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Monday, March 18,2013

Trees for a cause

Habitat for Humanity sells Christmas trees to raise money to build a new house

by Nyssa Rabinowitz
Tuesday, Dec. 20 — Buying a Christmas tree can do more than decorate a home for the holidays — it can also help build a new home for a family in need.
Habitat for Humanity is selling Christmas trees to help raise money to build a new home at 1215 Hillcrest St., Denise Paquette, Habitat for Humanity Lansing’s executive director, said.
The house that used to be on the lot was damaged beyond repair in an explosion a few years ago, Paquette said. The land was donated to Habitat so it could build a new house on the site.
Habitat started the Hillcrest project in late September after partnering with area churches, Paquette said. Volunteers laid the foundation in November and will build the walls of the house in Habitat’s warehouse throughout the winter. A wall-raising event will take place in the spring to fit the walls into the foundation. After that, roofing supplies will need to be bought and added to the house.
The house is being built for a family of four adults and four children and will have five bedrooms, two bathrooms and a garage, Paquette said. Habitat worked with the family to design a house layout that will fit their needs without taking up too much space.
Now, the organization needs to find volunteers to do the work and raise money to purchase building materials, Paquette said. Habitat receives funding from a number of sources including other nonprofits, grants and project partners.
“Every house is a jigsaw puzzle,” Paquette said about funding. “The trees are just one more way we raise revenue.” She said Habitat has been selling trees for the past 12 years.
Habitat purchases supplies as they need them so the majority of the building materials for the Hillcrest house still need to be purchased, Paquette said. She estimated that Habitat already spent $18,000 and $19,000 on the house so far and needs to raise another $15,000 to complete the project by June. Selling trees normally brings in a few hundred dollars every year for the organization to use.
“If we sell every tree it will raise just about $1,000,” Paquette said.
This year, most of the trees have already been sold, Paquette said. Only about 30 trees were left in the lot on Monday. Trees range from balsams to firs and spruces and are $15 each.
Anyone interested in purchasing a tree can visit the lot at the Habitat for Humanity ReStore located at 1941 Benjamin Drive. Trees will be sold Tuesday through Thursday this week from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m.
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