On April 6, a giving guide was launched on the BigHouse Foundation website to provide donors an opportunity to give large scale donations sponsoring specific projects in the creation of the new BigHouse home and playground.
BigHouse Foundation is a nonprofit ministry that was founded in 2009 by Micah and Blake Melnick to serve foster and adoptive families in the Lee County area and getting the community involved in supporting those families.
The donations can range from a $150 Brick Campaign or a $50,000 donation towards the construction of larger project such the BigHouse Boutique. The donors who sponsor one of the projects in the giving guide will receive an opportunity to have the space named after their family.
Today, they serve families across East Alabama. They accomplish their goal of serving by hosting programs and events throughout the year to help give parents a break, provide needed resources to the families, and facilitate community among the parents and children.
The current home of BigHouse is in Opelika, Alabama and has been rented for the last 2 years. The new building will be called BigHouse Retreat and will be their first owned building.
According to the guide the new home will house facilities such as the BigHouse Resource Boutique, playroom, family room, workspace, playground and offices. It will also be a bigger home which will be more accommodating for the families.
Although the giving guide is targeted to donors who want to give bigger donations, anyone can access the guide and all donation amounts whether large or small are encouraged.
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Smaller amounts can be donated through the BigHouse online website, and you should state the specific project you are donating to such as the BigHouse retreat or services.
Richard Oden, a fostering and adoptive parent involved in BigHouse, kicked off the fundraising by donating $10,000 for the BigHouse Playground .
He is asking the community to match his donation and then raise $10,000 more. He has promised that if they can raise the extra $10,000, he will match theirs by giving another $10,000.
As a former foster kid, Oden wishes that growing up he had the community and support that he now receives from BigHouse. He also knows the impact of people getting involved and planting seeds into the lives of foster and adoptive children because it was seeds from others throughout his childhood that helped him defy the odds of being in the system.
“I'm asking what can you do for the kids in foster care in this city in the Opelika, Auburn, and surrounding areas?” Oden said, “So that's a challenge that I put out there. My wife and I are very blessed, and we believe that if we can bless other people, there's no way that you can out give God. So, I would challenge everybody who thinks about giving anything to take that mindset because we have lived it.”
According to Blake Melnick, a founder of the foundation, they desire a high-quality playground. Therefore, he has high expectations for the fundraising.
Altogether, he wants the community to know that the playground is important and will mean so much more for the children and the parents.
“It’s a place for kids to safely have fun, make memories, and make friends, and it’s a place that our foster parents will be able to utilize while they safely have fun and make friends with other foster parents,” Melnick said.
Anyone who wants to participate in Oden's challenge can also donate to the playground on the BigHouse website.
The last day to participate in the challenge will be May 31st, but people can continue to contribute towards the building of the new home and playground after that date.
Through donations to the playground and the new home, the community can help the executive director Micah accomplish the goal that she had when her and her husband first founded the foundation.
“So, what we want to do is get the broader community involved so that these foster families that do feel called [to foster] feel supported and that the kids who are in foster care can look back at their life and say, you know, so many people cared," Micah said.
Overall, she wants to help change stigma around fostering from people who do not foster while giving a space for fosters and adopted children to feel like they are a part of something while showing them the love of Jesus Christ.
“What you want them to understand is that there's no shame in their story, and there's no shame in being part of a foster family or an adoptive family. That's a beautiful way that God can care for people in our community who need help, and it's okay to need help. We all do at some point,” she said.
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