Habitat photo

Pictured is the Aug. 26 check presentation at the new Habitat home build located at 612 Wabash Ave. From left are Melissa McDaniel, Coles County Habitat for Humanity executive director; Tom Dickerson, First Christian Church (FCC); Pastor Steve Hayes, FCC; Tom Bucher, Habitat President; Destiny, Trinity and Aisha Crowe, Habitat partner family.

MATTOON -- First Christian Church of Mattoon has always been a mission-driven church, supporting several of their own missions as well as local non-profit based missions in Coles County.

When First Christian Church told Habitat for Humanity that they wanted to get involved and help support their newest home build at 612 Wabash Ave., Habitat officials had no idea just how much the church would provide. First Christian Church is known for their pork rib fundraisers, but they went above and beyond for Habitat, according to a press release.

Over five days, dozens of church members and Habitat volunteers came together to prepare and sell over 1,000 racks of ribs. In fact, the fundraiser sold out. Tom Dickerson, member of First Christian Church, was there every day for 14 hours each day for the entire fundraiser.

Melissa McDaniel, executive director of Coles County Habitat, said, "Tom's commitment and dedication to making this fundraiser a success is incredible. We are so grateful to him and the church for their support and partnership."

The church contributed 100 percent of the profits to Habitat, amounting to over $6,000. This contribution is the largest Habitat has seen in quite some time from one church. The donation was used to purchase the majority of the lumber needed for Habitat's newest build.

But the church didn't stop there; they sent out dozens of volunteers to help build the framing for the home. Butch Thompson, Habitat's site construction supervisor, told the volunteers, "This is the best crew I've worked with in my nearly 20 years with Habitat."

Church members not only came out to build, but also prepared lunch for the volunteers on one of the build days. A couple church members like Dickerson and Bud Miller have continued to help with the build, coming out every Saturday to lend a hand wherever needed.

First Christian Church plans to continue building their partnership with Habitat. They've already committed to host another rib fundraiser in summer 2018. McDaniel said, "First Christian Church is a great blessing to Habitat and together we are creating affordable housing for deserving families in Coles County."

Coles County Habitat for Humanity is an ecumenical Christian housing ministry organized in 1989. It seeks to eliminate poverty housing by building modest, safe and affordable houses for low-income families. Homes are sold to low-income families at no profit with a zero-interest mortgage provided by Coles County Habitat for Humanity.

Coles County Habitat for Humanity has been active in the community for 28 years and is the beneficiary of incredible community support. To date, the affiliate has completed 36 homes locally. Individuals or businesses wanting to assist with construction, donate their services/expertise, or make a financial contribution can contact the Habitat office at 217-348-7063, from 8 a.m. to noon, Monday through Friday. More information is available at http://www.colescountyhabitat.net

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