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Habitat for Humanity aims to help West Kelowna single mother

Life hasn't been easy for Star Mengede.

The West Kelowna single mother has had to declare bankruptcy, deal with divorce, and suffer from permanent injuries as a result of a car accident that wasn't her fault.

On top of that, Mengede struggles to keep a roof over the heads of her two special needs children.

"She's spending her income right now on affordable, accessible housing," said Jacki Wlodarczyk, resource development officer with Habitat for Humanity Kelowna.

"About 90 per cent of her income is spent just to put a roof over her kids' heads."

For these reasons, Habitat for Humanity Kelowna is looking to give Mengede a bit of a break.

Habitat is teaming with Accent Homes to build a modular home for Mengede. Creative Mobility will ensure that the home is completely wheelchair accessible.

But, according to Wlodarczyk, the home is not a handout.

"We finance a no interest mortgage that's based on what the family can afford to pay. Then, all of the mortgage payments go into a revolving fund to build the next Habitat home," said Wlodarczyk.

"It's not a handout, it's a hand up."

Habitat is looking to raise $125,000 to make it possible to have the home built for Mengede.

In order to raise funds and awareness, Habitat is hosting a family event on Saturday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at 1680 Ross Road in West Kelowna, directly across from Bylands Nursery.

"Saturday is just an event to introduce the family to the community and let the community know about our project and what they can do to support us."

The family event will also feature a bouncy castle, "monster" vehicles, a barbecue and several other activities. Several West Kelowna councillors are also expected to attend.

Habitat's travelling penny jar will also be on display at Saturday's event.

"Habitats across Canada have put out a pledge to raise 690 million pennies. Ten million pennies will build one Habitat home; our goal in Kelowna is to raise 10 million pennies."

For more information on Mengede or to donate to the cause, visit www.payitforwardkelowna.ca.

wpaterson@kelownacapnews.com

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