Feb 5, 2013 11:54 AM by Melissa Canone
LAFAYETTE, La. - Home for the Holidays is an annual project of the Acadian Home Builders Association (AHBA) and KATC-TV 3 in which AHBA builder members construct a new, high-end home, raffle it off, and donate the proceeds to local charities. In 2012, thanks to the overwhelming generosity of the people of Acadiana, the project sold an unprecedented 6,028 tickets. Due to this huge success, AHBA and KATC were able to give $200,000 to their adopted charities last night, bringing the total amount of donations to an outstanding $1,125,000 since the project's inception eight years ago.
Last night, a reception was held to distribute the proceeds from the 2012 Home for the Holidays to local Acadiana charities and educational programs. AHBA President Pam Weaver conducted the ceremony while Home for the Holidays Steering Committee members presented the checks.
One recipient of a big check was Lafayette Habitat for Humanity, which has been a long-time adopted charity of AHBA. Their mission is to make the American dream of home ownership a reality for low income families in the Acadiana area. The organization builds simple, decent, affordable houses and then lends a no profit, no interest mortgage to a selected family to help them purchase one of the newly built homes at a very low monthly payment. In the 20 years Habitat has been operating in Acadiana, they have built 89 houses for their partner families.
Upon presenting the check to Habitat for Humanity, Home for the Holidays Steering Committee Chairman Mac Gibson said, "Home builders have the privilege of supplying something essential to all, and that is shelter. Through all of these charities, we are able to fulfill this basic need for the less fortunate in our community."
A sizeable contribution was also given to Faith House of Acadiana, which serves an important role in Lafayette by providing protection and aid to abused women and their children. The shelter provides safe housing, food, clothing, health screenings, medications, counseling and legal assistance to help mistreated and neglected individuals and their kids escape a living nightmare.
"Unfortunately, we see a lot of bad come through our shelter, but we know that is not reflective of the people of Acadiana," said Billi Lacombe, Executive Director of Faith House. "Through this project, we get to see all of the good."
Another charity receiving a generous donation of much-needed funds was The Children's Shelter of Acadiana Youth, Inc. The shelter is an emergency facility for boys and girls ages 2-17 who are in need of protective custody and have been removed from their home due to abuse or neglect. They provide a temporary home and a safe, healing environment which includes an in-house educational program with certified teachers provided by the Lafayette Parish School Board.
Home for the Holidays also made a large contribution to St. Michael Center for Veterans. The center is a division of Catholic Service Centers and is an emergency and transitional housing program for up to 20 homeless veterans. They offer supportive services including substance abuse recovery, education, and employment and housing placement. St. Michael's operates in conjunction with the VA Medical Center in Alexandria, LA.
Located in Élan subdivision, the 2012 Home for the Holidays was valued at over $450,000 and was built by David Anderson of Anderson Home Builders. The raffle was held and a winner drawn during a live KATC-TV 3 broadcast on December 5th. The lucky winner, Mr. William John of Crowley, took possession of the house a couple weeks later, just in time for Christmas. At the end of last night's reception, Mr. John surprised the adopted charities by making his own generous donations to Lafayette Habitat for Humanity, Faith House, The Children's Shelter at Acadiana Youth, and St. Michael's Center for Veterans.
"Every year, we buy tickets and support the Home for the Holidays project, and we firmly believe in the good they do," said John. "We feel so lucky and blessed to have won this house. It was important to us to continue to pay it forward."
To make a project like Home for the Holidays successful, it takes numerous donors, laborers and behind the scenes volunteers. At the reception, these important individuals and companies were recognized for their generosity. Platinum sponsors Anderson Home Builders, Doug Ashy Building Materials, Élan Development/MPW Properties, MidSouth Bank, News Talk KPEL 96.5 and Service Chevrolet were all recognized for their commitment to the project and Acadiana. The committee also thanked the project's gold sponsor BECC Enterprises and silver sponsors, friends, and supporters of Home for the Holidays.
About Acadian Home Builders Association
The Acadian Home Builders Association is an organization of licensed builders and associates formed to promote professionalism and ethical business practices in providing quality housing that creates value for the homeowner and community. As a trade association for Acadiana's residential builders, AHBA provides its members with legislative lobbying, continuing education, networking opportunities, special events, and workman's compensation insurance. The Acadian Home Builders Association seeks to develop a partnership with the public sector to achieve common goals and donates hundreds of thousands of dollars annually to non-profit shelter organizations in the Acadiana region.