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Habitat for Humanity gets a hand up from local business

February 17, 2005 - Central Hockey League (CHL) - Mississippi RiverKings News Release

SOUTHAVEN, Miss.—The phrase “put your money where your mouth is” can be seen at work in Chambliss Properties’ support of Habitat for Humanity.

Chambliss is sponsoring the non-profit, non-denominational Christian housing organization, which builds houses for those in need of adequate shelter, as a featured non-profit at the Memphis RiverKings game against the Colorado Eagles on Saturday, Feb. 19 at 7:05 p.m.

The real estate company has conducted a ticket fundraiser on behalf of Habitat, selling tickets to the game and raising more than $720, plus taking in more than $2,300 in donations for the organization. In addition, the company has sponsored the printing of 1,500 rally towels with Habitat’s logo on them to be given out to fans at the game.

“I wanted to help people who are in need of homes,” said Chambliss Properties’ Teresa Chambliss. “I felt like Habitat for Humanity was a natural progression for us. I wanted to take what we do everyday and use it to help meet people’s physical needs. Shelter is a basic need, and it’s an area where we can minister because that’s what we do as a business.”

Habitat’s non-profit housing ministry began in 1976; by the end of 2005, Habitat for Humanity will have built more than 200,000 homes in more than 100 countries, helping 60 families a day on average. In the United States and Canada, Habitat built 1,500 homes last year, helping an average of about 15 families per day.

The Hernando-DeSoto Habitat affiliate has built 11 homes in DeSoto County since its inception 13 years ago. The chapter upped its build rate from one home per year to two per year in 2004 and hopes to continue that rate in 2005.

“You’re helping a family who probably has been living with children in substandard, unsafe homes, who is working and doesn’t see a way out,” said Tracy Kirkley, Hernando-DeSoto board president. “They don’t qualify for conventional loans. This is their chance to provide a good, safe, decent place for their families and start a whole new life.”

Kirkley began working on builds with Habitat in Memphis three years ago and joined the Hernando-DeSoto board in 2004.

“It’s a way to give back to the community in a very tangible way,” she said. “In real estate, I see a lot of families who struggle trying to get into a home. It’s very satisfying to get through the closing and hand them the keys to their very own home.”

Habitat is not a government or welfare-supported organization, and it doesn’t give homes away. While all labor is provided by volunteers, “partner families,” those receiving the homes, must be able to purchase the home (generally about $40,000 in materials) through a no-interest loan payable in installments.

Additionally the partner family is required to put in “sweat equity” and build the home alongside the volunteers working on the site.

“It’s amazing—you’ve got people from all walks of life out there on the build site working together, from CEOs of large corporations to neighbors and the partner families themselves,” Kirkley said. “It’s pretty cool to get out there and get dirty and know you’re doing something like that for the good of the community.”

Hernando-DeSoto Habitat is hosting an “Awareness Day” March 5 at Goodman Oaks Church of Christ in Southaven for anyone interested in volunteering, serving as a corporate partner or applying to be a partner family.

For more information on Hernando-DeSoto Habitat for Humanity visit the Web at www.desotohabitat.org or call 662-895-8300 and dial ext. 1613 or ask for Tracy Kirkley. For more information on the RiverKings’ programs for non-profits and charities, call 662-342-1755.

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