Volunteers began building a house in the parking lot of Missoula’s Southgate Mall Saturday using beetle-kill wood as part of a fundraiser for the Montana based non-profit Wood for Haiti.
The goal of Wood for Haiti is to help the small country of Haiti rebuild from a devastating earthquake in 2010, using the thousands of acres of western beetle-kill timber.
The house volunteers are constructing in the mall parking lot is a model of the type Wood for Haiti would like to build thousands of in Haiti.
"These people right now are just living in shacks, and that's just not the way people should live,” said Wood for Haiti founder Gary Funk. “So we're hoping that, while we're restoring Haiti, helping to rebuild Haiti, that we can create thousands of jobs here."
Julia Altemus, Vice President of Montana Wood Products, said she thinks Wood for Haiti’s vision would also be beneficial to Montana.
"Haul them into the mills, and manufacture them here, and then send them to Haiti,” said Altemus. “Also, we'd like to see us address the beetle kill across the state of Montana as well, so it's a win for everybody."
Funk said the non-profit is hoping to raise $30,000 to send an intitial shipment of construction materials to Haiti, which he believes can lead to millions of more dollars in federal relief aid.
To learn more about Wood for Haiti, click here.