Helping St. Jude Build Homes to Save Children’s Lives
Electrical wholesaler City Electric Supply (CES) Waxhaw in the Charlotte, North Carolina, area helps St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital fight cancer. District Manager Shawn Odom, who started the partnership, and Branch Manager Connor Rains, who has continued the mission since Odom’s promotion, share how the branch makes an impact.
New Homes Raffled to Raise Millions
So, how does the charity project called the St. Jude Dream Home Giveaway work? People purchase raffle tickets to win a brand-new house constructed with donated or deeply discounted products and services. All proceeds support St. Jude kids and families. So far, over 650 St. Jude dream homes have been built across the nation, including eight in the Charlotte area.
Newton Custom Homes and Realty has built one in the Charlotte area each year since joining the cause. Owner Jeff Newton shared why he believes this ongoing project has been successful.
“St. Jude says it takes an average of $425,000 to treat a child, depending on the illness,” said Newton. “Our home this year raised $2.6 million. So, we can say that about six kids will receive treatment. It feels more impactful when you can quantify it.”
And St. Jude is making good use of the funds. Although cancer is the number one cause of death by disease in children under 14 in the U.S., thanks to treatments invented at St. Jude, overall childhood cancer survival rates have risen from 20 percent in 1962 to 80 percent today.
CES Waxhaw Supports the St. Jude Dream Home Giveaway
CES Waxhaw has provided 100 percent of the electrical material for St. Jude dream homes built in the Charlotte area since 2014. That includes the 2021 and 2022 dream homes recently completed in Monroe, North Carolina.
“We provide all the standard electrical: all the wire in the walls, the boxes, electrical panels, breakers, meter bases, receptacles, and more,” said Rains. “My favorite thing is seeing the finished home. I like helping people in need across the community any way we can.”
A Community Comes Together — Then Celebrates
For the Newton team, dream homes are a year-round project. The builder completed the previous home in August over about eight months and has already begun preparing now to start next year’s build on time.
Luckily, the homebuilder has plenty of help from the community through companies like CES. Newton said that about 80 to 85 percent of the people who work on the homes are his regular vendor partners, but other local companies who love the program are involved too. The amount of time and product donated is immense.
“A commercial landscaper provided an entire lamp landscape package for this recent home,” said Newton. “Then we had 75 guys from several masonry contractors come out and lay all the brick for the house in six hours.”
But it’s all worth it to those who pitch in. For the last 10 years, vendors and subcontractors gathered after a build is completed for a heartwarming event. The teams get a tour of the home and an opportunity to sign the floors, leaving a message for St. Jude kids or the new homeowners.
“Because this past year’s St. Jude Dream Home was built near Waxhaw, it was a little bit more special to all of us,” said 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.”