BOONE — Community members are asking for donations to support safe and affordable housing for Watauga Habitat for Humanity’s seventh annual Big Kahuna Campaign.

Community-minded “movers and shakers” are participating in a friendly, peer-to-peer competition to see who can raise the most money to support Habitat’s affordable housing program, stated Watauga Habitat. The winning team will be crowned The Big Kahuna on June 10 at Booneshine Brewing Company.

Past winners include Linda Robinson of Premier Sotheby’s, Justin Davis of Blowing Rock Town Tavern, Jenny Miller/Community Volunteer, Crystal Smith formerly of Appalachian Mountain Brewery and Ginny Walker of Mountain Times Publications. In 2020, Watauga Habitat recruited Kahuna teams, replacing individual participants. The winning team was Three Kahunas and a Guy (Jenny Miller, John Dean, Jane Meyers, and Susan Devine), raising close to $12,000. During the past six years, Habitat’s Big Kahuna Campaign has raised more than $230,000.

“I think you will all agree that now, more than ever, people need a safe place to call home. Families need affordable housing so that they can provide food on their tables, pay their medical bills and pay for their children’s education,” said Allison Jennings, director of development for Watauga Habitat for Humanity. “The cost of new home construction and affordable housing has sky-rocketed and is becoming out-of-reach for many members of our community. Watauga Habitat for Humanity invites you to support the 2021 Kahuna campaign and be a part of providing solutions to home affordability.”

This year, 17 affordable housing advocates have joined together to create four teams ensuring the 2021 Kahuna Campaign a successful year. Participating teams are App State’s Lambda Chi Alpha (Trey Knox, Caden Bondurant, Nicolas Lopina, Liam McHale and Mason Zlotnick), Wonder Women (Ella Jennings, Traci Royster, Nikki Crees and Allyson Medlin), Boone Business Exchange (Kelley Harrison, Karl Mohr, Stacey Gibson and Lori Holton) and Boone Sunrise Rotary (Gary Moss, Lane Robinson, Caroline Poteat and Hanes Boren).

“During the COVID-19 pandemic, the health and safety of our community has been a top priority,” Jennings said. “We have had to create innovative ways to continue to advance our mission including virtual fundraising events while limiting volunteer engagement. We are thankful for everything our community has done over the last year to take precautions against the spread of COVID-19. We are grateful for the hope that spring brings amid increased vaccination rates.”

Jennings said Watauga Habitat is optimistic that participants will be able to gather in person at Booneshine Brewing on June 10 for the crowning of the 2021 Big Kahuna Team.

Each Kahuna team and participant has their own donation page at https://charity.pledgeit.org/BigKahuna2021, or donations can be mailed to Watauga Habitat at P.O. Box 33DTS, Boone, NC, 28607.

“Families were already struggling before the public health crisis began,” Jennings said. “Our neighbors continue to face uncertainty as they struggle to find an affordable place to live and achieve the American Dream of homeownership. With your support, Watauga Habitat for Humanity stands ready to build back alongside these families. You can make a difference by donating to the Kahuna Campaign.”

About Watauga Habitat for Humanity

Part of a global, nonprofit housing organization, Watauga Habitat for Humanity works to eliminate barriers to a better, healthier and more financially stable life by providing homebuyers with a decent and affordable place to call home.

Homebuyers partner with Habitat, helping build their own homes alongside volunteers. Habitat offers zero interest mortgages to the homeowners. Since 1987, Watauga Habitat for Humanity has built 29 homes and supported families facing challenges.

Now in these exceedingly difficult times, along with committed community partnerships, Watauga Habitat stands ready to offer a hand-up to families needing safe and affordable homes. For more information visit www.wataugahabitat.org/home.

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