The area Habitat for Humanity organization raised more than $10,500 for its next building project during last Saturday’s second annual "Barton County’s Got Talent" dinner theater, according to Habitat cochairman Rachel Mawhirter.
"We moved the event to Grace Community Church this year to accommodate more people, and were only a few dozen seats away from being sold out," Mawhirter said. "We had over 375 people in the audience, and it seemed like everyone really enjoyed themselves."
Shelly Ramsey, who sang "How Great Thou Art" as the show’s grand finale was named grand champion in the contest, a spin-off of television’s "America’s Got Talent" series. Runner-up was Bailey Wilton, a high school freshman, who sang a country western solo. Over 20 acts competed for cash prizes and the chance to be named the "Barton County’s Got Talent Champion." This year’s judges were Joe Boley, Jan Westfall, Steve Lueth, Sally O’Conner and Heather Newsome.
Another type of competition at the event helped get audience members involved in raising money for Habitat for Humanity. Everyone in attendance was given the opportunity to participate in the Deepest Pocket Challenge. During this donation collection Jerry and Karen Steffan, owners of Kansas Fishing Tool, provided the largest lump sum donation in the amount of $500. Their donation, along with the contributions of other audience members, helped raise over $2,600 in that challenge alone.
Including the funds raised at the dinner theater, the non-profit organization has raised approximately $51,500 of the $60,000 needed to construct its next home. This means that the family selection process can now move forward and plans for constructing a home this spring will start to come together. Andy Mingenback, owner of Brentwood Builders, was also in attendance Saturday night and expressed that he would be donating all the labor and tools necessary to get the house framed in this spring.
Applications are being accepted from families who qualify as a potential partner for the next building project. Qualified applicants must show financial need, have the ability to pay for the house, and must be willing to work with the local Habitat chapter. Once the house it built, the chosen "partner family" purchases it from Habitat for Humanity as they would from any other lender, Mawhirter said. "The difference is that when those payments start coming in, our board can use those funds to help yet another family. It’s like the donations just keep on giving."
Anyone interested in applying to be a Habitat partner or in making a tax deductible donation may e-mail email@example.com or send a letter to Habitat for Humanity, 3600 Broadway, Great Bend, KS 67530.