By Meg Peters
More than $20,000 was raised this weekend at Christ the Redeemer Church of Orion Township to help build a home for a family in need.
‘Raise a Glass to Raise a Roof’ was bustling with over 160 people in attendance, all who made the $20,000 dream a success.
“That’s pretty good for us,” Orion Township resident Mike Evola, who helped coordinate the event, said.
All the proceeds from the live and silent auctions, 50-50 raffle and other donations will go to Habitat for Humanity of Oakland County, the nonprofit organization in charge of constructing the two-story house. The groundbreaking is scheduled for May 26 and Evola says anyone from the Orion community can help.
“My biggest desire is to get the Lake Orion community to stand behind us as well to support Habitat, and maybe in the future we can build more houses,” he said.
Habitat for Humanity is a Christian housing ministry, and a nonprofit organization, which makes housing affordable for low to middle income families.
Christ the Redeemer has partnered with Habitat for Humanity for more than 20 years, Evola recalls.
“We started when we were going to build our new church on Waldon Rd., but the pastor Father Joe Dailey suggested we build a house for the homeless first,” Evola said. “We raised $30,000 for that home through Habitat for Humanity, and began fundraising for our own church after that.”
This is Christ the Redeemer Church’s ninth fundraiser to help build or renovate homes in Orion Township and Pontiac.
“Christ the Redeemer can’t do it all by themselves, but maybe in the future we can do more houses with other churches in the community,” he said.
Evola said the two-story house coming May 26 will “be a highly energy efficient house,” with projected energy bills of only $230 a year.
Future homeowner Melissa “Missy” Francis, 51, attended the fundraising event this past Saturday. With her five children Francis will soon be moving to the area from Oakland County after growing up in Sault Ste. Marie in the Upper Peninsula.
Her current two-bedroom living situation is not pretty.
“I need to regularly clean the bathroom ceiling with bleach, but it does not keep the mold away,” she said. “Mold also grows on all of the windows in the winter.”
She holds a bachelor’s degree from Oakland University and is now working as a legal secretary after years in an abusive marriage.
“Making enough money to live on has been a challenge. I was a stay-at-home mom for 13 years and restarting my career has been difficult. I am starting over with nothing.”
She was scared it would take up to seven years to qualify for a mortgage, but with Habitat she will eventually own the house after making monthly, no-profit mortgage payments through the Habitat Homeownership Program.
Francis is forever grateful for the chance to begin building a secure future.
“I just want peace and comfort. I want things to go well for me for a while. I certainly feel that, with the help of Habitat, my luck has changed for the better,” she said.
Her new home will be located at 3335 Hill St. off of Baldwin in Orion Township.
To learn more about Habitat for Humanity, the house floor plan, or Francis and her familiy, attend the Lake Orion Kickoff Event May 19 from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. at Christ the Redeemer, 2700 Waldon Rd., Orion Township, MI.
By Meg Peters