By Kristen Miller

WEKU-FM, Eastern’s radio station, along with Habitat for Humanity and 84 Lumber is working together to bring two families in the area a new place to hang their hats.The three organizations are heading up a project called Building Better Communities.

The project will tie in with WEKU-FM’s spring fund drive, said WEKU’s Station Manager Roger Duvall.

Callers can call in or visit the station’s Web site to make a donation.

For every donation made, 84 Lumber of Richmond will donate one framing board for the building.

Duvall said the station’s goal for the spring fund drive is 800 contributions, which would equal 800 boards-the number of boards usually needed for building frame houses.

“It’s an awful lot of lumber they’re donating,” Duvall said.

Duvall heard about Building Better Communities when Utah State University paired up with Habitat and built houses for its community.

Duvall thought it would work in the Madison County area and met with the local chapter of Habitat for Humanity to get the project started.

84 Lumber was one provider Habitat had worked with before.

Duvall compares the project with Extreme Home Makeover.

Duvall said there is a lot that goes into building a house, but the main focus of the Building Better Communities is to focus on the frame and not necessarily what goes inside.

Two families have been selected in Waco and Berea to have frame houses built for them.

Ike Adams, director of the local Habitat chapter, said most families usually come to the organization for help by reading about Habitat or hearing about it from a friend.

“Basically, we serve low-income families who could not afford to own a home without assistance from us,” Adams said.

Adams said families that work with Habitat have to put in a minimum of 250 hours to help build their home or homes of other families. Adams calls these “sweat hours.”

Families also must take 40 hours of classes that cover maintenance, ownership responsibilities and family budgeting.

Then, Adams said, families are able to work hand in hand with several volunteers to build their home.

Duvall said this is an incentive for the community who listen to the station to call and donate some money because it benefits a good cause.

“If they support our station, 84 Lumber will kick in,” he said.

Duvall said the station holds several programs each year to help out the community and it’s important for the survival of the station to use its technology in order to reach out to the area.

Duvall said the goal was to strengthen the community through efforts such as Building Better Communities, not just the broadcasts that go out on the air.

“We have to be in touch with our community,” he said.

If this spring’s fundraiser goes well and Building Better Communities is a success, Duvall said it’s not out of the question to do the same thing another year-but plans can’t be made too soon.

“It’s something that is down the road,” he said.

Drives such as this are usually planned ahead of time, Duvall said, but not too far with the threat of budget cuts looming over the radio station.

Anyone can contribute to the station’s spring fund drive, even students, Duvall said.

The fund drive starts Friday, April 4 at 6:30 a.m. and lasts through Friday, April 11 at 4 p.m.

Those wanting to contribute to the fund drive and help with Building Better Communities can call the station toll free at 800-621-8890 or make an online contribution at the station’s Web site, www.weku.fm.