Derrick Gant and his family moved into their new Mississippi Street home in January thanks to support from Habitat for Humanity, Catholic High School and Warrick Dunn’s Home for the Holidays program.
On Jan. 23, the Catholic High School community dedicated the Habitat for Humanity home built for the Gant family.
Catholic High alumnus Warrick Dunn, class of 1993, partnered with CHS and Habitat for Humanity to provide the Gant family’s down payment and home furnishings.
Catholic High School wrapped up the school-sponsored Habitat for Humanity build Oct. 5. The two-year process included raising money to fund the house followed by building the house with CHS students, faculty, staff, alumni and volunteers, a news release said.
The Catholic High School community raised $50,000 to financially support the construction.
In 2011, Catholic High School announced it would sponsor and build a Habitat for Humanity house on its own. The cost to build a Habitat house is $75,000. The Catholic High student body committed to raise $50,000 and Habitat would then pay the remaining $25,000 for the Catholic High Habitat build.
For the past 11 years, Catholic High has participated in the Habitat Youth Build, along with other area highs schools, providing labor for Habitat sponsored homes. This latest endeavor is an effort to sponsor a build entirely by the Catholic High community, providing both the labor and $50,000 of the $75,000 necessary for a Habitat home.
The Catholic High School community held dances, candy sales, tailgates, pep rallies, talent shows and restaurant nights to help fully fund the project.
As a final push, Catholic High on Nov. 4-8 celebrated Habitat for Humanity Week at school. Students and faculty were allowed to wear “relax dress” all week with a $20 donation to the fund. The students raised more than $26,000 that week.
To furnish the home, the school partnered with Dunn, former National Football League All-Pro running back and philanthropist, who began Homes for the Holidays in 1997 during his rookie season with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. HFTH was created in honor of Dunn’s late mother, Betty Smothers, a Baton Rouge police officer who was killed during an after-hours security shift.
Homes for the Holidays is designed to support single parents who are first-time homebuyers, the release said. Since 1997, the program has served 142 single parents and 388 dependents in 13 markets across the country. Dunn’s charity works toward assisting single parents on their quest to home ownership by providing recipients with a fully furnished home and stocked kitchen and pantry.
Habitat for Humanity has been active in Baton Rouge since 1989. Homes are for families with income ranging between $16,000 and $32,000 for a family of four. Homeowners are required to help with the build by putting in 100 hours of sweat equity. More than 200 Habitat homes have been built in the Baton Rouge area, the release said.