COLUMBIA — Missouri athletes and coaches will participate in the 2012 Governor's Joplin Habitat Challenge, which looks to build 35 homes for residents affected by last year's tornado.
Missouri Tigers, as well as members of the Kansas City Chiefs, Kansas City Royals, Kansas Speedway in partnership with NASCAR Unites, St. Louis Blues, St. Louis Cardinals and St. Louis Rams will go to Joplin to help build homes and bring more attention to the project, governor spokesman Scott Holste said.
"Having the high visibility of Missouri's sports organizations has really helped turn out enthusiasm for the project," Holste said. "We've had more than 2,000 people volunteer online to be part of the effort."
The 35 homes, to be built by the Joplin Area Habitat for Humanity, will be divided into seven different neighborhoods. Each neighborhood will be assigned a sponsor from among the seven Missouri athletic organizations, and so far, the Missouri Tigers are in the lead with the most volunteers, according to the challenge's website. Athletes and other members of each organization will visit their sponsored neighborhood to help build the houses alongside volunteers and professional builders.
Scott Clayton, the executive director of Joplin Area Habitat for Humanity, said he was "incredibly excited" to have athletes from across Missouri help out with the project.
"We're accepting families, and we're in the process of acquiring the properties," Clayton said. "We're looking to begin in early June."
Gov. Jay Nixon announced the first families selected to receive homes during the Mizzou Athletics Caravan's stop in Joplin on Tuesday.
Volunteers can sign up online to be a part of the Governor's Joplin Habitat Challenge.
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