EASTOVER, SC (WIS) - “Home for the holidays” is about to take on a whole new meaning for a Midlands woman and her family.
It's been a decade of dreaming big and working hard for 46-year-old Tara Pierce and her family to achieve the goal of owning a home. Now, thanks to Central Carolina Habitat for Humanity, that dream is coming true. But there’s another player in this story – and they’re entering the game to the tune of millions of dollars.
Belk’s Project Hometown initiative is funding a number of nonprofits over the next 5 years benefitting southern communities. One of those beneficiaries is Habitat for Humanity – and they had the hand in picking Tara’s family to be the recipient of a Project Hometown grant to build her home.
“Tara and her family have been on a long journey to build a home for themselves and for the family,” said Jaime Valdez, Belk’s Regional VP of Stores in Columbia and Greenville. “I know that she’s had a recent illness that’s put the pause on that. And through our partnership with Habitat, we’re able to fulfill her dream of providing a sustainable home for her and her family.”
Pierce has had a long battle with illness and the accompanying bills. Tara was diagnosed in 2006 with a disease that affects the immune system called “neurosarcoidosis.” It attacked her brain, causing seizures and eventually caused her to lose her vision. She’s now legally blind and can no longer drive or work the job she had before her illness. She depends on rides from friends and works from home as an Avon representative.
"Any thoughts that I really had of having a home or owning a home was kind of out the window,” Pierce said.
That was – until she applied for Habitat for Humanity.
"For me, it'll be peace. An accomplishment. To know that I was able to purchase a home,” she said.
After a couple years of working on her financial planning and putting in her sweat equity, she was cleared for her home build for this spring. They’ll break ground in the next couple of months and hope to move in by the early summer. And next year during the holidays?
“Oh, we’re gonna have a party!” Pierce said. “I already said it. I said next year we’re gonna has a big Christmas… we’re gonna invite everybody.”