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This article was published 20/11/2017 (211 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Carmin, age 8, spilled a bottle of water over her Girls Are Strong sweatshirt and across the kitchen floor.
No matter. Her non-matching socks sopped up half the spill inadvertently, and a towel did the rest.
And so the new Habitat for Humanity home was christened not by a swinging bottle of champagne, but by a small accident, the way all homes are christened.
The event on Monday was Habitat for Humanity's unveiling of the first homes from its Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter Work Project this summer.
Single dad Todd Gauthier said moving into their new home in St. James is bigger than Christmas for his two daughters Carmin, and Cloe, 9.
"They're looking forward to having sleepovers, having kids over," plus the neighbourhood is surrounded by parks, he said. The girls also want a garden, something else they have been unable to do.
It's the fourth time the young family has moved from various rental units "and this will be the last time," vowed dad.
Gauthier, 38, was asked why his eyes moistened during the opening ceremony that included speeches by various delegates, and he said one reason was mention of Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter, who he worked alongside to build his home.
"Just their all-around kindness. It's just amazing they want to dedicate so much time out of their lives to help others. It's beautiful."
His girls also made thank you cards for the Carters. Gauthier has raised the girls on his own for nearly seven years. He said support from friends, family and church have given them a lot of help.
Sandy Hopkins, Habitat CEO, said Habitat homes give "pride and stability for families" as well as "new opportunities and a sense of belonging."
He added Gauthier fit perfectly its motto of "a hand up is not a handout." Gauthier is a brick mason and was a major volunteer with Habitat this summer.
The other family getting the keys to a new home on Monday was Shekure and Deka Sherefa from Kenya, and their five children. They moved to Canada in 2003 after living in a refugee camp.
Nine of this year's 21 Habitat homes are completed, with families moving in before Christmas. The remaining homes will be finished early in early 2018.
New owners must purchase homes from Habitat at fair market value, and must be able to afford payments that come to 27 per cent of their gross income. Additionally, new owners must put 500 hours of sweat equity into their home, take eight weeks of homeowner training courses, and stay in the home for 10 years.
The Gauthier family is moving into an 850-square-foot home on Lyle St., just off Portage Avenue in St. James. The 16 homes in the Habitat subdivision on Lyle range from 820 to 880 square feet, and up to five bedrooms for larger homes.
The Gauthier house came with housewarming gifts like a snow shovel, an electric lawnmower, and a box full of sporting equipment for the girls from the Deer Lodge Community Centre. When a Tim Horton's coffee maker was presented, daughter Cloe asked if it made hot chocolate.
David Wall, president of Wall Grain, presented Gauthier with the key. Wall made the largest single donation ever to a Habitat project. He wouldn't divulge the amount other than to say it was more than the cost of a single house, which cost $175,000 each to build.
Wall said contributing to Habitat has an economic multiplier effect through a community. "Every dollar contributed is ploughed back into another person's house," he said.
Some 3,000 people volunteered for the project that includes 21 homes. In addition to the 16 homes on Lyle, the rest are infill housing: one on Larsen Ave., one on Madison Ave., one on Alexander Ave., and two on Jefferson Ave.
Bill Redekop is the Free Press rambling rural reporter. His beat is a bit like the slow food movement of news gathering.