Square Foot Ministry builds a house for Mississippi

Wed, 06/28/2006 - 9:56am
By: Carolyn Cary

Square Foot Ministries 1

It was the summer of 2002 when a group of young men decided that, while volunteering for Habitat For Humanity took them to interesting places, they saw many needs in Fayette County, where they lived. Charity, they decided,
begins at home.

Men like Doug Higgins, David Clark, Mike Hogan, and Craig Wiley, though initially affiliated with the Fayetteville First United Methodist Church, reached out to other churches. The Rev. Eddie Thomas, Edgefield Baptist Church, and church member Tourgée Simpson answered the call. Its board is now made up of representatives of many churches.

The churches worked together on the first project, demolishing a home on Church Street and putting a brand new one up in its place, in less than three months. Nearly 50 volunteers were put to task in various positions.

When obtaining its 501 C (3) tax status, it also adopted the mission statement that would explain who they are: “Square Foot Ministry is founded on the basic belief that 99% of what we do for God is accomplished by helping to provide for other people.”

The basis for the statement is found in Matthew 25:40, “I tell you the truth, whatever you did for the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.”

Subsequent projects include building several other homes and have the timing down to completing one in a week.

One of the houses was built for a man who had lost the use of both legs after he was struck by a hit-and-run driver.

Square Foot Ministries 2

In 2003 they built a home for the Fayette Samaritans, a non-profit staffed entirely by volunteers. It had been shuffling from office space to office space and needed a facility of its own.

The Fayette County Council on Domestic Violence was housed in an old building requiring repairs and enlargement. In 2003, this was accomplished through the work of Square Foot Ministries.

Wheel chair ramps have been built, and a home belonging to a widow and minor children was given a fresh coat of paint.

In 2004, the ministry realized that in the summer time, teenagers were looking for something to do. What better use of their time could be made, than to helping others? The teen group has adopted the name IMPACT. In the summer of 2004, 2005, and 2006, they have been building walkways, a home for a Fayette County school worker whose home had burned down and this summer really showed what they could do.

Over 200 teens from Brooks United Methodist, Christ Our Shepherd Lutheran, Fayetteville First United Methodist, Fayette Community, Fayette Presbyterian, First Presbyterian Peachtree City, Fayetteville Christian Church, North Fayette United Methodist, Flat Creek Baptist, Inman United Methodist, New Hope Baptist, Fayetteville First Baptist, and Harp’s Crossing Baptist Church came together.

They built the shell of a house to be taken to Pass Christian, Mississippi, and erected it in one day. The truck loaded with the walls, and five cars of adults and IMPACT youth arrived in Pass Christian this past Saturday morning and got back from there this past Sunday morning.

The house in Pass Christian was erected for Wayne and Sally James. It sits on the foundation that held their home washed away last year by hurricane Katrina.

Associate pastor of Fayetteville Methodist, the Rev. Lowell Hale, was on hand to lend his labor and to bless the house. A Catholic priest also dropped by to add his blessing.

Also on hand was Gulfport television station, WLOX, who gave the project a two and a half minute spot on its ABC station.

When asked if last Saturday was a special day for her, Sally James replied “It’s my 68th birthday today, so you know it’s special.

“But we would like more than our home back, we would like our neighborhood back.” They complimented Square Foot Ministry for beginning that reclamation.

In the youth’s spare time this summer, they also traveled to Sharpsburg to help with a 1,700 square foot addition onto a farmhouse that serves boys and men who have been living dysfunctional lives and need a place to call home. It houses children from Fayette and Coweta counties who are struggling with life controlling issues.

A closing celebration for the IMPACT youth honoring their work this summer was held at the Fayetteville First United Methodist church, and the honored guest was Millard Fuller. He is the originator of Habitat For Humanity. His talk to them made them feel very proud and had them looking forward to projects in the summer of 2007.

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