes per year by 2008.”I really believe in the cause,” said Amy Birdsall, publicity chair for the Carpenter’s Ball. “I think it’s an organization that really helps people to help themselves. It’s not an organization that provides free charity but it’s an organization that asks the partnering family to be involved in the process and be responsible at a high level in the building and the maintenance of the home.”

The process in partnering is lengthy and involves multiple interviews. The family must live at poverty level or below. They need to show a desire to better their family’s lives, and must attend Habitat classes to learn responsibility of how to pay bills and take care of a home. All applicants have jobs, work history and steady incomes. Their incomes just haven’t been enough to purchase a home. Once the house is done, the homeowner must give 250 hours of “sweat equity,” which could be building on their own homes, volunteering for habitat or working on other homes. “Habitat for Humanity is not a charity in the normal sense in that we don’t just give things away. It’s a hand-up not a handout,” Duncan said. “Habitat criteria based on three things: the need, their willingness to partner with Habitat and their ability to pay back.”Last year, a woman named Francis applied to Habitat’s housing program. She was working 40 to 50 hours in a plant in Gypsum. She was a single mom raising three boys, working on her GED and working on her citizenship. She wanted the stability of a home. Habitat was able to help her find that.”It breaks that cycle of poverty. It’s not just going out and giving it to somebody. They want to work for it and be respected.” Duncan said. Habitat has a handful of reasons to celebrate as it hits the 10-year mark this year.”Another things that we’re celebrating is just the support that the community gives to Habitat,” Duncan said. “People can always give. They can give in two ways: They can give of money and they can give of their time. The outpouring of care and concern in their community is just amazing.”

Staff Writer Laura A. Ball can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 619, or laball@vaildaily.com.Vail, Colorado


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