CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The seventh dream home in the Charlotte, North Carolina area is currently underway, and City Electric Supply (CES) Waxhaw is proud to play a part. This is the first dream home in Waxhaw, but it’s not CES Waxhaw’s first time joining the mission. The branch has been involved for several years, providing 100 percent of the electrical materials for the St. Jude Dream Homes built in the area.
“We help just about every year, and because this year’s St. Jude Dream Home is being built right here in Waxhaw, it’s a little bit more special to all of us,” said Branch Manager Shawn Odom. “Knowing that you helped with a dream home is always humbling. Attending the events, hearing the St. Jude families tell their success stories and how communities like ours are truly making a difference in their lives — it’s always a special moment that reminds you why you help every single year.”
The way it works is that members of a community purchase tickets to enter the giveaway for their dream home, and all of the proceeds go toward helping St. Jude kids and families.
“We will sell 20,000 tickets this year at $100 apiece,” said Regional Managing Director of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital Jessica Fisher. “The goal this year is to raise $2 million for our patients and their families to ensure they never receive a bill for treatment, travel, housing or food — so that all a family has to worry about is helping their child live. Once all tickets are reserved, we draw a winner and award the home to someone in the community who purchased a ticket.”
And it looks like the turnout this year will be bigger than ever.
“Since we’ve started, it’s been our biggest fundraiser in the Charlotte area. This is only our seventh year, but when it’s all said and done, we’ll have raised over $9 million. Every year, more and more people get more and more excited,” said Fisher. “The money we raise truly helps a lot of families, but it starts in these communities. Without them, none of this would be possible.”
The first St. Jude Dream Home Giveaway kicked off in Shreveport, Louisiana, in 1991. Since then, it’s expanded to over 20 states and more than 40 cities across the U.S. Fisher appreciates the support of communities and local businesses like CES Waxhaw.
“We get to work with some of the best builders, amazing media partners, trade vendors and volunteers in the area. We get to see entire communities come together in support of the St. Jude mission,” Fisher said. “It’s a combination of all of these people in their different lines of work that are coming together for the same cause and building this home, which is more than just a house. There’s so much passion that is poured into it; it’s really a labor love every single year.”
And though Odom has been a part of the mission for years, he and his team still look forward to that time of year when Todd Gordon from Gordon Brothers Electrical Service stops by the branch to pick up electrical supplies.
“Any time Todd comes in for the St. Jude Dream Home, he knows he’s going to get everything free of charge,” said Odom. “Whatever he needs, we donate it. And every year, the guys at the branch are always excited to see what they can do to help.”
Dream Home Builder Jeff Newton, who has built almost every Dream Home in the Charlotte area for the past six years, says the community involvement and donations allow them to build truly remarkable homes.
“Like City Electric Supply and all the volunteers who work with us to make this possible, the community involvement has been among the most satisfying parts. We rely almost entirely on donations, sponsors and volunteers, and every year we get the chance to build incredible dream homes,” he said. “You’d think that wouldn’t result in the best items or materials, but it actually has.”
St. Jude also gets a little help from kids in the community through a fundraiser. Elementary school students have a fundraiser for St. Jude through which they sell 2x4s to their community that will eventually help build the home. Once the first mission is complete, the students write messages on them for St. Jude families. This means that before the drywall is even installed, the home is filled with words of hope, strength and resilience.
“It’s always a very successful fundraiser, and it’s something that is humbling to see during the building process,” said Newton. “In this home, the kids at Stanfield Elementary signed most of them. It’s just such a powerful thing to see that it’s even been picked up by many other builders around the country to help them with their fundraising and their efforts at getting their communities involved.”
While it’s a successful fundraiser, those involved realize that it is so much more than that.
“Jeff does a great job of making sure the home is always mission-centered. It embodies what St. Jude is, which is bringing people together for a common cause,” said Fisher.
Newton especially has enjoyed seeing everyone come together.
“One of the things that I’ve been blessed with has been all the great people of Charlotte. People from every background are represented in this campaign through their donations, support and volunteer work. Everyone comes together for this common good, and it gives me hope,” said Newton. “Hope in helping kids live and hope that it’s a model of what could be in our future.”
And as for Shawn Odom, he’s looking forward to staying committed to St. Jude’s mission and doing what he can every year to play a small part in a big cause.
“What everyone does to help is important,” he said. “It might just feel like a drop in the bucket, but with everyone pitching in and helping provide what they can, it can build something truly wonderful. It’s not just about building a home for someone in the community, it’s about giving back to the families and their children who are battling something no one should have to deal with. It just feels great to be a part of it and to help any way we can.”Tagged with charity, City Electric Supply