Todd Steinberg, Western Regional Manager for Topflight, presented
Habitat President Cince Bowns with two checks totaling $3,000.
Bowns commented that the local Habitat organization was very
grateful for the support of the local grain elevator as she
delivered an appreciative hug to Steinberg.
Steinberg explained that each year Topflight Corporate chooses to
donate to worthy not-for-profits in the areas where they have
businesses. In Logan County, Habitat was chosen because of the work
it does to promote a better lifestyle for those in need. Steinberg
said that at Kruger Elevator, north of Lincoln, he knows that there
are farmers who come in and talk about giving their time to building
projects because the homes built by Habitat improve the lives of
Steinberg also explained that two checks were being presented, one
from Topflight and another of an equal amount from the company’s
financial partner CoBank. He said that Topflight determines how much
it will give, and CoBank matches the donation dollar for dollar.
Included in the check presentation was a letter signed by Topflight
CEO Scott Docherty. The letter stated: “Topflight Grain and Cobank
are proud to support such a worthy cause and organization like
Habitat for Humanity. The members and employees of Topflight Grain
Coop believe in supporting charities that improve the communities we
work and live in. The co-operative system is alive and well, and
this directly aligns with the co-operative values and principles.”
Bowns said that Habitat does indeed make an impact on life for
families, allowing them the opportunity to own a home that they can
be proud of, and more importantly where they can feel safe and
secure for themselves and their children.
Bowns said that donations from organizations such as Top Flight are
vitally important because the Habitat program is not supported by
state or federal grants or even tax dollars. Each penny collected by
Habitat goes into building homes for families.
Bowns said she has been a member of the Habitat Board for a long
time and has worked to correct the misconception that Habitat is
“taxpayer dollars.” She said that even so, she still hears comments
about this. She wants people to understand that no one who serves
Habitat is paid a wage, everyone volunteers including the warehouse
manager, who was on hand Wednesday, K.K. Firki, and every dollar
donated is invested into a home, not a paycheck.
She commented that the donations the habitat receives have kept the
program going for the last 25 years, and has enabled the local
organization to build 21 homes for families in Logan County.
Leonard Krusemark, another board member was present for the
presentation. He commented that donations often spur more donations.
He said it is a trend that the organization is grateful for, and
that it often happens that word will get out that a nice donation
has been made, and others will add to the donation.
that was the case once when Habitat was picking up items from the
former Mitchell Newhouse Lumber yard. A donation had been made
enabling the organization to buy building supplies. While picking up
those supplies, the Newhouse owners added to the donation a supply
of windows for a new home. Bowns recalled that was a very special
day because that donation enabled the Habitat to complete a home for
a deserving family.
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Krusemark also commented that the homes built by Habitat are nice homes, that
improve the neighborhood where they are located, and help to increase property
values. Those increased values generate property tax dollars that benefit the
Bowns added to this, saying another common misconception is that the home is
“given” to a recipient family. That is not the case. Applicants are assigned a
mentor who works with them to make sure they are prepared for the financial
responsibility of home ownership, including a 20-year mortgage. These home
recipients also give hours of their time to the Habitat cause, helping build a
house for another family, working on their own home, helping with fundraisers,
and volunteering to help in the Habitat Warehouse.
Board member Tonita Reifsteck also talked about the Habitat “Buy a Stud,”
fundraiser. She said that anyone who wishes could purchase a wall stud for a new
home, and can sign and date the stud. She said when this happens, the autograph
and any personal message are photographed, and the picture is given to the
recipient family for their scrapbook. Reifsteck said, and Bowns agreed that the
'Buy a Stud' is gratifying to the donors, but also very much a special thing for
the home recipients.
In addition to the Buy a Stud Fundraiser, the Habitat partners with the Logan
County Joint Solid Waste Agency in conducting monthly electronic recycling
collections. Items are brought to the warehouse the second Saturday of each
month. Volunteers help unload donations and re-load them onto the recycling
truck. The Habitat organization then receives the dollars earned from the
recycling. It is a win-win situation for the organization as well as Logan
County residents who can safely dispose of their electronics, knowing that their
used and broken items will generate dollars for a new home down the road.
And finally, there is the warehouse itself that is a constant fundraiser for the
organization. Bowns explained that the Lincoln warehouse is not like those you
see in larger towns, where excess items are sold off. Everything in the
warehouse for sale has been donated to the Habitat for that purpose. There is a
wide variety of items for sale, anything from sofas and other furniture items to
light fixtures, ceiling fans, electrical wiring supplies, working electronics,
and much more.
As the morning came to an end, Bowns commented that home build number 21 is
about 75 percent complete. That home, located on South Kickapoo Street in
Lincoln is the first build where Habitat is partnering with the Lincolnland
Technical Education Center, Building and Trades Class.
She concluded saying the $3,000 donated by Topflight and Cobank will go into
building home number 22.
The Logan County Habitat accepts donations in a variety of ways. Work days on
home builds are open to anyone who can give of their time.
The organization also accepts lot donations, homes to rehab, and, of course,
cash donations. Cash donations can be mailed to Habitat for Humanity, P.O. Box
714, Lincoln, IL 62656.