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Habitat for Humanity dedicates

new house in Brundidge

By JAINE TREADWELL

Features Editor

March 20, 2000 9 PM

Gil and Joann Sanders and their three daughters have always had a "home." Today, they have a house.

Thanks to the efforts of Troy-Pike Habitat for Humanity, the Sanders family slept in their own house last night – a night they had thought would only be a dream.

But, Sunday afternoon, the Sanders stood at the threshold of their new house and expressed appreciation to God for his hand in making their dream come true and to all of those who where the helping hands of Troy-Pike Habitat for Humanity.

Troy-Pike Habitat for Humanity dedicated its third home which is located on Caldwell Street in Brundidge and many of those who worked on the project were there to share the happy occasion with the Sanders family.

Five years ago, Gil and Joanne Sanders thought this day would never come.

When Joann Sanders had a stroke, she was out of work for a year. Hospital bills and others began to pile up and there was no way to pay them.

"We just kept getting farther and farther behind and didn’t see any way we could get ahead," Mrs. Sanders said. "We just didn’t know what to do or how to do."

A stroke of bad luck also hit the Sanders family.

"We were living in a big, old house but the furnace suddenly went out," Mrs. Sanders said. "There were a lot of other things wrong with the house that needed to be fixed real soon and our landlord said the house just wasn’t worth putting money into."

The Sanders family had to find somewhere else to live.

"We moved out near Needmore in a one-bedroom trailer with a little addition on it," Mrs. Sanders said. "It seemed like any hopes we had of owning a house were gone."

It’s just human nature to want a place of your own, Mrs. Sanders said, and even though they didn’t have much hope, they still dreamed.

Then, they heard about the Habitat for Humanity program which offers hope for people who are hard working, dependable and deserving but, for some reason, have gotten down and are having a difficult time getting back on their feet.

"All we wanted was a chance," Sanders said. "We both work and we just wanted a chance to buy a house – just a chance."

Families are selected for Habitat based on their level of need, their willingness to become partners in the program and their ability to repay the no-interest loan.

The Sanders family was selected by Troy-Pike Habitat for Humanity for ownership of their third home which was to be built in Brundidge.

"It was a God-send for us," Mrs. Sanders said. "I never thought we would have a house of our own. It was just a dream come true. We know we are really blessed to have this opportunity and we thank God because we know his hand guided this and we thank the many wonderful people who worked to make this dream come true for use. We will always be grateful."

Whitey Whitman, chairman of the Habitat building committee, said each Habitat family is required to put sweat equity into the program – on their house and on another.

"Gil and Joann put in 177 hours on another house and 376 on their own," Whitman said. "And, they will be there when we are building a house for another family. That’s just the kind of family they are."

Troy-Pike Habitat for Humanity was chartered in 1994 as a nonprofit, ecumenical Christian housing ministry. Habitat for Humanity International has built more than 85,000 house around the world, providing almost a half million people with safe, decent, affordable shelter.

According to Troy-Pike Habitat for Humanity President Joel Williams, the three homes built in Pike County have cost about $40,000 each. The homes have been sold to partner families at no profit and financed with affordable, no-interest loans. In addition to a down payment and the monthly mortgage payments, Habitat homeowners invest hundreds of hours of their own labor into building their Habitat house and the houses of others.

For more information about Troy-Pike Habitat for Humanity call 566-8484.