By Chris Johnson,
Director of Communications
Have you ever seen The Fuller Center for Housing’s massive, ostentatious international headquarters here in Americus? No, you haven’t because we work in a quaint, cozy former Chinese restaurant that was donated to us by someone who appreciated the grass-roots nature and modest Christian principles behind what we do.
Don’t get me wrong: I like this little place … well, except for the pink exterior paint. (I know I’m not supposed to say that during Breast Cancer Awareness Month, but I’m just not a fan of pink houses, no offense to John Cougar Mellencamp.)
We could, of course, paint this building. Or we could get a fancier, bigger building, as it does get a little cramped in here sometimes. But what’s most important is that we send as many of your donations out into the field as possible — because the real work of this ministry takes place in the field, in villages, towns and cities across the United States and more than a dozen other countries where it is desperately needed.
You’ll see that attitude reflected in our annual report for fiscal year 2013. I believe it’s why we’re growing — because people who care about putting families in decent housing want to know that their donations are used wisely and have direct impact in the field. They don’t want their hard-earned money drowning in red tape or funding a corporate bureaucracy. People here are mission-driven and frugal. That’s a pretty good combination. I’ve had a few friends call me cheap, but I’m 77 percent certain “frugal” is the word they were searching for.
Speaking of folks liking what we do, one of those folks is my friend Toolie. Well, her real name is Karen Warkentien, but I’m not sure I’ve ever heard anyone call her Karen. She garnered the nickname Toolie when she showed up at her first blitz build with an over-abundance of tools.
Toolie has sponsored houses, donated funds, volunteered her time, ridden with the Bicycle Adventure and done just about everything you could ever wish for from a supporter. Next year, Toolie turns 50. Sometimes women don’t like their ages shared, but since Toolie is having “Toolie’s 50th Birthday Blitz Build” in Americus next year to celebrate, I take it she’s not overly concerned about keeping her age a secret.
This week, we met the family who will partner with us to become homeowners in Toolie’s Birthday Blitz. Click here to learn more about Damien and Cassie and their three children.
There are only 30 volunteer slots open for Toolie’s build, so I suggest you seize the opportunity to join us early. Toolie loves to have fun and had a wonderfully biting wit, while she also has a huge heart and strong work ethic. In short, you’re gonna love being a part of this.
And if you can’t make it to Americus June 8-13 of next year for the build but admire what Toolie is doing to celebrate her 50th birthday, consider donating toward the build as I did about an hour ago. It’s a piece of cake, much like the cake we’ll have with 50 candles on it come June.