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Putting heart in “The heartbeat of Habitat” volunteer blitz event kicks off on Valentine’s Day

Published:   |   Updated: February 6, 2014 at 12:25 PM

Over 300 volunteers will turn out to build a Habitat for Humanity home in only seven days.
 
CLEARWATER — Habitat for Humanity of Pinellas County will spotlight its community volunteer program, which it considers to be “the heartbeat of Habitat,” when over 300 volunteers turn out to help the nonprofit build a home for a low income family in just seven days during its annual Blitz Build event, next Friday through Sunday (Feb. 14-16) and again Feb. 19 – 22 in Clearwater.
 
This year’s event, presented by HSN Cares, the philanthropic arm of HSN, will take place at two build sites in Habitat’s Stevens Creek subdivision at 1884 N. Betty Lane in Clearwater. The featured Blitz Build home, sponsored by Publix Super Markets Charities, is being built for the Dixon family.
 
A second home, which is being partially built during the event for the Hubbard-Lapos family, is sponsored by Lokey Automotive Group.
 
Blitz Build will start at 7 a.m. Feb. 14 and will conclude with the dedication of the Dixon family home on Sunday, Feb. 23, at 1 p.m. As many as 30 to 80 volunteers will help Habitat Pinellas transform two concrete slabs and block walls into homes each day.
 
“Our Blitz Build event was conceived to celebrate Habitat for Humanity’s most treasured asset, our community volunteers,” said Ron Spoor, interim CEO of Habitat for Humanity of Pinellas County. “Last year alone, nearly 30,000 volunteer hours were logged on our build sites, involving thousands of volunteers who helped us build and rehab 29 homes.”
 
During the seven-day build period, volunteers will work one of two shifts daily:  7 a.m. – noon and noon to 6 p.m.  In addition to fully completing the featured Blitz Build home during the seven-day period, volunteers will also help Habitat Pinellas build about 75 percent of the Hubbard-Lapos home. Due to medical circumstances, that home’s family members cannot participate in the Blitz Build, so a portion of the work on that home will be saved for the family to help complete later in the spring in compliance with the requirements of Habitat for Humanity’s program.
 
This marks the eighth Habitat Pinellas home that Publix Super Markets Charities has sponsored, and the sixth home that Lokey Automotive Group and Lokey Charities have sponsored. This year’s presenting sponsor, HSN Cares, has also sponsored three Habitat Pinellas homes in as many years and will be sponsoring a fourth later this spring. 
 
In addition to a team of 11 service men and women from the U.S. Coast Guard,  several corporate volunteer teams will participate throughout the seven-day event including:  CarMax, Ed White Hospital, Franklin Templeton, HSN, Lokey Automotive Group, Publix Super Markets and Tampa Bay Times Forum. Other volunteer groups participating include:  Anona United Methodist Church, St. Mark’s Lutheran Church and Cottage School.
 
Because the event is a fundraiser with all proceeds benefitting Habitat Pinellas, volunteers pay a $25 participation fee. 
 
Following the Feb. 23 home dedication ceremony, a group picnic will follow for all volunteers and the new homeowner families.
 
Volunteers can register on the Habitat Pinellas website at www.habitatpinellas.org.
 
The Blitz Build construction sites are located in Stevens Creek, a proposed 51-unit subdivision being constructed by Habitat Pinellas on the former Homer Villas public housing site. Stevens Creek is located at 1884 North Betty Lane at the southwest corner of Sunset Point Road and North Betty Lane in Clearwater.

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