With so many things going wrong in our community (funding shortages, layoffs, gun violence, and more), it’s nice to be able to take an evening to celebrate what is going right. On Sunday, May 7, 2016, McKinley Presbyterian Church and Foundation held its seventh annual Social Justice Awards Gala, recognizing positive community contributions by students, community residents, and student and community groups here in Champaign-Urbana.
Since 2009, the awards program has sought to recognize exceptional dedication and work which results in greater awareness of injustice and improves the lives of those who suffer unjustly. Any individual or group can be nominated as long as they reside in, or are based in, Champaign County.
Habitat for Humanity of Champaign County received the Community Organization award for its work in creating safe, affordable housing in partnership with local families. Since 1991, the organization has went from a rate of building two homes per year to building and rehabilitating 10 homes in 2015. In 2014, Habitat was able to build new homes for several families displaced by the Gifford tornado thanks to funds from fifteen churches. And, Habitat’s ReStore venture annually keeps 200 tons of materials out of local landfills while generating enough income to cover operations and contribute to the building fund.