One year after dedicating its first home to a member of the community, the Fuller Center for Housing-Greater Carroll County Area is ready to move forward with another home.
Dr. Oliver McBride, President of the local Fuller Center chapter, said plans for a second home were made possible recently with more than $30,000 in donations, half coming from the Hillsville Presbyterian Church and the other half from a donor who wishes to remain anonymous.
“February is a significant month for us because a year ago we gathered at our first house and dedicated it, and we’re excited that the young woman and her children are in the house and they are enjoying the house,” said McBride. “And so (near) the anniversary of that happening, we’re here today thankful to be able to announce our attempt to begin work on a second house.”
Thanks to several contributions, McBride said the Fuller Center is ready to step out in faith and begin its second house later this spring or summer. One of the biggest came contributions came from Hillsville Presbyterian Church.
“We are grateful to them and to their church for their participation in the first house we built, but certainly this contribution has enabled us to step out again in faith to work on the beginning of a second house,” McBride said.
Kevin Campbell, Pastor of Hillsville Presbyterian, said the church hoped the $15,000 donation could be used as “the beginning seed money” for the building of a second house. The church was able to give that much, Campbell said, because of a very generous gift it received from the estate of Harriett S. Funkhouser, a long-time Carroll County resident and the daughter of Swanson Smith.
“We were very excited about doing that,” Campbell said. “We’ve been very fortunate as a church to use some of that for other missions in the community, but the largest amount of what we set aside for missions has gone to the Fuller Center for Housing.”
McBride said the second contribution of $15,000 came from an anonymous benefactor, for which the Fuller Center was very thankful. In the last few months, other individual contributions have come in, including a pledge from Dinwiddie Presbyterian Church to make a commitment of a monthly contribution. Even so, McBride said the Fuller Center for Housing will need much help in many areas from the community to make the project a reality.
“We are extremely grateful for all of these contributions that have been made. Part of the request this morning would be that there be others individuals, organizations or churches also join us as a partner to make contributions to the project,” McBride said. “Those contributions can come in lots of different ways - certainly monetary is important because we have to have that, but they can contribute through labor, any kinds of services, or by purchasing materials.”
Equally important, McBride said, will be the prayers of the people that the venture will be a successful one. Additionally, he said the Fuller Center is asking area churches and others in the community to help it identify a family for the house. Applications are needed for that, McBride said, as there is a review process to determine the ability of the person to pay for a home.
“That sometimes is a misunderstanding of folks. These homes are not given to people,” McBride said. “There is effectively a mortgage, but there is no interest. (Fuller Center founder) Millard (Fuller) would have cited Exodus 22:25 that says, ‘If you lend money to one of the people among you who is needy, do not be like a money lender, charge him no interest.’ People do need to understand that they are purchasing the house and they are investing their work into it during the time of the construction.”
Another need for the second home is a site that would offer a lot suitable to construct a home, preferably “a nice level lot that has access to water and sewer.” And finally, McBride said the Fuller Center needs volunteers willing to help in many different ways.
“One of the things we really believe is important is to involve people in the community,” McBride said. “We think the more folks in the neighborhood that we can get involved, the more opportunities we’ll have to sustain this organization over a long period of time.”
Anyone wishing to help in any way may contact the Fuller Center for Housing-Greater Carroll County Area at P.O. Box 1822, Hillsville, Va., 24343, or by calling (276) 733-2385. Application forms will also be available on the group’s website at fullercentercarrollcountyva.org.
Building trades’ students from Carroll County High School were instrumental in building the local Fuller Center chapter’s first home. McBride said the group would like to involve the students again this go around, but to also increase the involvement of people in the community as well.
“We’ve learned there are people in our community who have participated with Habitat for Humanity in the past and some of them actually have been driving to other communities to assist Mount Airy and things like that, not knowing that we had this organization locally,” McBride said. “We’re hoping this also will be an opportunity for some of those folks to identify themselves and then join us in working on this project locally.”
McBride said the Fuller Center for Housing is built on the belief that faith has to be put to work. For people to understand what faith and love is about, he said they have to see it in action.
“We come to the work we do from the background of a theology that says we ought to put our faith to work. We hope to encourage individuals and organizations and churches to become involved in helping us to approach and deal with housing in this community,” McBride said. “There are people who are in need of good and decent housing for their families and it’s important we have an organization in our community that is striving to address that need. It’s amazing what can happen when we ask contributions be blessed and we believe that lots of good things can happen.”