Mississippi’s first ladies support women building for a cause

Jackie Kitchen, a wife and mother of three, will have a lot to be greatful for this Mother’s Day Sunday. Thanks to the Women Build Committee of Habitat for Humanity/Metro Jackson, the Kitchen family will wake up in their new home at 156 Prentiss Street – a house built by women.

And, leading the support in recognition of National Women Build Week, May 3-10, is first lady Marsha Barbour with former first ladies Elise Winter and Melanie Musgrove. Barbour said it is a wonderful experience to participate in such a project. “I think it makes everybody that participate in a Habitat build feel good about themselves, to give back,” she said. “And, this couple is so grateful. It makes you realize what life is all about.”

The Kitchens say they are indeed grateful. This is a dream come true for them. “We are so thankful that we had a chance to have an opportunity to get in this Habitat program, because it is so hard to buy a house and afford a home,” said Jackie Kitchen. “We prayed for this.” Michael Kitchen said: “We’re blessed; we’re just blessed.”

The first ladies were happy to show their support for the Kitchens and the women volunteers working on the house. “It’s always wonderful and very very exciting to me,” said Winter. “Each time women get together to build a house and to be interested enough that another woman has a decent place to live, I want to be a part of that.” Winter is a long-time Habitat board member.

Musgrove concurred with Winter’s comments. “Just like Mrs. Winter said it is always a privilege for women helping other women, because every woman wants her own home,” she said.

Developed through the partnership between Lowe’s and Habitat for Humanity, National Women Build week celebrates the compassion, dedication, talents and abilities of women from all walks of life.

The goal is to both showcase the accomplishments of Habitat’s women volunteers and invite new women volunteers to join the effort to provide decent, safe, affordable housing.

Lori Jackson Stewart is the local chairperson for Women Build.

Lowe’s donated a lot of the materials. The store even brought store managers and other employees out to help the women with the Prentiss Street project. “We are ready to support in any way; we’re ready to get to hammering right now on the siding here,” Pete Wheeler, manager of Lowe’s Flowood store.

The Kitchens, like most Habitat home recipients, are investing sweat equity in their home in that they are helping to build it. “Plus, we had to do 400 hours of community service as a part of the qualifying process,” said Jackie Kitchen.

The four bedroom, two-bath home is expected to be completed by this weekend. A dedication ceremony is scheduled for Saturday, May 10 at 10 a.m.

See page 5 for Women Build highlights.

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