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Habitat for Humanity 7 Rivers kicks off fundraising campaign as lumber prices surge

Habitat 7 Rivers Executive Director Adam Lacher says the cost of building a 1 story, 2 bedroom home on donated land has increased by $45,000 since COVID-19.

HARPSWELL, Maine — Habitat for Humanity 7 Rivers kicked off its 28th annual 'Spring Walk to Build' fundraiser on Sunday. The annual fundraising campaign, which is normally one large walk, is being split into multiple small-scale walks this year due to the pandemic. People can participate in the walks through June 30th. 

"Donating to events like this, donating online, anything that anyone can do to help makes a big big difference, especially right now," said Habitat for Humanity 7 River Executive Director Adam Lacher. 

This year, the organization is asking folks to choose a date between May 2nd and June 30th, and pick a location where they can still practice social distancing. They hope those looking to take part can walk with others in their bubble, and help collect donations. Leaders with the organization say hundreds of local walk participants and area business sponsors are hoping to raise more than $60,000 for affordable housing in that time. 

Their fundraising campaign begins as the cost of lumber skyrockets in the United States. Lacher says that the average cost of building a 1 story, 2 bedroom home on donated land has increased by roughly $45,000 since the pre-pandemic days. 

"With lumber costs being as expensive as they are, we need every dollar to meet that demand," said Lacher. 

The first walk of the campaign was hosted on Orr's Island, and organized by members of the Unitarian Universalist Church in Brunswick.

"I really believe that everyone deserves to have a decent home," said Gretchen Kamilewicz, who helped organize Sunday's walk. She's also a longtime volunteer with Habitat for Humanity. 

Kamilewicz also notes, this walk was the first time she and many of her friends and parishioners have seen each other in more than a year, after receiving the COVID-19 vaccines.

For more information on how to register, donate, or sponsor the 28th Annual Spring Walk to Build, go to www.habitat7rivers.org.