A group from various churches across the county congregated at the former Hazelwood Prison Wednesday to pray for the project’s success.t600-DSC_0474

A team from the Guaranteed Rate marketing team arrived Wednesday morning to check on last minute details for the kick-off event at the future Haywood Pathways Center.

The effort to convert the former Hazelwood prison into a halfway house, soup kitchen and emergency shelter will get a boost starting Thursday morning when volunteers from across the region congregate to perform needed tasks.

The day will also serve as a fundraising opportunity where those who weren’t able to be scheduled as volunteers can look over the site, get their car washed, enjoy a barbecue, chicken, hot dog or hamburger lunch for a $5 donation (Huddle House, Fat Buddies and Zaxbys are all donating food) or take home a cake prepared by some of the best bakers in the county.

Jeanne Naber with Songbug DJ Services will be playing music and recognizing sponsors throughout the day, and folks will be able to purchase a T-shirt, a bull horn autographed by Guaranteed Rate spokesman Ty Pennington, bumper stickers, CD’s and more.

At 9 a.m., Guaranteed Rate will present the Haywood Pathways Center a check for $50,000 for winning the company’s Ultimate Neighborhood Giveback Challenge.

There will be opportunities to take part in hard hat tours of the site, or simply peer through the fence to watch volunteers — as well as Pennington — work on the grounds.

The work onsite will wrap up at 6 p.m. and the site will be readied for another round of volunteers on Friday when a group of 100 or so Western Carolina University students come by to volunteer their time.

Those who don’t make it to the Pathways center site on Thursday may well see students from WCU with buckets at key intersections in town collecting donations to help defray the cost of the project.

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