BeachWalk takes to the sand, looks to the skies

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19th annual Habitat for Humanities fundraiser features custom giant kites

The 2017 Habitat for Humanity BeachWalk started out foggy and chilly but ended up breezy and beautiful on Saturday, Sept. 9.

Participants began the morning by signing in at the parking lot at the North Jetty and making their way the mile or so north to the finish line at Driftwood Shores.

Thirty or so walkers started the short hike in the gloom and cold, a few with dogs and young people in tow, but all finished in the sunshine, which added to the enjoyment of the day.

(Photos by Mark Brennan/Siuslaw News)

An air show also drew enjoyment, as custom-built kites filled the skies near Driftwood Shores.

The BeachWalk is in its 19th year and has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars during that time for the construction of housing for local low-income residents.

The walk has strong support in the community, primarily among local churches, some of which have taken on the mission of providing a safe, secure living situation for everyone on earth, according to the Habitat website.

Interim Executive Director, Linda Stent believes the goal is important and very relevant.

“The purpose of BeachWalk is to raise money for the construction of new homes for qualified families. The money is used to purchase materials needed by our building volunteers while they’re working on a new house,” Stent said. “Several of the church groups, Cross Road Assembly of God, New Life Lutheran Church, St. Andrew's Episcopal Church, St. Mary our Church of the Dune and Florence Unitarian Universalist Fellowship are big supporters.”

The funds raised over the years have helped to provide materials for 28 homes in the Florence area.

The money is also used to assist new owners in repair and upgrading of homes.

“We are finishing up remodeling a house that was returned to us by a previous family. It is being restored to a near-new condition. The Pinnock-Davis family has been putting in their sweat-equity hours as part of the qualification for this house. Hopefully, they will be able to move in by mid October,” Stent said.

Florence Habitat also has additional houses that will be refurbished to go to selected families in the near future.

Local businesses and philanthropic groups contribute to the effort to provide housing to individuals wanting to live long term in Florence, Stent said, mentioning the list was long but did include some familiar supporters.

“Local groups, such as Rotary Club of Florence, Oregon Pacific Bank, KCST Coast Radio, PeaceHealth Medical Group and Tuesday Birders, support us by putting together teams of walkers and raising funds. Several local businesses are sponsors each year,” she said. 

Other significant sponsors this year include Driftwood Shores, Lane Community College, Copeland Lumber, Grocery Outlet and Central Coast Disposal, all of whom have contributed significantly to Habitat over the years.

Habitat is always in search of volunteers of all skill levels to assist in the actual building and repair of the houses they give to their clients.

“Besides building new houses, we do Neighborhood Revitalization projects. These include roof repairs, ramps, windows and bath remodeling, among other projects. Right now, we are running behind on these projects due to a shortage of volunteers with construction skills. Anyone who is interested in working on short-term projects is encouraged to come by the Habitat office and pick up a volunteer application,” Stent said.

For more information on Habitat for Humanity, or to volunteer, contact the organization at 541-902-9227.

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