Despite the COVID-19 pandemic slowing production, Hattiesburg’s Habitat for Humanity is looking to get back on track on building houses by achieving financial success from its annual golf tournament.
The nonprofit organization has fortunately not felt significant economic hardships due to its partner families. However, the organization has not been able to raise funds needed for its planned projects. In March, the organization’s annual golf tournament was canceled due the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
“The downside is us not being able to raise money or be in the streets with fundraising campaigns,” Resource Development Manager and Communication Director Akwete Muhammad said. “Having to cancel the golf tournament in March was the at the height of everything crashing down.”
The organization luckily rescheduled for July 20 at the Hattiesburg Country Club. But fundraising has still been difficult and is desperately needed for the construction of the planned projects.
In total, Hattiesburg’s Habitat for Humanity has built a total of 71 houses since 1990 and currently has two more planned.
Those planned homes have been stalled due to a lack of funds that is normally accumulated from the golf tournament. The organization has yet to break ground on its first project this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We were planning to break ground in March after the golf tournament because that money usually allows us to play for the concrete,” Muhammad said. “We have the land cleared off, but we should at least already had the foundation, the concrete slab, poured along with the framing done by now, and so it is starting to grow back up now with the rain. It costs thousands of dollars to keep that cleared off.”
On average, Habitat for Humanity spends $81,000 toward the construction supplies of a new home.
The golf tournament will be its only fundraiser for this year as the organization had its two other fundraisers canceled, which were a mud run and softball tournament. The two fundraisers could have raised as much as $22,000.
The golf tournament’s success has become imperative for Habitat for Humanity since the organization has tried not to ask for donations due to the economic hardships caused by the pandemic.
“A lot of our local businesses and restaurants have been hit hard by this pandemic,” Muhammad said. “We don’t feel right asking for money from mom and pop places who are trying to keep the doors open to take care of their families. We pretty much shut down the fundraising arm of Habitat until we see which way this pandemic is going to go.
“Habitat for Humanity has been suffering on the fundraising side. We have been doing some unique campaigns online, but you can only do that for so long because people want to get out. The beautiful thing about the golf tournament is nobody has asked for their money back. They know it is going towards a good cause.”
The golf tournament, which will follow all the required health guidelines, currently has 15 teams signed up but is hoping to have between 20-25 team signed up. To sign up, call (601) 582-4663.