How LOFT is helping the local community

Published 10:59 am Monday, September 19, 2016

The Oxford-Lafayette Habitat for Humanity organization builds homes for local families who might not otherwise be able to afford their own house. To keep costs down, the organization relies heavily on volunteers and donated equipment.

Thanks to a $2,363 grant from the Lafayette Oxford Foundation for Tomorrow, Habitat for Humanity will have a little less to borrow from local contractors.

Habitat will use the grant funds to purchase scaffolding to have on hand for future projects.

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“This means we won’t have to borrow scaffolding and wait until the owner is finished with it,” said Darryail Whittington with Habitat for Humanity.

Whittington said this is Habitat’s first grant from LOFT.

“We are really excited about this grant,” he said.

On Thursday, LOFT held a celebratory breakfast at the Powerhouse to honor its 2016 grant recipients. LOFT awarded $16,882 in grants to various organizations throughout the community. Along with Habitat, other recipients included the Lafayette County Retired and Senior Volunteer Program, $2,000; Camp Lake Stephens, $3,450; Oxford Middle School library, $4,484; SPORT Leadership Lafayette, $300; Yoknapatawpha Arts Council, $500; Oxford Film Festival, $1,250 and Gordon Cultural Community Center, $2,535.

The Gordon Community Center, formally Abbeville School, was the first school for black students and was built in the 1950s. After the end of segregated schools, students were bused to Oxford and the school sat empty for almost 40 years until local community members came together to restore the school and turn it into a community center.

Janice Carr with the Gordon Center said the grant will go toward bookshelves for its new library, folding tables, a new PA system, white boards, storage cabinets and school supplies.

“We have been blessed again with a grant from LOFT,” Carr said.

LOFT has donated more than $240,000 to more than 85 nonprofit organizations since it was formed in 2002. Its board of directors reviews applications from local organizations and select the recipients each year.

“Our board is comprised of local business and community leaders who work diligently to raise money for our endowment, and to carefully oversee its grant application and selection process for awarding funds to deserving nonprofit, charitable organizations across Oxford and Lafayette County,” said Jody Holland, LOFT director. “Loft’s fingerprints are on many important projects serving our community.”