Women Build raises home for local family

Tracy Haun OwensFeature, South Knox

It’s the homestretch now for Deonna Evans and her three children. Since May 5, Evans, her son, Christian, and caring community members have been working on this year’s Habitat for Humanity Women Build home. The annual build takes place over six weekends, and there are three more construction days for this project: June 2, June 23 and June 30. When the residence off Sevier Avenue in South Knoxville is completed, Evans, Christian, and her two daughters will move from a tiny two-bedroom apartment into the home of their dreams.

Evans, a Knoxville native, is an overnight corrections officer at the juvenile justice facility (in fact, on the first day of the build, she headed straight from the end of her shift at 6 a.m. to the work site). She is also a crossing guard with the city of Knoxville and works part-time at Chick-fil-A. Son Christian, 16, plans to study engineering and plays percussion in a local high school band. Her daughters, Shaonna and Bria, in their early 20s, both have autism. Shaonna is communicative and able to help her mother around the house and with taking care of her sister. Locally, both are active in Miss Shining Star, a not-for-profit pageant for girls and women with disabilities. Evans expects that both young women will live with her indefinitely.

“It’s such a blessing,” Evans said of the build, and of all the people who came together to help her family. She and Christian have been actively building each weekend, and volunteers have enjoyed meeting the personable mom and hearing her story.

“It’s so exciting to see this amazing mom go through this experience she’s worked so hard for, and to also see her kids realize their lifelong dream of having their own home,” says April Timko, marketing and communications director for Knoxville’s Habitat.

Local Publix employees have been actively on site throughout the build.

Timko says about 150 volunteers participate in the build. Funds are raised by women-led teams who each commit to a fundraising goal. This year, major sponsor Publix Super Market Charities has pledged to match contributions up to $40,000. Every weekend of the build, Publix workers have been out bright and early on the building sites.

Samantha Creason is the organizer for one of the fundraising teams, SALT Tribe. SALT Tribe is a faith-based service organization that began last year when a group of nine women decided to devote themselves to empowering other women. During the week, they take their ministry to women who live at a local recovery home. Habitat’s weekend project was perfect for the group, says Creason.

SALT Tribe volunteers “…really enjoyed meeting Deonna and seeing what they’re working for,” Creason says. “To have the chance to help a woman build her life up is what it’s all about.”

Volunteer spots for construction are filled, but you can help a team meet its fundraising goal or make an individual contribution. Info: https://www.crowdrise.com/KnoxvilleHabitatWomenBuild2018.

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