Hundreds of attendees packed into the Sherman Municipal Ballroom Saturday night to dine and bid on dozens of items in a silent auction as part of Habitat for Humanity’s annual Habi-Taters dinner and fundraiser.
All the proceeds from the event went toward the general operations of Habitat for Humanity, which is celebrating its 25th year in Grayson County.
“It’s all to fund homes for families in need,” Executive Director Laurie Mealy said.
Mealy estimated that roughly $30,000 would be raised by the end of the night, both through donations and proceeds from the auction. Items included in the sale ranged from a simple T-shirt and ball cap to handmade, wooden furniture and pieces of art — all donated by individuals and area businesses.
Roughly 300 people turned out for the fundraiser Mealy said, so many that organizers of next year’s dinner were already wondering how to handle the 2018 crowd.
“I think next year we’re either going to have to have long tables, where we can fit more, or we’ll have to move to a different venue,” Mealy said. “It’s a good problem to have.”
But the solution Habitat for Humanity was focused on Saturday evening was easing and ending the difficulty many community members have in securing reliable housing.
“There’s an awful lot of people that don’t have the ability to get into a reasonable and affordable home,” Habitat for Humanity board member Mike Kauffman said.
Kauffman explained that the homes Habitat builds are solidly constructed and make use of energy efficient installations, so they are both safe and highly affordable to families. He said he was fully confident that the homes would pass any quality test, as well as the test of time.
“These families that are lucky enough to get one of the homes, have a house they can be proud of,” Kauffman said. “And most importantly, it can be passed down for generations.”
Kauffman said the homes are generously built with often-donated materials and are assembled by many professionals who volunteer their time and efforts. But he said Habitat for Humanity welcomes all would-be workers, regardless of skill or certification.
We need people digging dirt. We need people cleaning paintbrushes and carrying lumber,” Kauffman said. “You don’t have to be skilled or knowledgeable, all you have to have is the ability and the willingness to work.”
Jennifer Irwin, who attended the fundraiser with her husband, said they both were relative newcomers to Habitat for Humanity, but were impressed with the strong community support for the fundraiser.
Irwin said that in order for any community to be successful, all neighbors must be willing to extend a hand to the less fortunate. She said if that is done, it creates a cycle of giving.
“When they get on their feet, they’ll turn around and help,” Irwin said. “It’s a continuum.”