Sept. 11, 2019 — Sometimes a walk on the beach is more than just a great way to relax; it can be an opportunity to help friends and neighbors. That will undoubtedly be the case this Saturday, Sept. 14, when Florence Habitat for Humanity holds its annual Beachwalk.
The event sign-in will be at the North Jetty Parking Lot and walkers — many with family dogs — will make their way along the sand a mile or so to the finish line at Driftwood Shores, where there will be refreshments, live music and a dog costume contest.
Alice Sichting-Burns, one of the coordinators of the Beachwalk, shared her enthusiasm about this year’s event.
“The Beachwalk Committee has been working hard the last few months rounding up sponsors and getting the word out about our annual Habitat Beachwalk,” she said.
If people are still interested in participating, it’s not too late to sign up.
“People can form a team, gather sponsorships, collect money or just donate to Habitat Beachwalk 2019,” Sichting-Burns said. “If you raise at least $100, you earn a T-shirt, or you can purchase the day of the walk. Come out and join the fun and walk the beach with us.”
One of the most popular of the activities Saturday will be an assortment of large unique kites flown by Archie and Jeanie Clay of the Rogue Valley Windchasers.
The Clays are a retired couple that have participated in the Beachwalk previously, providing stunning aerial images using huge, multi-colored kites set against the sky. These will be flown near the Beachwalk’s finish line at Driftwood Shores.
According to Florence Habitat Director Janell Morgan last year, “The kite display that Archie and Jeanie Clay provide is absolutely amazing. Each year they donate their time and talents to add to our festivities. And Bob the Bubble Master, also known as Bob Edstrom, creates quite a bubble show.”
Habitat for Humanity is a global nonprofit housing organization that works in communities in all 50 states, and in more than 70 countries, to build places to live for the unhoused. It has been active in the Florence community for more than 20 years with one simple vision: to build a world where everyone has a decent place to live.
While Habitat is best known for constructing homes, it is also involved in disaster preparedness and relief efforts.
One of the lesser-known aspects of the national Habitat for Humanity website, www.habitat.org, is the “Natural Hazard Explorer,” which, when provided with an address, will produce a list of the major natural hazard risks in that specific area. Habitat has also extended its target audience to include those that are left homeless after a major disaster.
A search of the Florence area on this new app shows the possibility of earthquakes off of the coast producing tsunami-level flooding and potentially severe infrastructure failure.
In fiscal year 2017, Habitat directly helped 3.5 million people secure decent, affordable housing. In addition, 2.6 million others now have the potential to improve their housing conditions through a wide range of services.
One of the main points of the Habitat programs is the relationship between the organization and the owner-families, which is a partnership. Habitat’s homeowner families buy the houses that Habitat builds and renovates. Habitat homeowners also invest hundreds of hours of their own labor working alongside volunteers. This focus on sharing the responsibilities of home ownership means Habitat for Humanity houses are affordable to low-income families around the world.
One of other ways that Habitat for Humanity funds its work is by the selling of donated items at the group’s retail outlet known as the ReStore, located at 2016 Highway 101, between City Lights Cinemas and Grocery Outlet. Items for sale include a variety of construction and home improvement equipment, books, furniture, lighting fixtures and appliances.
The ultimate goal for local Habitat volunteers and staff is the construction of new homes. Florence Habitat for Humanity has built and sold dozens of homes locally and is in the process of completing a new house at Seventh and Kingwood streets. Much of the materials and nearly all of the labor required for the build were donated by local contractors and businesses.
For more information about Florence Habitat for Humanity or this weekend’s Beachwalk, call 541-902-9227 or visit www.florencehabitat.org.