Habitat for Humanity Home move-in ready just in time for Christmas

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Jessica Anderson stands in her new kitchen where she will live with son, Kaiden. Megan Duncan

HANNIBAL, Mo. — An early Christmas came for Jessica Anderson, and her son Kaiden.

The family recently finished their move-in ready home after working with Habitat for Humanity since May.

The event was called a “Key Presentation” but Paul Ewert, chair for the Mark Twain Area Habitat for Humanity, said they didn’t need to provide Jessica and Kaiden with a key.

“Technically, we’re not going to give her a set of keys because she has been volunteering with us tirelessly throughout this whole project,” he said. “So we’re not going to present her with a set of keys because she already has them.”

Jessica and Kaiden, an eighth-grader at Hannibal Middle School, who put in more than 300 hours of work alongside volunteers on the home since even before the groundbreaking on May 12.

“We did a little bit of everything. We started out by picking up roots, smoothing out the gravel and crawl space. We picked up nails and dusted sawdust from the walls—that wasn’t our favorite,” Jessica laughed.

Jessica will also pay an affordable mortgage on the home, but the boost through Habitat for Humanity and partners made the build possible. General Mills contributed money for tools, and MFA provided a generator to operate equipment. 

The Riedel Foundation also contributed a $5,000 matching grant for more tools and equipment. 

J.M. Huber Corporation partnered the project.

The 140-year-old, family-owned, global corporation provided specialized, high-quality material, labor assistance, and tools. The global company has a philanthropy program called “Huber Helps” where they commit one percent of the company’s net income to charitable causes world-wide for housing, education, wellness and environmental protection.

“We do that because we believe that every child and every family should grow up in a place where they have a roof over their heads. That’s a safe place to live, that they have access to education and health that they need and that they can play in an environment that’s safe and clean,” Lea Volpe, vice president of community and community relations at J.M. Huber, said.

Lindell Shoemake, former Missouri State Representative and current chaplain at Hannibal Regional Hospital, presented Jessica and Kaiden with a Gideon’s Bible. 

“Every home is not complete without a bible,” he said. 

Shoemake, who lives a few houses away, looks forward to being a neighbor to Jessica and Kaiden. He said the house is on his dog-walking route and he has been watching the progress.

“I’ve watched it from the very beginning and saw Paul out there and other people working hand-on here and I know there was a lot of great volunteer help,” he said.

Jessica and Kaiden are excited to get the moving process going and they are especially happy to spend their first Christmas in the home next month.

“I am so happy for the opportunity,” Kaiden said. “I am also happy that others will be able to have the opportunity as well.”

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