Habitat for Humanity
A Sound Investment in a Family’s Future
We Built the 1st, then the 101st, 201st New Habitat Homes in the Greater Fox Cities and then helped sponsor 301!
The Congregational United Church of Christ of Neenah-Menasha (CUCCNM) has been involved with the Greater Fox Cities Area Habitat for Humanity since the first project in 1992.
Don Kleist, long-time member of CUCCNM, was instrumental in starting the Greater Fox Cities Area Habitat for Humanity and became its president from 1993-1995. That year the goal was to raise $75,000 for two houses. There were many discussions on rehab vs. new construction, basements vs. no basements, setting up a Board of Directors, setting up a covenant among a handful of area churches, selecting the site, family selection, a substantial amount of fundraising and a multitude of other decisions.
In late 1992 the City of Neenah offered Habitat a 1-1/2 story house to move as they were enlarging a park property on the island. Kleist was involved in finding movers who offered to move it for half price. The goal was to find a spot close by on the island which would simplify things a bit. Roadblock after roadblock presented itself. They could not find a lot on the island, could not block off Highway 114. They had the newspapers and Channel 5 talking about the “Little House that Could” so they couldn’t abandon the project. After finding out it would cost $7000 to move the communication cables so they could take the house over the Oak Street Bridge, a sum the project couldn’t afford to pay, they decided to cut off the second story of the house and over the bridge it went! Habitat got a block grant to buy a lot at 513 Oak Street, one block south of the Oak Street bridge for $15,000 in June 1993. They poured a foundation and in September put on a full second story and a roof in October! Laurie Kleist, who speaks Spanish, worked with the Nunez family, the occupants of the house. Many other members of CUCCNM were involved in the development and ongoing support of Habitat: Carla Rabe, Ken Nichols, former Pastor of CUCCNM, Art Willie, Pat and Dave Day and Marilyn Kostrzak to name a few.
We went on to build a number of houses for Habitat including:
House #101 built at 1203 Maple Street, Neenah in 2008.
House #201 built at 2414 Gmeiner Street, Appleton in 2015.
House #301 built at 431 Elm Street, Neenah in 2022.