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Liberty News

Students make progress on second LU-sponsored Habitat for Humanity home

March 23, 2018 : Liberty University News Service

With only two days left of Spring Break, several Liberty University students from the Habitat for Humanity Club decided to sacrifice the last part of their vacation by participating in a “blitz build” that will give a Lynchburg family a new home.

As the main sponsor of a Habitat for Humanity home, the club raised the majority of funds — $50,000 — through fundraising events, including bake sales and an annual end-of-the-year gala. Sodexo, Liberty’s dining services provider, also participated in the fundraising by allowing club members to work at concession stands during football season and giving a portion of the proceeds to the project.

“I’m in awe about how this project has come together,” said Alison Pettit, club faculty advisor and an assistant professor of Information Technology. “We have a great relationship working with Greater Lynchburg Habitat for Humanity. They love working with our students and seeing the effort they put into this project.”

This week, the foundation was poured and finalized at the property, located on Maryland Avenue in Lynchburg. On Friday, students helped to raise the walls of the house.

Freshman Alex Lunt returned early from Spring Break to participate in the build. He said being part of the Habitat for Humanity Club has helped him step out of his comfort zone and meet people outside of Liberty, including the recipient of the home, Nakesha Moore, and her two children.

“When you actually get to meet the family you’re building the house for, it puts everything in perspective,” Lunt said. “It motivates you to want to get this project done.”

“Doing something like this is a great way to show that Liberty students want to be part of the Lynchburg community,” he added. “We don’t want to stay secluded on campus, but want to get to know the community and culture of the city we’re going to school in.”

Moore has been part of the building process working alongside the students.

“I’m in constant shock of how many people have come out and helped to create something that is going to be a generational change,” she said. “They’re helping build something that can impact my children, my grandchildren, and maybe my great-grandchildren.”

As a single mom, Moore said she isn’t sure this would have been possible on her own, but she is thankful for the support from the students and Habitat for Humanity.

“When we were touring the property, someone asked my daughter if she was excited to have a big yard to play in,” Moore said. “My daughter said, ‘Well, I’ve never had a yard.’ I just broke down and cried. She didn’t understand how heavy that was. We’ve always lived in an apartment. I’m excited to see the house come together. It’s life-changing. This is like winning the lottery for me.”

Lynchburg native and junior Tristan DeWitt said it’s great to see that Liberty wants to give back to his community through service projects.

“This has been really fulfilling,” said DeWitt, a club member. “Students want to give up their time to give back.”

DeWitt said his favorite part of the project has been getting to know the rest of the community volunteers at the site.

“We’ve been really learning from them,” he said. “A lot of them are just retired guys, and we’ve been hearing their stories. There’s a little bit of mentorship going on, which has been cool.”

Lunt said projects like this help students get to see the need on a more personal level.

“As Christians, we’re called to serve and treat others with love. How can we do that if we don’t get to know the people we’re serving? That’s why I love working on the house. It makes me want to love and know people better.”

In 2016, the club raised $60,000 to build its first Habitat for Humanity house, also in Lynchburg.

Students will continue to work on the site each week. Liberty will hold a special dedication ceremony for Moore and her family next month.

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