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home : columnists : columnists July 25, 2017

Helping our neighbors

By Kathy Kreag Richardson
Indiana State Representative, District 29

This past week at the Statehouse was dedicated to giving back to our neighbors. With the first-ever Habitat for Humanity home build, Suits and Sneakers event and a Red Cross blood drive, legislators worked to promote philanthropy and express support for the welfare of others.

Habitat for Humanity of Indiana is a non-profit organization serving 75 counties, including Hamilton County. The organization sells homes with affordable, interest-free mortgages. To begin the application process, families must demonstrate their ability to pay a mortgage and manage their finances. Once a family is accepted into the program, they contribute sweat equity hours and attend homebuyer education classes.

Homeowners and construction volunteers build under trained supervision, contributing thousands of hours of labor to further reduce home building costs. Individuals, corporations, faith groups and others provide donations that make up the vital financial support needed to build these homes.

After a successful fundraising effort that topped $50,500 and a tool drive, a group of 160 volunteers worked together to construct the walls of a home on behalf of a Hoosier family. The wall panels were then transported to a home site in Indianapolis located near Eli Lilly. Once fully completed, the home will be about 1,200 sq. ft. with three bedrooms and one full bath.

To get involved with Habitat's efforts, visit www.habitat.org.

This month is also colon cancer awareness month. To help promote awareness, support those affected by cancer and remind Hoosiers of preventative measures that can be taken to reduce the risk of the disease, legislators and staff participated in Suits and Sneakers Day at the Statehouse. Sadly, it's estimated that more than 13,000 Hoosier lives will be lost to the fight against cancer in the coming year. Our loved ones, friends and neighbors are affected by this disease. Together, we can show them that they are not alone in their struggle. We also need to be mindful of ways to decrease risks and help eliminate the number of cancer cases in our state. By eating right, exercising, making healthy lifestyle choices and following cancer screening guidelines, more lives can be saved.

Another way to help save lives is by rolling up our sleeves and donating blood. Yes, needles can be frightening for some, but blood donations help millions of patients in need. Cancer patients, car accident victims and those with sickle cell disease are those who often benefit from blood donations. While an estimated 38 percent of the U.S. population is eligible to donate blood at any given time, less than 10 percent of that group actually participates.

The American Red Cross is one group that collects blood. They often visit the Statehouse to conduct blood drives. Other groups can host blood drives in their communities and there are also blood donation centers located throughout Indiana. Visit www.redcrossblood.org to learn more about blood donations.

Our community is home to many who dedicate time and resources to help their neighbors. This compassion for others makes our lives more complete. In fact, there is scientific proof that that our greatest fulfillment comes, in large part, from being connected to others and from helping them. Please consider how you can help others, for it is more blessed to give than to receive.

Kathy Kreag Richardson is a Republican State Representative from District 29, which includes Noblesville, and has served in the legislature since 1992. She also is the elections administrator for Hamilton County. You may contact her at h29@in.gov.

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