Sioux Central FFA raising funds to build homes for Haitians
By Jean Caspers-Simmet
Date Modified: 05/21/2012 1:33 PM
AMES, Iowa — Sioux Center FFAers were busy giving tours of the Sukup SafeTHome at the Iowa FFA Leadership Conference.
Jordan Bayliss and Corren Olson were among chapter members who educated others about the grain bin housea, built to shelter Haitiansaafter the 2010 earthquake.
Ten FFA members from Sioux Rapids took apart the grain bin house at a church camp and reassembled it on the lawn outside the Scheman Building.
Sioux Central FFA is raising money to build two homes in Haiti. Bayliss will lead FFA members Brad Aronson, Sven Nielson, Dallas Hellmann and Tanner Lindquist when they travel to Haiti in July. Olson, Mason Todd and Shena Geisinger have helped organize the project but aren't able to go to Haiti.
Sioux Central is challenging each of the six FFA districts to raise money to purchase three homes (for a total of 18 homes) to send in 2013.
Bayliss said the team that goes in 2012 will lead a larger group back to Haiti in 2013 to build homes and develop small-scale agricultural projects.
"I got involved when my FFA advisor Melanie Bloom told me she wanted me to lead the project," Bayliss said.
Olson explained that the Sukup SafeTHome started when Sukup engineer Brett Nelson explored building a grain bin house for himself. While he never built his own house, one of the Sukup brothers was in Florida at the time of the Haitian earthquake, and he called back to Iowa and said to start making the SafeTHome.
"Sukup teamed up with Global Compassion Network of Laurens to facilitate humanitarian efforts," Olson said. "The grain bin is modified to include a locking door and windows. There is a heat shield on the outside roof, which makes it cooler inside."
"In Haiti, they group the homes in a circle of eight and share a common kitchen," Bayliss said.
"Around the bin, they put ballast boxes which hold rocks and soil, which can be used for gardening and they help to hold the house in place," Olson said.
Sioux Central FFA's 2012 project is part of "Special Delivery. Help. Hope. For Haiti," a collaboration between the Iowa Soybean Association and its Iowa Food and Family Project, Global Compassion Network, Sukup Manufacturing and Meals from the Heartland.
The project is raising funds to build 48 homes, and with every home that is sent to Haiti, ISA donates money for packaged meals.
Dennis Anderson of Global Compassion Network said that 16 homes have been built in Haiti. Another 10 are waiting to be built. The rest have been ordered and funds have been raised to pay for 34.
"The response from FFA members who visited the SafeTHome during the leadership conference has been mixed, Bayliss and Olson said.
"A first they say, 'This is a grain bin,' " Olson said. "Once we explain what it is, they start to understand it. Some people just love it."