02/21/06 — Bank donates $10,000 to plan to build house in Mount Olive

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Bank donates $10,000 to plan to build house in Mount Olive

By Bonnie Edwards
Published in News on February 21, 2006 1:50 PM

MOUNT OLIVE -- Habitat for Humanity is ready to start building a house in Mount Olive.

The Southern Bank in Mount Olive recently gave the latest donation to the cause. The bank's $10,000 gift brought the grand total raised so far to $40,000, enough to sponsor the first of two houses planned for Mount Olive. Another $10,000 will come from Habitat of Goldsboro and Wayne County.

Southern Bank senior vice president Drew Covert said his organization is proud to be part of the project.

"We're glad we can contribute a $10,000 donation on behalf of the Southern Bank Foundation," he said. "We're excited, and we look forward to seeing both houses in the ground."

Heading up the effort to bring Habitat houses to Mount Olive are Steve Wicks and Lula Newkirk. Wicks is pastor at Mount Olive Presbyterian Church and active in the Mount Olive Area Ministerial Association. She heads up the Helping Hands Mission and is with the Mount Olive Ministerial Alliance. They have co-chaired the Habitat of Mount Olive Coalition of Churches for the past year.

"Last year, we started looking for a project we could do together," Wicks said. "I've been to their meetings, and Lula comes to our meetings. This allows us to provide a good witness to our faith and help people out."

He said the coalition is very thankful for Southern Bank's participation in the project. Mt. Olive Pickle Co. also contributed $10,000 to the project.

"Our corporate citizens are participating, and I'm thankful for that," he said.

Since Wicks and Ms. Newkirk started the project, 15 churches have become involved in the effort. The churches have raised $10,000, and the donations are still coming in, he said.

Duke Endowment matched their donation with a $10,000 grant.

The other $10,000 to make the $50,000 sponsorship comes in the form of another match from Habitat.

Wicks said about the time he and Ms. Newkirk were discussing how they were going to do a joint project, Habitat director Beth Parrish came to talk to them about helping sponsor a house in Mount Olive.

Habitat is still looking for a family to receive the house, but Ms. Parrish said they have enough money to get started now. She said it will take about six months to build the first house. She said volunteers average about eight to 15 in number, and they come out each Saturday.

"That is if there's no 30-member squad like the base sends some times," she said. "And the Caravaners send large groups to build houses."

Habitat has picked out a portion of land on Main Street for the two houses, and negotiations with the owner are under way.

Habitat volunteers hope to start on the first house in mid-March.

"We have 55 college students who have committed to help, and I've got to find something for them to do," she said. "They're giving up their spring break to build."