04/12/06 — Mount Olive gets first of two Habitat for Humanity houses

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Mount Olive gets first of two Habitat for Humanity houses

By Bonnie Edwards
Published in News on April 12, 2006 1:50 PM

MOUNT OLIVE -- Habitat for Humanity held its first groundbreaking ceremony in Mount Olive Tuesday morning at the future home of Vernell Wolfe and her daughters, Shauntai, 13, and Tamieka, 16.

"I feel fortunate and blessed to have this opportunity," Ms. Wolfe said as she stood next to a big sign at the future site of her new home on East Main Street near downtown Mount Olive. Golden shovels rested against the sign.

She said she has been waiting a long time to own her home. She has always rented, she said, and added she is looking forward to grabbing a hammer and some nails to assist with the construction.

Ms. Wolfe said Shauntai and Tamieka will be helping build the house, too.

"I've got a lot of friends and family members who will help us work toward our 400 hours," she said. New owners of Habitat houses are required to provide the "sweat equity" as part of their contribution to the project.

During the ceremony Habitat Director Beth Parrish thanked the foundation sponsors, those who gave more than $5,000 toward the effort to build two houses at the East Main Street site. They were the Mt. Olive Pickle Co., the Southern Bank Foundation, the First Baptist Church of Mount Olive, the Mount Olive Presbyterian Church and Duke Endowment. First United Methodist Church and Mount Olive First Pentecostal Holiness Church gave $2,000. Area Churches in Action, St. Mary's Catholic Church and Calypso Baptist Church each gave $1,000.

The support that has come from the community has been encouraging, Ms. Parrish said.

"We couldn't do it without the community," she said.

Work will begin on Ms. Wolfe's house in May, and the work on the second house will begin later this summer or fall.

The first work day will be May 6. Work will begin at 8 a.m. and continue until 3 p.m.

The primary day to build will be on a Saturday, but volunteers can arrange for a weekday time by calling volunteer coordinator Sherman Dilley at 658-8771.

Bill Edgerton, who founded the Wayne County affiliate, said the goal is to build six houses this year and another seven next year.

"We're just tickled to death to have Mount Olive involved in Habitat," he said.

It's been a good effort, said the Rev. Steven Wicks, the pastor at Mt. Olive Presbyterian.

"We hope this will be the first of many houses we'll build in this area," he said.