(Posted Aug. 9, 2023)
By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor
On July 17 and July 19, volunteers from the Target distribution center in West Jefferson lent their time and talents to assemble and paint two children’s playhouses for two Madison County families. Habitat for Humanity-MidOhio coordinated the project. The purpose of the program is to provide children with a safe place to play and imagine what home means to them.
For the Playhouse Project, Habitat partners with sponsors to build the playhouses. The cost to sponsor a playhouse is $3,000. Habitat supplies all of the materials, along with a list of the receiving family’s interests to inspire design choices. Sponsors provide the volunteers and the creativity. The houses come pre-cut, primed, and ready to assemble. Assembly and painting takes place at a site of the sponsor’s choosing or at a designated Habitat site.
The Target crew chose the Beck’s Hybrids facility on Route 40 near Lafayette for their assembly site. As is the case with all Playhouse Project builds, the Target-sponsored playhouses were each finished in a day, with receiving families picking of their houses at the end of the builds.
“It’s really, really a fun outing for our sponsors,” said E.J. Thomas, president and CEO of Habitat for Humanity-MidOhio. “It’s not complicated because we provide good instructions, and we always have someone on site to help guide the volunteers.”
Habitat established the Playhouse Project in 2019. Since then, the organization has seen 190 playhouses built and donated in their service area which includes Franklin, Licking, and Madison counties. The goal this year is 70 playhouses.
The program serves as a fundraiser. All proceeds go toward Habitat’s main mission: building, rehabilitating, and repairing homes for families in need. In fiscal year 2023 (ending in June of this year), Habitat for Humanity-MidOhio served 108 families. Among them was a Madison County family for which the organization completed critical home repairs.
“The playhouses are a great way for sponsors to dip their feet into our sponsorship pool. We have a lot sponsors who start out with a playhouse project and end up sponsoring part of or a full house construction down the road,” Thomas said. “Our ability to serve is based on the amount that we’re able to raise toward our programs.”
Families interested in applying to receive a playhouse can contact Lisa Jones at firstname.lastname@example.org. For information about volunteer and sponsorship opportunities for the Playhouse Project or for Habitat’s broader mission, contact Kate Ames at email@example.com or visit www.habitatmidohio.org.
In addition to playhouse sponsors, Habitat welcomes volunteers to work behind the scenes, creating the playhouse kits and priming the pieces. Kit creation is open to volunteers who are 18 or older and have basic woodworking skills. Volunteers must be at least 12 years old to help with priming the pieces. Habitat also is looking for individuals 18 or older to serve as captains, guiding sponsor groups through the assembly and painting process.