ST. PETERS, Mo. – Habitat for Humanity of St. Charles County hopes to raise $25,000 for future homebuilding initiatives by taking donations for people and organizations to write words of encouragement and inspiration on the lumber used in future construction.

According to Michelle Woods, executive director of Habitat for Humanity of St. Charles County, the wooden beams used in home construction are typically signed by volunteers, donors, friends, and family members who help build that individual house. The Beams of Hope program expands that to members of the wider county community.

For a $250 donation, organizations or individuals will be given a plain 2×6 length of wood to personalize. Participants can use their artistic skills and imagination when inscribing a message on a beam. However, the beam cannot be cut, burned, carved, or physically altered in anyway in order to maintain structural integrity.

Over the last quarter-century, Habitat for Humanity of St. Charles County has built 91 affordable homes, with four others underway. Approximately 2,000 volunteers donate 14,000 hours annually toward the construction of houses.

Habitat for Humanity is known for its “hand up” approach to charity. Applicants and co-applicants selected to receive a Habitat home agree to put in “sweat equity”—a minimum of 150 hours—when building their home or other Habitat projects. Program participants receive financial coaching to learn about credit, debt, budgeting, setting goals, and saving money.