Pennington Seed partners with Greene County Habitat to build a new home for a local family in time to celebrate the holiday season.
Story by Tia Lynn Ivey
When the lights are strung, the wreath is hung and the tree is lit, a family in need will celebrate this Christmas in their very own new home, thanks to a unique partnership between The Greene County Habitat for Humanity and Pennington Seed of Madison.
Candice Butts, a single-mother of three, is counting the days until she can settle into her new house in Union Point just in the nick of time to enjoy the Christmas season.
“We have waited so long to have a home of our own,” says Butts. Candice is raising her three children, Keiasia Cummings, 14, Lavoris Cummings, 13, Kentazis Cummings, 10, and is thrilled to be able to move them into a new forever home. Butts saw an ad for Habitat for Humanity and applied to the program two years ago. She didn’t hear back for a long time and eventually gave up hope that she would be accepted into the program.
“I couldn’t believe that after all that time we were picked,” says Butts. “This changed our whole lives. We are all so excited to have our own space and be together at Christmas in our new beautiful home. It’s a great time to start this new time in our lives,” she says.
Butts is the latest recipient of the Greene County Habitat for Humanity’s free home build program, made possible by a generous donation from Pennington Seed in Madison. Pennington Seed, a lawn-care company, decided to pay it forward and share their success with others. Pennington Seed donated $75,000 in celebration of being in business for 75 years. Beyond the symbolic significance, $75,000 is the cost to build a new home locally for a family in need through Habitat for Humanity.
According to the Greene County Habitat for Humanity, the non-profit group has formed “a unique and special partnership with Pennington, a Georgia-born seed and lawn care company that was started in 1945 as a small seed store on Main Street in Madison, Georgia. In celebration of 75 years in business, Pennington has provided both monetary and volunteer support to help build an entire home for a deserving family in Greene County. In addition, they are providing funds to assist Greene County Habitat in the purchase of a truck to be used for picking up donated furniture to be sold at the Habitat ReStore.”
Greene County Habitat for Humanity believes the future is brighter for the non-profit organization and local families in need with Pennington Seed by their side.
“Our partnership with Pennington represents a true community collaboration and is a tremendous blessing to our affiliate,” says Jan Broughton, chair of the Greene County Habitat Board. “We look forward to working with them to provide a Habitat home for Greene County resident Candice Butts and her family, and we are so grateful for their support and generosity.”
Pennington Seed leaders chose to partner with Habitat for Humanity to reflect the company’s long-held values.
“The strength of our company comes from honesty, integrity, quality, and people,” says Sonny Pennington, son of founder and current member of the parent company Central Garden & Pet’s board of directors. “We are so thankful that we have been able to put these values to work for Habitat homeowners through our partnership, especially during a significant year in our company’s history. In today’s world it is so important to give back and help others.”
Through a partnership with Habitat International, Pennington is also working with other Habitat affiliates in areas of the country where they have facilities.
For now, Pennington Seed and Greene County Habitat for Humanity will celebrate helping another deserving family settle into a new home.
“Greene County Habitat will dedicate the ‘Pennington Home’ in December when new homeowner, Candice Butts and her three children, will move in,” says Broughton.
Butts and her family are just one of millions of families to benefit from the vital work of Habitat for Humanity. Greene County Habitat is the largest non-profit residential builder of affordable homes in the Lake Oconee area. Greene County Habitat for Humanity volunteers build new homes in partnership with future homeowners. “With support, resources and volunteers from the local community, we make safe, decent, and affordable housing available to low-income families. Through both monetary and in-kind donations and volunteer services, a total of 63 homes have been built since our inception in 1996.”
Butts says she is looking forward to the stability and privacy owning a home brings, but most of all, a new home will set the stage to make a lifetime-worth of memories with her children as a family.
“We are so grateful for this opportunity to have our own home and appreciative of all the people who made this possible for us,” says Butts. Butts has assisted in building homes for other families through the Habitat for Humanity program, and now she’s helping with the construction of her own home.
“It’s amazing to see it all come together. It’s absolutely beautiful. We are working on the fun stuff now, picking out the color of my bedroom and the kids’ rooms. We just can’t wait to move in and have our own space,” says Butts, who has been living with her father in recent years. “My daughter will have her own room, and my boys will share a room, they are so excited. We have wanted this for such a long time. It’s a dream come true.”