It’s time to hang the mistletoe and string the lights.
Expectation fills the air for the young and old alike as we look forward to decorating for the season, firing up fireplaces, wrapping carefully chosen gifts and the gathering of loved ones to partake in the Christmas feast.
However, not all Topeka residents are fortunate enough to enjoy the merriment of the holidays.
The season of giving is a time the Topeka Home Builders Association — as well as other agencies and businesses in the community — takes seriously, stepping up to the plate to help those in need.
CEO Ivan Weichert recently talked about the efforts of THBA and member companies to help those who may be facing a less-than-happy holiday.
Q: We‘ve talked briefly in the past about THBA’s philanthropic efforts. Highlight, if you will, some of the things you do to help make lives a little better or more comfortable for those facing hard times.
Ivan Weichert: The two basic necessities are food and shelter. Food, for the most part, is well taken care of by many agencies in the community. Our group has a good history of helping with shelter.
Our Remodelers’ Council works with agencies who come up with special needs. We take on projects each year for Let’s Help, Cornerstone, the Topeka Housing Authority and Habitat for Humanity.
Sometimes, they have the need for extra skills or workers and we make that happen.
Then, there’s our Professional Women in Building. They work most every year with the Topeka Rescue Mission.
Sometimes, it’s not with housing. Sometimes, it may be Christmas shopping. They’ve also worked on a project for the YWCA’s Center for Safety and Empowerment.
Q: Don’t you also have fundraisers for specific purposes each year?
Weichert: During our Christmas celebration dinner, when we install new officers, we hold a silent auction with funds raised going to families in need.
Q: Do you ever answer the call for help from individuals?
Weichert: From time to time, we do get calls about someone in dire need. We try to match them up with help. It may not always be free, but at the very least, it’s at a reduced cost.
One time, we helped arrange for new windows to be installed in a home where they were needed very, very badly.
A lot of our member companies are involved in helping make lives better. Golden Rule Remodeling does work in Haiti with building issues.
Many of our builders and remodelers donate materials to (the) Habitat for Humanity ReStore.
When they go into homes to replace cabinets, for example, they’ll donate the old cabinets.
Q: Say an individual is doing their own remodeling. What kind of things would you encourage them to donate?
Weichert: Any still-usable items from DIY projects: sinks, faucets, cabinets, doors, plumbing parts or tools, even an unopened, leftover gallon of paint from a painting project.
They can either drop them off to Habitat for Humanity ReStore or call them for a pick-up, if necessary.
Habitat for Humanity also has a contribution program where you can donate money regularly to go toward their building fund.
It’s also important to note you can give in other ways.
ReStore has multiple volunteer efforts where anyone can provide some Christmas cheer throughout the year by just giving a little of their time.
Liz Montano is a freelance writer from Topeka. She can be reached at (785) 230-3907 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
TOPEKA HOME BUILDERS ASSOCIATION
Address: 1505 S.W. Fairlawn Road
Information about membership or upcoming events: Visit thba.com; email email@example.com; or call (785) 273-1260.
TOPEKA HABITAT FOR HUMANITY/RESTORE
Address: 121 N.E. Gordon St.
Information: Call (785) 783-7670 or visit topekahabitat.org/restore.