McPherson Alternative Christmas Gift Market to be held virtually

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Press release provided

“I’ll be home for Christmas,” go the popular carol lyrics, and for one McPherson family, home this Christmas will be a new Habitat for Humanity home.

Julia Harper, her daughter and granddaughter will be moving into their new home, the 38th built by the McPherson Area Habitat for Humanity, at 415 E. Hill St.

Habitat is one of the twelve organizations featured in this year’s Alternative Christmas Gift Market. The market, virtual again this year, provides a simple way to make a meaningful gift that meets human needs both in this community and around the world.

Donors may select any or all of the organizations, make donations of any size, and with one click (or check, if preferred), give the gift of hope.  The market opens on Nov. 21 and continues through Giving Tuesday, Nov. 30.

The McPherson Area Habitat for Humanity has participated in the market since it began in 2005.  

This year was the fifth time Ms. Harper had applied for a Habitat home.  From a life of hardships, broken relationships, and poverty, she has, in her words, “picked up from a ‘not so perfect’ lifestyle and made it better.” With her finances in order and a stable job as Deputy Register of Deeds, she now will have a home to call her own.

“Working with all the volunteers while building my home has been a joy!” Harper said.  “I will have now a place for all my children and grandchildren to gather.”

The Habitat story in McPherson begins with a lecture at McPherson College by Habitat founder Millard Fuller in 1989.  Inspired students launched a college chapter that partnered with the city, eventually leading to the formation of the current organization. The first McPherson home was completed in 1993.

Habitat chooses families based on their needs, their willingness to become partners in the program and their ability to repay the loan.

Homes are sold at no profit and financed with a 30-year, no-interest loan.  Construction is done mostly by local volunteers, with supervision by licensed professionals. Home ownership costs are around $600/month.

Habitat is a hand-up program, not a handout.  Once selected, each family must invest 200-300 hours of sweat equity, complete a homeownership class and resolve old credit issues.

“We are all about helping provide simple, decent, affordable housing for low-income families in McPherson,” said Fred Bohnenblust, board treasurer.  “These are homeowners who will pay taxes and insurance and be like us. This gives them a second chance.” 

As a past recipient put it, “Task by task, board by board, nail by nail, the extraordinary men, women and children of Habitat have helped my family build something much more valuable than a house…together we have built hope.”

Other organizations participating in this year’s market include: the Cedars Resident Assistance Fund, Haiti Medical Project, Heifer International, Live Free Ministries, McPherson Area Habitat for Humanity, McPherson County Food Bank, McPherson Housing Coalition, McPherson Set Free, Mobility Worldwide Kansas—Moundridge/PET, Mt. Hope Sanctuary, New Community Project, and Steps to End Poverty of McPherson County.

Information about these organizations is featured on the Alternative Christmas Gift Market – McPherson KS Facebook page.

One hundred percent of each donation goes to the charity.  All expenses, including credit card costs, are paid by the McPherson Church of the Brethren as part of its outreach.

“This year we have created a QR code, which will make it even easier to link to the donation site,“ said Julia Largent, one of the market organizers.  Persons who prefer to give by check may contact the McPherson Church of the Brethren office at 620-245-4835. 

For questions, contact Susan Taylor susandtaylor@yahoo.com or 620-245-4835.

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