Raising the Roof in 2009

By Sandra Zunino

In days of old, the community would join together to raise a barn in one day for a neighbor. Today, through Habitat for Humanity’s 4th Annual Raise the Roof event that concept lives on.

Raise the Roof 2009 is a fundraiser held by Habitat for Humanity of Talbot & Dorchester Counties (HFHT&DC). While its primary function remains constant, to bring together volunteers and donors who have a connection to the mission as well as raise needed funds to build at least one home in the service area, the event has evolved over the years, according to Director of Development Eleanor K. Shriver Magee.

New this year is a virtual home build. The committee, in consultation with the construction staff, isolated the price of each construction need such as framing, electric, doors, siding, etc. Donors sign up to contribute toward one or more of these needs. A graphic depicting a home sectioned by puzzle pieces, marks the progress by showing what percentage of the build has been donated. “It’s sort of like the thermometer the United Way uses,” explains Eleanor. “We felt people might want to see their gift go to something they are specifically interested in.”

The highlight of the event is still the live auction. “This year we’ve put together a great auction,” she says, “consisting of several vacation packages to destinations like Nantucket and the Outer Banks, a Russian Dinner for 10 and art work by local artists.”

Getting ready for Raise the Roof requires considerable organization and planning. Eleanor oversees the volunteers in the planning phase as well as the night of the event. “We assembled committee members and started putting ideas together last September,” says Eleanor. “It’s a six-month process.”

While organizers rely heavily on word of mouth for publicity, they also mail invitations to past participants and promote the event through posters and other advertisements, extending the invitation for all community members to attend.

“The event has gotten name recognition and is held the same time every year,” says Eleanor. About 100 guest have already confirmed their attendance. The committee hopes to double that number.

Due to economic constraints, planners have been especially resourceful to minimize expenses while still providing a high quality experience so more of the proceeds can go directly toward housing construction. For instance, the event will be held at Peninsula Construction’s model home in Easton Village. Collaborating with Peninsula will save venue rental fees and simultaneously provide exposure for the builder.

“We’re grateful for their help in allowing us to lower our expenses,” says Eleanor. “We’re thankful for all the sponsors who provided funds to make the event possible.”

HFHT&DC functions under the auspices of the Affiliate Covenant set forth by Habitat for Humanity International, an inter-faith housing ministry. The mission of Habitat is to construct homes, which eliminates substandard housing in partnership with God’s people in need.

Raise the Roof 2009 will be held Friday, March 6 between 6:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. at 28280 Hemmersley Street in Easton Village, located close to Easton off St. Michaels Road. Tickets are $65 per person. For questions about this event and other Habitat endeavors, please call 410-820-6186, email info@hfhtdc.org or visit www.hfhtdc.org.

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