Sale of Wichita house will raise $145,000 to fight worldwide hunger

08/01/2011 12:00 AM

08/01/2011 6:07 AM

After nearly 10 months of work by 79-year-old general contractor Willard Ebersole and a host of volunteers, Wichita's first House Against Hunger is on the market, ready to combat hunger worldwide.

When the house sells, nearly $145,000 will help feed starving people, said Rod Chrystie, chairman of the Kansas Mennonite Relief Sale.

The house, 543 S. Lorraine, is listed for $169,900.

The other $25,000 will help fund the next House Against Hunger.

"The American dollar goes so much further in the rest of the world," Chrystie said. "We can supply a drinking well for a community for $25... Our money here does a lot of work."

The house is a project of the relief sale, an annual auction of donations from more than 70 Mennonite, Brethren in Christ and Amish groups in Kansas.

Proceeds from the house's sale benefit the Mennonite Central Committee, a national organization working to relieve hunger worldwide.

Dubbed by some as "the house that Willard built," the house drew more than 100 visitors to a two-day open house over the weekend.

The four-bedroom, three-bathroom house features 2,400 square feet of finished living space, an open floor plan and a two-car attached garage. The house's "green" features — insulated concrete form wall construction, radiant heating in the basement floor and water heated by rooftop solar panels — drew several onlookers Sunday afternoon.

"This should make a big difference not only up front but over the life of living here," Chrystie said. Average savings on gas and electric bills are estimated at $45 a month.

Ebersole — who calls himself mostly retired — built the house by hand using mostly donated materials.

Despite a few setbacks, including a knee infection in mid-July, Ebersole is nearly finished. Only construction on the covered patio is left.

"I feel relieved and glad that it has worked out as well as it has," Ebersole said.

"It's ready for somebody to make it a home."

A second open house is scheduled for 2 to 4 p.m. on Aug. 28. To arrange a private showing, contact Prudential Dinning-Beard Realtor Jan Nattier at 316-734-6065. For the complete listing online, visit

To help finish construction, contact Ebersole at 316-204-9016 or e-mail

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