OKLAHOMA CITY (June 14, 2014) — Karissa Smith never imagined that she would be the beneficiary of a new home when her church, Shartel Church of God, decided to enter the Lose to Serve contest. Today, volunteers from Central Oklahoma Habitat for Humanity, and all participating organizations, will begin framing the home that Smith will share with her daughter, Jessica.

“When our church began discussing entering the Lose to Serve contest, I thought it would be a great opportunity for my daughter,” Smith said. “I never thought we’d be the family chosen to purchase this home, as I’m sure there are families in our church that may be worse off. ”

Smith’s home build is a partnership between Central Oklahoma Habitat for Humanity, Lose to Serve and 4Corners homes. Lose to Serve is a nonprofit organization that hosts weight-loss challenges for Christian churches in the Oklahoma City metro area. This year 30 churches participated, with an average weight loss of 7.76 pounds per person and an incredible 80 percent participation.

“Shartel Church of God won the competition and was able to select a deserving family to purchase the home being built in cooperation with 4Corners Homes and Central Oklahoma Habitat for Humanity,” said Cody Bobay, director of Lose to Serve.

Ann Felton, president and CEO of Central Oklahoma Habitat is excited to partner with Lose to Serve and 4Corners to build the Smith home.

“Without our partners, families like the Smiths wouldn’t be able to purchase a home from us,” Felton said. “We’re so grateful for all of the companies that are coming together on this special build.”

The home Smith was renting was damaged during last year’s tornadoes, with windows blown out and roof damage.

“We were so lucky that day. Our home didn’t take a direct hit, but our landlord has never fixed the damage to the roof and just recently fixed the windows damaged last year,” Smith said.

According to Smith, the tornadoes left more emotional damage or her family than physical. Her daughter experienced three tornadoes within three weeks last year and that has left a few scars not visible to the eye.

“We were by no means affected by the tornadoes like some other families, but the trauma of experiencing the tornadoes has left its own scar,” Smith said. “A house for us at this point is a reassurance that though we’ve been through these things, everything is still going to be okay. Past things in our lives don’t define us.”

Smiths home will be built on an accelerated schedule, known as a blitz build. The house should be ready for move in at the end of July.

“There are so many wonderful organizations helping build this home, but if we didn’t go to this amazing church none of this would have happened,” Smith said. “Throughout these storms, I have found that I have a deeper understanding of God’s grace, love and mercy for myself, my daughter and all of his children.”

To check for eligibility, call Central Oklahoma Habitat at (405) 232-4828 or apply online at www.staging.cohfh.org.


About Central Oklahoma Habitat for Humanity

Central Oklahoma Habitat for Humanity is a nonprofit, ecumenical Christian housing ministry that provides affordable housing for hardworking, limited-income families. The organization has built more than 700 new homes in central Oklahoma since 1990, all sold at cost and with no interest charged. For more information, visit www.staging.cohfh.org or call (405) 232-4828.