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CCU spearheads building 1,001 homes for Haiti

February 16, 2010

On Feb. 26, Coastal Carolina University will kick off Shelter Haiti, a communitywide initiative to build and ship 1,001 modular homes to aid the people of Haiti. Students and student organizations will work in shifts on constructing sections of prefabricated houses from 11 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 26 on CCUs Prince Lawn. The sections will be shipped to Haiti for assembly. A fully-built home will be on display.

The event is designed to invite community participation in a project that will provide shelter for thousands of suffering Haitians. Individuals as well as members of area churches, civic organizations and businesses are urged to participate. Organizers of the program seek monetary donations as well as volunteer labor to build the 12 by 8 foot homes.

Shelter is one of the most urgent needs of the Haitian people in the aftermath of this terrible tragedy, says CCU President David A. DeCenzo. We encourage everyone in the Grand Strand community to contribute to this project. It will save lives.

A modular home can be built and shipped to the disaster-stricken country for $500 per home. The custom-designed houses accommodate up to eight people. Once the sections are constructed, they will be stacked, banded and shipped to Haiti, where they can be assembled on site in two hours. Terri DeCenzo, wife of President David DeCenzo, and a group of students plan to travel to Haiti this summer to work on the final assembly of some of the houses.

There are so many people without a mom, a dad, a wife, without anyone and anything, said Pierre Valdema, a Coastal Carolina University student from Port-au-Prince. So many sleeping outside and with sheets turned into tents. So many broken dreams and so many houses destroyed. Valdema, whose parents have long been involved in relief and charity work in their native country, was recently awarded a special scholarship to finish his studies at CCU.

We cannot bring the lives back, but these small houses, show our love and support, said Pierres sister Nathalie, also a CCU student. Together, we can reach out to give them a chance to start a better future, a chance to stay warm at night.

In addition to home construction, CCU students will host a Rally for Relief from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. that will feature entertainment by the Universitys steel drum band, free food, games and other activities to raise funds for Shelter Haiti.

The activities for the Rally for Relief include:

11 a.m. to noon CCU Steel Drum Band

Noon to 12.15 p.m. Music by CCU Radio

12:15 to 12:30 p.m. Gabrielle Briggs, guest speaker from Haiti

12:30 to 1p.m. Free Style Rap Battle (sponsored by Omega Psi Phi)

1 to 3 p.m. Music by CCU Radio

Shelter Haiti is a large-scale aid initiative created by Christians Organized for Relief Efforts (C.O.R.E. Alliance), based in Houston, and Christ in Action, based in Manassas, Va. The project began in Houston, where volunteers pledged to build 1,000 homes.

The local arm of the effort is being led by Ed Jackson, a Myrtle Beach real estate developer. The majority of the construction will take place in a warehouse location in Myrtle Beach generously provided by The Sun News. The Waccamaw Community Foundation will be in charge of managing donations. Checks should be made payable to the Waccamaw Community Foundation for the Shelter Haiti Fund.

For more information on donations, or if you are interested in helping build homes, visit the Web site For media inquiries, contact Martha Hunn- 349-2962. Logos are available at