Volunteers help build American dream for Natchez family

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, July 9, 2003

NATCHEZ &045; For Charlene Carroll, the American dream is rising up from the ground.

Once it is finished, Carroll and her family will be the recipients of the latest house being built by the local Habitat for Humanity chapter.

To put it mildly, said Carroll, &uot;we’re looking forward to it.&uot;

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And if past work is any indication, the house should be complete in a matter of weeks.

The shell of the house has already been erected.

Teams of volunteers have already begun installing sheetrock along the walls and ceiling and siding along the outside of the structure, said Stanford &uot;Buddy&uot; Rayne, who chairs the chapter’s construction committee.

For one thing, several teams from area churches, businesses and organizations have volunteered their services to make the project happen.

&uot;We’ve had a rash of them here lately,&uot; Rayne said with a laugh.

Lately, those groups have included Jefferson Street United Methodist Church and Natchez Community Hospital, the latter of which has two members on the chapter’s board.

Although the chapter has done little publicity work to drum up volunteers, the house’s location on a busy thoroughfare has made it visible to the public, Rayne said.

The Natchez McRae’s, which also raised $21,184 in a charity sale last August to fund the project, is also bringing a team of volunteers to help next week.

Other businesses and citizens have donated materials ranging from material for cabinets to window blinds.

Carroll and her family are also required by their Habitat home ownership agreement to put in many hours of labor on the project &045; what Habitat refers to as &uot;sweat equity.&uot;

And there’s still some work to be done. That will include putting finishing touches on the windows, installing inside doors and cabinets, hooking up water and natural gas lines and paving the driveway.

But, Rayne said simply, &uot;we’re getting there.&uot;