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Habitat for Humanity walk raises money to build houses

By Kellie Knight
On April 5, 2011


University of Rhode Island students raised $10,000 on Saturday at a fundraiser for Habitat for Humanity. The money will help pay for houses in Chile, Haiti and possibility in Kingston, R.I.

Students and community groups filled the quadrangle before a two-mile walk called "Pound the Pavement. Pound a Nail." The event was a part of the Building Homes Campaign, a collaboration between the URI and the South County Habitat for Humanity chapters.

The campaign organizers plan to raise a total of $80,000, Kate Porter, the development and marketing coordinator at South County Habitat for Humanity, said. This will pay for a house in Chile and a house in Haiti, costing $2,500 each, and one house in Kingston, costing $75,000. The house in Kingston is one of four planned off Old North Road, contingent on final approval by the town.

The walk took about 225 participants by the site of the planned houses. Habitat for Humanity planned games and activities before the event. Participants who raised at least $50 were eligible to enter a raffle. Sponsors donated the prizes.

Darthula Mathews, a Habitat for Humanity homeowner and the university chapter's Habitat for Humanity liaison, participated in the walk. She said she became involved with the URI chapter after she and her husband applied for a Habitat home. Mathews had to work for a certain number of hours  to receive her home. After she finished her hours she stayed involved with Habitat. She owns the 44th house built by South County Habitat.

"We put this event together in less than three months," Panhellenic Council  President Alyssa Frezza said.

The houses in Chile and Haiti are being built in response to the earthquakes last year, Porter said.

Out of the four houses in Kingston, one will be primarily by URI students and faculty. Another house will be a woman-built house, the third  will be reserved for a military veteran and an anonymous donor has already paid for the last house. Each house will cost $75,000.

The Building Homes Campaign has raised around $65,000, including the $10,000 from the walk, Courtney O'Keefe, a URI senior who works for South County Habitat for Humanity, said.

Fraternities and sororities donated $20,000 to the campaign, including $1,000 for the walk, Frezza said.

Major participants in the event were from the women's volleyball team, Panhel Association, URI S.A.V.E.S. and the URI chapter of Habitat For Humanity. Major sponsors were the Office of Greek Life, Belmont Market, Pepsi, Ronzio Pizza (URI), Gail Faris and the Center for Student Leadership.

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