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Campers to stake out tents for Habitat

Tent-A-Thon returns to Tawasentha Park for 19th event

— To show solidarity for those living in poverty, a group of people will come together to live for an extended weekend in tents at Guilderland’s Tawasentha Park.

The Tent-A-Thon, which raises money for the Capital District Habitat for Humanity, is in its 19th year. The event provides a unique way to give back to the community, while getting an authentic camping experience in a safe environment.

“We ask participants to give up the comfort of their homes to demonstrate their commitment to Habitat for Humanity’s mission,” said event organizer Nancy Ware.

The event was originally started by the McKownville United Methodist congregation, members of which slept in the parking lot in the back of their church. Now the fundraiser is much larger and a number of denominations and organizations participate.

Each year, participants collect pledge from friends and family members to donate to the cause before spending the night in the park. Each tent is also sponsored by a local business or organization to raise extra money. For those who would like to participate at the last minute, they can donate to the event themselves in order to stay in a tent if the room is available.

All of the money goes into a separate fund from the overall account of the local Habitat for Humanity so event organizers can make sure the money goes directly to building homes within the area.

So far, the event had led to the building of nine homes for local residents in need.

According to Christine Hmiel, the director of development for the Capital District Habitat for Humanity, it takes about $95,000 to have enough money to build a home, but because of state grant money the costs are then lowered for house sponsors. Those participating in this year’s Tent-a-Thon would then need to raise $25,000 to sponsor a completed home.

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