Kentucky Baptist Fellowship and several dozen partner churches and organizations are preparing to host an historic 10th anniversary Extreme Build in McCreary County, referred to as a “miracle of partnerships” by those involved, where volunteers build a house for a recipient in only 10 days.
This year’s recipient is Tasha Eldridge. Tasha has two children, Lucas (8) and Gracie (3). Another son, Nicholas, passed away at age 1 due to health problems. The Eldridge family is currently living in a camper trailer and looks forward to moving into a home that is safe and their very own.
Potential homeowners are interviewed by the Kentucky Highlands Investment Corporation, who determines the candidate’s ability to maintain independence and pay a heavily subsidized, zero-interest mortgage. The Kentucky Baptist Fellowship, in turn, organizes churches to donate funds and send work teams from across the state to McCreary County on a 10-day building blitz, seeing the house through from foundation to finish.
Extreme Build is not just KBF’s signature event; it is a model of how they approach their work. KBF believes in partnerships. Extreme Build could not happen unless numerous organizations, both religious and secular, partnered together to construct this affordable-housing home.
The miracle of Extreme Build is not just that a house appears in about 10 days. Extreme Build is also miracle of partnerships. Together KBF takes the meager assets of a local family, pools them with the meager assets of numerous organizations and churches, adds the sweat of over 100 volunteers and ten days later people walk away wondering how it all happened.
According to data collected in 2010 by the U.S. Census Bureau, Kentucky is one of the poorest states in the nation with a median household income level of $40,089 and a poverty rate of 18.4%. McCreary County is almost twice as poor as the state with a median household income of $24,691 and a poverty rate of 36.5%. Nearly half of all children in McCreary County live in poverty.
KBF churches believe in creating resources for sustainability in impoverished places. Not only can home recipients benefit from the “miracle of partnerships”, but future generations can rise out of poverty through the inherited resource of home ownership.
This initiative was started out of a partnership with the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship’s Together for Hope rural poverty initiative, which works with local communities in the 20 poorest counties in the U.S. to help bring about long-term transformation initiated and implemented by local resources with help from state and national resources.