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Raking for a better future

Habitat for Humanity holds Rake-a-Thon

<p>Student volunteers participate in the Habitat for Humanity's annual Rake-a-Thon.&nbsp;</p>

Student volunteers participate in the Habitat for Humanity's annual Rake-a-Thon. 

This Saturday, Habitat for Humanity at U.Va. held its annual Rake-a-Thon along with Habitat for Humanity of Greater Charlottesville and student-led CIOs. The event raised funds for Project 20, Habitat Charlottesville’s initiative to build twenty homes annually in Charlottesville as part of its mission to ensure affordable housing for low-income families.

University students and members of the Charlottesville community volunteer to rake residents’ lawns, and those who sign up to have their lawns raked then provide donations directly to Habitat Charlottesville for Project 20. The kick-off event Saturday morning welcomed volunteers with breakfast, as well as neighborhood assignments for the day.

Additionally, Habitat at U.Va. also held a bar fundraiser Saturday night at The Biltmore to raise additional funds for Project 20.

Garrett Trent, the Habitat Charlottesville volunteer manager and University alumnus, explained the integral role of student participation in the organization’s mission to combat the affordable housing crisis in Charlottesville.

“Not only do volunteers help raise thousands of dollars in donations but they also raise awareness with families throughout Charlottesville who receive a ‘neighbor packet’ when they get their lawn raked,” Trent said. “This is a great event to engage new volunteers for Habitat. We hope volunteers will check out the Habitat Store or come volunteer on a build site after participating in the Rake-a-Thon.”

Fourth-year College student Chadia King, a volunteer from the CIO United Sisters, described both her first time participating and her greater passion for Habitat for Humanity.

“It was fun just being surrounded by so many families that are working for a deeper cause,” King said. “I have been volunteering with Habitat for quite some time now by building homes for the partner families. I love everything about Habitat and what they do for the community. Habitat is such a meaningful organization to me and I am so blessed to be a part of their work.”

Trent said his favorite aspects of the annual event are its growing impact and ability to ensure volunteerism is more encompassing of the larger Charlottesville community.

“I love how this event is built to be able to grow every year. I also love how it's inclusive for people of all ages,” Trent said.