COLUMBIA — After 26 years, the house owned by James and Betty Dudley, with seven children and at least 30 grandchildren passing through, is still standing.
The home, built as a Habitat for Humanity house in 1991, provided a safe place for the Dudleys to raise their family. The program also helped James Dudley land a custodial position at Broadway Christian Church, where he's cleaned for the past 25 years.
"It's been a blessing," Betty Dudley said.
Broadway Christian Church held a garage sale Saturday, the 29th annual sale, to support the Show-Me Central chapter of Habitat for Humanity.
As of this afternoon, over $22,000 had been raised for the local chapter of Habitat for Humanity, according to Dixie Fisher.
The fundraising has helped them build 146 homes in the area since the program began*.
In the parking lot of the church Saturday, a refrigerator and a stationary bike were among the items offered for sale. Inside, shoppers looked over rows of tables covered with books, CDs, dishes and pillows.
Merchandise sold quickly, volunteers said.
The garage sale was started by Fisher's husband. Fisher is the volunteer coordinator for the event and also secretary on the Habitat for Humanity chapter's board of directors.
James Dudley met the Fishers through Habitat for Humanity, and they helped him find his job at the church. Now he and his wife attend the garage sale every year to volunteer and see what items are for sale.
"I come every year and spend money," Betty Dudley said. "I have found just about everything I needed."
This year, she was looking for items to fill a day care center for low-income families she is planning to open. Dudley said day care can be expensive, and she wants to help make it affordable for parents.
"They can go to work and afford to pay day care without having to take it all out of their pocket," she said.
Dudley said she often volunteers to help build other Habitat homes. When the couple's home was being constructed, they put in 250 hours of labor, alongside other volunteers, she said.
According to the Show-Me Central Habitat for Humanity website, anyone who obtains a Habitat for Humanity home is required to work 250-300 hours to build the home or another Habitat home. They must then be able to pay off a no-interest mortgage over a 20-year period.
In exchange for their work, the Dudley family received a safe home with a low mortgage.
"Habitat, it was great for us," Betty Dudley said.
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