Highland Rim Habitat for Humanity is preparing for its next building project in Tullahoma.

Volunteers with the organization are cleaning up a lot on College Street which, when the project is completed, will be home for a local family.  

A nonprofit organization, Highland Rim Habitat for Humanity helps families build and improve homes in Coffee and Franklin counties. A part of Habitat for Humanity International, which has more than 2,300 affiliates worldwide, the local organization has helped people become homeowners since 1992.

To fulfill its mission of building homes for low-income families, the nonprofit partners with volunteers.

The 50-by-200-foot College Street lot Habitat for Humanity is currently cleaning up was donated by the City of Tullahoma.

The plans for the new building project are not finalized yet. The lot is big enough for two houses, according to Sherrie Cleveland, secretary of Highland Rim Habitat for Humanity.

Cleveland said she enjoys lending a hand and encouraged other locals to get involved as well. Volunteering with the organization keeps her busy and provides an opportunity to help local families, said Cleveland.  

“It fills your soul,” Cleveland said.

Volunteers with Habitat for Humanity recently demolished the old building on the property and started cleaning up the lot. 

“We were busy with other projects, and we couldn’t clean it as quickly as we should have,” Cleveland said. “It had gotten in a really bad condition and an eyesore. So we got on it right after the first of the year.”


Working together

Every Habitat of Humanity project pulls the community together to get the job done.

Preparing the lot and the building plans, the construction work itself and completing the finishing touches always takes a team of local individuals and businesses.  

To clean the lot at College Street, Christopher Equipment donated equipment, said Cleveland.

“And we have some dumpsters through Southern Central Waster Services,” Cleveland said. “We just cleaned up the big stuff.”


Volunteers needed

“Now we are needing some volunteers to come with some yard rakes, work gloves and trash bags to clean the lot up in preparation for our next build or, possibly, two builds here,” Cleveland said.

In addition to cleaning up this lot, various opportunities for helping the organization exist.

Individuals interested in volunteering may work on the actual construction of a home or provide other important services that are not related to construction. 

Habitat for Humanity also offers a chance for groups that are looking for an opportunity to give back to the community. All volunteers must be at least 16 years old.


Every child needs a home

When she’s not working on a Habitat site, Cleveland is a teacher in Franklin County. Through her interactions with her students, she has witnessed the need for support. She wants to make sure every child lives in a safe place.

When everyone has a home and feels secure, “that makes for a more stable environment, community and humanity,” she added.

“Not everybody can just find their way without people helping them,” Cleveland said. “I do it mainly for the children. I want every child to have a bed.

“We don’t provide a handout, we provide a hand-up.”

The local Habitat for Humanity branch has built more than 30 homes for families in Coffee and Franklin counties since it was founded in 1992.

For more information on the College Street project, or to learn more about volunteering, call Highland Rim Habitat for Humanity at 931-393-2383. 

Elena Cawley may be reached via email at ecawley@tullahomanews.com.