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Posted on Sat, Feb. 08, 2003

Habitat's 2003 goal: 50 homes, biggest year yet

Charlotte's Habitat for Humanity announced plans Friday to build 50 homes this year, bringing to more than 530 the number of homes volunteers will have built for their needy neighbors.

The nation's fourth largest Habitat chapter -- after Jacksonville (Fla.), Atlanta and Lee County (Fla.) -- the Charlotte ministry has become part of the fabric of life during 20 years in Charlotte. Weekly, thousands of volunteers from congregations, businesses and civic groups gather to say a prayer, then put up simple homes for families who agree to pay a zero-interest mortgage and join in the construction.

Folks still recall the day in 1987 when Bob Hope and Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter hammered a few symbolic nails at a Habitat house in the Optimist Park community.

This year's goal of 50 new homes is the most in Charlotte Habitat history, and four more than the 46 built last year.

Among the highlights:

• The annual Building on Faith blitz Sept. 13-20 will see 20 homes go up in the Thomasboro neighborhood off Freedom Drive.

• Volunteers from more than a dozen congregations -- including Baha'is, Christians, Jews, Quakers and more -- will unite to build an interfaith home.

• Employees of Popular Mechanics -- count on them being really good at this -- are on board to build a house. The magazine's parent company, Hearst, operates a service center in Charlotte.

To swing a hammer for a good cause -- or donate so others can smack their thumbs -- call Habitat at (704) 376-2054 or visit

Ken Garfield

©Copyright 2003, The Charlotte Observer (NC, USA)

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