Keith David Touts Wood For Haiti - KFBB.com News, Sports and Weather

Keith David Touts Wood For Haiti

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MISSOULA -

A Missoula based non-profit will construct a home in the parking lot of Southgate Mall Friday. 

The group's goal is to build thousands of similar homes in Haiti, but a lack of funding is preventing the project from getting off the ground.

The group is called Wood for Haiti and its mission is to solve two major problems half a world apart. President Gary Funk said the idea came to him on a drive from Missoula to Helena.

"I saw the forests that were standing there that were red and gray and the idea just came forward: there's enough wood here to rebuild the entire country of Haiti," Funk said.

He wants to harvest lumber killed by the mountain pine beetle epidemic and use that wood to construct homes for the thousands of people still living in tent cities in Haiti.

"These would be fully-functioning communities that have water, drinkable water... That have sanitation.. That have some kind of an economy," Funk said.

He hatched the idea more than two years ago. Since then the group has built American and Haitian boards, collected supplies and gained official recognition from the Haitian government, but they haven't built any homes there.

"We have to build a proof of concept," Funk said, "Some kind of a pilot project that proves essentially that we can do what we say we can do."

Their pilot project to construct 30 homes and a community center would cost $2.8 million and they've been having trouble cutting through the red tape to access that money.

Wood for Haiti even has a celebrity spokesman, Keith David, who has more than 220 credits listed on Internet Movie Database, but is perhaps best known for his roles in "Platoon," "Crash" and "There's Something About Mary."

"I'm going to do whatever I can to get people to know about Wood for Haiti," David said, "To get people to support it and to get the government to do more than just acknowledge it."

He's already using his signature voice to encourage people to help out.

"There are people around the world, especially on this little island, Haiti, who need our help, desperately. Now. Not tomorrow. Today," David said.

The group will begin constructing a model home Friday in the Missoula JCPenney parking lot at 9 p.m. That home will be complete in time for an 11:30 public event Saturday hosted by Keith David.

The structure will also be open all next week for public walk-throughs. For more information or to donate to the organization, click here.

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