Habitat for Humanity to host Cooking on the Square

Putnam County Habitat for Humanity’s annual event, Cooking on the Square, is planned to take place 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Oct. 31.

A $20 ticket will buy a handcrafted clay bowl, an all-you-can-eat supply of Cajun dishes and a donation to Putnam County’s Habitat for Humanity. The event is located on 45 East Broad St. Each year, PCHFH hosts Cooking on the Square, aiming to raise money to fund the construction of a new Habitat home for families in need.

In the past, Cooking on the Square has raised enough money to fund seven Habitat homes in the Putnam County area. In 2013, $45,000 was raised through Cooking on the Square. Volunteer Coordinator for PCHFH Amy Jennings is hopeful for this year’s outcome.

“We hope to raise around $50,000 with this year’s Cooking on the Square,” said Jennings. “100 percent of the funds raised at Cooking on the Square will go to build a home for a family in need.”

Over the past 18 years, Cooking on the Square has raised enough money to fund the construction of seven Habitat homes, said Jennings.

The event will include over 75 volunteer groups cooking and serving food. Banks and local churches from the community are expected to volunteer, as well as 10 different clubs and organizations from Tennessee Tech University, said Jennings. Organizations such as Residential Life and TTU Habitat for Humanity Club student volunteers will help cook and serve chili, jambalaya, gumbo and red beans with rice. Assistant coordinator of Residential Life Lauren Johnson sees the potential Cooking on the Square has to offer the community.

“Being a part of your local community is something that we have lost a lot in our culture,” said Johnson. “The local community building tight social networks within a small area is so important.”

Tech’s Appalachian Center for Craft helped hand-make each bowl for Cooking on the Square. In September, the Bowl-A-Thon was held in order to create the bowls, according to TTU Habitat for Humanity Club partnered with the craft center to help over 300 elementary school students create the bowls. Assistant Dean in the College of Education Julie Baker explained the club’s involvement with creating the bowls.

“Those bowls will be part of this year’s Habitat (Cooking on the Square),” said Baker. “It was something the elementary students were excited about and our students were excited about. We also had a big group of our members go to the craft center to throw the bowls on the day of the Bowl-A-Thon.”

According to PCHFH’s Facebook page, fast passes for Cooking on the Square are available to those interested. Potential buyers can purchase a fast pass for $20 at Progressive Savings Bank, Regions, Southeast Bank, First Volunteer Bank or the Habitat offices prior to the event.

Activities for children will be a part of the event as well. A photo booth will be provided for children to take pictures with witches from the Victorian era, said Jennings.

Over 2,000 people are expected to attend Cooking on the Square this year.

“It’s a good thing all-around, people get a great lunch, a bowl to take home and the warm feeling that they helped someone in need at the same time,” said Jennings.