Habitat for Humanity raises miney for houses in Sri Lanka

by Cassie Lauterbach

 Students and faculty from Simpson College have become increasingly more involved with Habitat for Humanity.

Habitat for Humanity co-leaders junior Maia Nikolova and sophomore Amanda Sheller recently organized the chapter’s second Penny Wars to raise money for a house to be built in Asia.

“We did it last year to build a house in Nepal,” Sheller said. “This year, we contacted Central [College’s] chapter and decided to co-sponsor a house in Sri Lanka.”

The activity raised about $250 collectively, although Simpson contributed just $50 of the total.

“Even if it doesn’t produce that much money, Penny Wars are still good to raise awareness,” Sheller said.

This was the first time Central College participated in the Penny Wars.

“Penny Wars are kind of a common fund raiser, and we adapted it for our organization these two years,” Sheller said.

Another activity Simpson students and faculty have adopted is making a trip during spring break to help other states’ Habitat for Humanity chapters.

“This year in Arkansas, we reclaimed material from a demolished house for construction on that same lot,” said Michelle Yeoman, Hawley Academic Resource Center’s assistant to the director. “We got to rip the house down to the foundation. It was fun, but hard work.”

Other groups from New Hampshire and Illinois joined Simpson’s efforts in Arkansas as well.

Yeoman was initially involved with Simpson’s Habitat for Humanity Chapter as a student.

“I think it really brings home the conditions people live under, and personally, I get much more satisfaction from working with my hands and feet than just raising money,” Yeoman said. “While that is very important, it solidifies your contribution when you can work with people who benefit from it and can see something being built from the ground up.”

Associate Professor of Mathematics Murphy Waggoner is the president of the Warren County chapter of Habitat for Humanity. She agrees with Yeoman.

“Habitat is one of those organizations that is a win-win situation,” Waggoner said. “We don’t build houses for people, we build houses with people, and it is my hope that students will go on after college to become involved with Habitat in their own communities.”

Waggoner has been involved with this organization in many different ways for 12 years.

“I have led 14 short-term mission trips for Habitat, and was the adviser for Simpson’s chapter at one point,” Waggoner said.

According to Waggoner, the purpose of participation in Habitat for Humanity is different for everyone.

“Habitat is a Christian housing ministry [designed] to limit substandard housing worldwide,” Waggoner said. “Whatever your reason for participating, contributors will gain a better idea of why there is a housing problem in the world.”