Who will be crowned the biggest cheese in town? That's the question Our Towns Habitat for Humanity will answer at this year's Biggest Cheese Ball.
Proceeds will benefit local Habitat for Humanity projects. Our Towns Habitat, an affiliate of Habitat for Humanity International, works to eliminate substandard housing in communities worldwide.
Here's how the Biggest Cheese fundraiser works: Each individual who signs up to participate becomes a member of the rat pack. Members of the pack commit to raising a minimum of $1,000 by the conclusion of the fundraiser.
The event kickoff is June 10 at the Galway Hooker in Kenton Place, Cornelius. After that, individuals will have a friendly competition for the next several weeks as they raise funds for Habitat. On July17, the rat pack member who has raised the most money will be crowned the biggest cheese at the Cheese Ball, also at the Galway Hooker.
Habitat for Humanity has specifically made this event all about fun and friendly competition. "The crown is made of a Wisconsin cheese head, and an interior designer is going to bedazzle it," said Tammy Cox, resource development director for Our Towns Habitat for Humanity in Cornelius. Servers will be in rat costumes, and Waterford Hall at the Galway Hooker will be decorated with a cheese theme. Volunteers are gearing up to deliver cheese trays and other cheesy goodies to rat pack members during the competition. The goal is keep them motivated and thank them for their participation. So far, 16 rat pack members are signed up.
Our Towns Habitat has partnered with more than 175 local families to build decent, affordable homes. The basic qualifications for Habitat homeowners are a need for decent housing, ability to pay for the home and a willingness to partner with Habitat. Families perform more than 400 hours of sweat equity and attend eight homeownership classes prior to purchasing their home. Their mortgage is approximately $375 per month for principal, insurance and taxes, and the prospective owners are very involved in the process.
Volunteers are also a crucial part of the building process for Habitat homes. Volunteers donated more than 62,000 hours of their time in 2008 to Our Towns Habitat. The 2009 numbers are anticipated to be higher.
Chris Boukedes, owner of Bouk Management and one of the rat pack members, has always loved Habitat and volunteered on a build when he was in college. Now he delivers food to volunteers from his restaurant, the Galway Hooker.
Boukedes said he is looking forward to raising funds for this year's event. "Anytime I can get involved is great," said Boukedes. When asked how he will raise funds, he said he is planning a July 6 event at his club, the Comedy Zone, where proceeds from ticket sales will be donated to Habitat.