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Habitat for Humanity of Columbus takes on 2019 Generosity Challenge

December 27, 2018

Thrivent Financial has continued its spirit of giving by pledging $55,000 to the Habitat for Humanity of Columbus, which will help cover half the cost of its 2019 home build.

As a result of this year’s boost in funding, the local chapter will be part of the 2019 Habitat and Thrivent Faith Builds program, which is an effort to bring together Habitat affiliates, Thrivent members, congregations and other volunteers to help strengthen the community. The program, according to information from Thrivent’s official website, gives church members a concrete way to put their faith into action and see tangible results.

As a requirement for the program, the organization is expected to complete the Faith Builds Generosity Challenge of gathering the support of the local faith community to cover the remaining cost for the upcoming build.

“Thrivent’s mission is to help people be wise with their money and to live generously with others, to make our world a better place,” said Thrivent Financial Consultant Melanie Knoepfle, who also serves as a board member for the Habitat for Humanity of Columbus.

Although the partnership between the organization and Thrivent has been ongoing for four years, Knoepfle said this year’s donation amount was the largest so far.

Habitat for Humanity of Columbus is part of a global nonprofit organization working toward its vision of building affordable housing by helping Habitat homeowners build their own homes alongside volunteers.

Executive Director Lori Peters said construction is expected to begin in March 2019 with the goal of having the home completed in August 2019. Peters said the chapter has selected the homeowner for 2019 -- a single mother of three currently “living in substandard housing.”

Knoepfle said donations are not limited to cash. Faith community members can showcase their support by sponsoring a build day, preparing meals and snacks for volunteers and conducting their own fundraisers.

Peters said she has put together several fundraising ideas for area churches to adopt, such as the Heart of Habitat. The idea for this fundraiser is to break down the price of the home build into different components. These components are written on price tags that are placed on a Heart of Habitat tree for church leaders and parishioners to select and donate money toward.

“We are trying to give the churches ideas so that they don’t have to do it themselves,” said Peters, noting it’s one of many ways churches can help raise funds for the organization. “But, the overall goal is to get the faith community to make a difference in their own town -- making it local.”

Peters described the fundraiser as a great idea. But, she said it does come with high levels of difficulty, especially when most churches are already financing schools.

“Their money is already going somewhere so it’s really an act of faith for a lot of the churches in town,” Peters said.

Despite that, Peters said she is feeling optimistic moving forward about reaching the program’s requirement. She said the organization already has the support of several churches like Immanuel Lutheran, Columbus Berean, Peace Lutheran, Federated, Word of Life, Columbus Branch of Latter Day Saints and First United Methodist.

“I think if everybody plays a part, we can do it,” Peters said. “I think we are more than halfway there. I think we are already ahead of the game because our churches have already been so involved with Habitat.”

If the goal is not met, Peters said the remaining cost of the home will be covered by the organization.

Those wishing to learn more about Habitat for Humanity of Columbus are encouraged to call 402-564-4663 or email info@hfhcolumbusne.org.

“Everybody goes on mission trips with their churches, but making the mission in their own town makes a difference, too,” Peters said.

Natasya Ong is a reporter for The Columbus Telegram. Reach her via email at natasya.ong@lee.net.

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