This story was first posted on Dec. 11, 2019
Lakesia Haynes wiped tears of joy from her face as she gave thanks to a long-serving Christian ministry for her and her family’s new home.
The Orangeburg resident was excited about her new home on Kings Road during Wednesday’s dedication. She thanked the volunteers and agency partners for their hard work in giving her an “early Christmas present.”
“I really truly thank all the volunteers,” Haynes said.
The mother of five also thanked her grandmother, Etta Scott, who raised her since was three months old and always encouraged her.
“She raised me ever since I was an infant. She’d say, ‘Always keep on doing what you have to do. I promise you God does everything for a reason.’ And that was always my quote, that God does everything for a reason. She’d say, ‘We all have bad days, but I have faith you’re going to make it,’ and she was right. I made it,” Haynes said.
She also praised God for helping her along the journey to homeownership.
“Without him, I know I wouldn’t be able to make it,” she said.
Scott also praised the organization and its volunteers for helping make Haynes’ home a reality.
“I thank y’all, too, for looking out for my baby,” she said.
Edisto Habitat for Humanity began its work helping provide affordable housing options in Orangeburg County in 1991. Haynes’ home is the 87th residence the Christian housing ministry has dedicated since its inception.
To be eligible for a Habitat home, families must meet certain criteria, including having good work and credit histories. A subcommittee chooses families based on level of need, willingness to become partners in the program and ability to repay a 25-year, no-interest mortgage.
Qualified families are also required to put in 350 hours of what is called "sweat equity" toward the building of their home, and they must participate in budgeting classes and attend home ownership classes on a monthly basis.
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Randy Zeigler has served with EHFH since its inception. He serves as construction coordinator.
"I coordinate everything. I've got to be here at every meeting. Every time they have a work day, I have to get everything here and everything coordinated as far as the volunteers and everything. This is the type work I do. I get thrills out of building things and giving somebody a home,” he said.
He said there is still more room for home building along Kings Road.
"This little stretch right here is probably our biggest subdivision. We still got probably six or eight more houses we can put out here,” Zeigler said.
Michael Holinko presented Haynes with a lamp made from parts which were taken from her home during the building process. He and other volunteers also worked to landscape around the home.
“I hope this brings a warm and loving light to your home," Holinko said.
EHFH Executive Director Jessica Burgoyne said Haynes’ home was constructed with the help of grant funding from Wells Fargo, the Lower Savannah Council of Governments and the United Way, along with generous donations from businesses, churches and private donors.
“I couldn’t do without them,” Burgoyne said.
She said EHFH plans to continue its mission for years to come with the help of the community.
"This is the 87th home and our fourth one of this year. We're so truly blessed to be able to provide affordable homeownership options to people of the community,” Burgoyne said.
She added, “There are many people that participated in this home. We had a lot of really great volunteer groups that came out and a lot of really great people that support Habitat. Anything anyone contributes ... really does help us, and we just want to thank our volunteers.”
LSCOG Housing Coordinator Yolonda Buchanan presented Haynes with a Bible and the keys to her home.
“I hope this is a wonderful blessing to you and your family,” Buchanan said.
For more information on EHFH, how to become a donor, volunteer or homeowner, call 803-536-2300 or visit www.edistohabitatforhumanity.org.