Habitat, local agencies gear up for first responders build

Courtesy Habitat for Humanity

Partnering with local agencies, Habitat for Humanity has kicked off a First Responders Build and fundraiser to provide a home for one Madison County family. 

First responders arrive on scene as soon as the cry for help is heard, but for one family, the hometown heroes are showing up before their home is even built. Partnering with Habitat for Humanity, Madison County first responders will participate to fundraise and build a home for Jeff and Kandice Baisden and their two children. The first responders build will be at 311 Edwards Avenue in Richmond.

"We want to highlight and show the community our first responders engaging in an activity that will make a difference for a (local) family and the community itself," said Jessica Ball, Habitat for Humanity funding coordinator.

Ball said the partnership with first responders was a natural fit. Her own husband is a firefighter, and Ball said she often sees him, and others, doing so much good, but there is hardly ever publicity for the good they do.

"We are looking to involve every single first responder group in Madison County," she said. So far, participants include Richmond police and fire departments, Madison County Sheriff's Office, Madison County Fire Department, AECOM with Bechtel Parsons and Heroes by Choice.

"This sounds like an awesome way to support the community," RPD Assistant Chief Rodney Richardson said. "We look forward to helping out in any way we can."

Each agency can choose the amount they are seeking to raise. Habitat is hoping to reach a goal of $30,000 for the build, then they can create a fundraiser event, such as a chili cook-off, share it and enlist the public to help them meet their mark.

Additionally, Habitat will be printing T-shirts for the fundraiser, blue for police and red for fire, that can be purchased soon, not just by first responders but also the community, via preorder on the Habitat for Humanity Clark and Madison Counties Facebook page. Participating agencies will also have signs to place in front of their departments showing off their partnership, Ball said.

"We are trying to make (the build) fun and creative," she added.

Habitat has purchased a peer-to-peer fundraising platform called Network for Good, the same fundraising software used by Facebook. Ball explained the program makes it easier for multiple groups to fundraise. They also can do it without having to handle money. Additionally, after a fundraiser event has been created, it can be shared via email, Facebook and other platforms.

Ball said the build would likely begin this winter when fundraising is complete, after which first responders and community members will come together to raise the home. This, she added, could take three to four months.

Families who obtain their home through Habitat for Humanity partner with the organization to get a 0 percent interest mortgage based on income. They must complete a homeownership readiness course and 250 hours of "sweat equity" working on the construction of their home, in the Habitat for Humanity ReStore or the administrative office.

Those seeking more information on the First Responders Build can email jessica@habitatmadisonclark.org or call 859-625-9208.

Reach Critley King at 624-6623; follow her on Twitter @critleyking.

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