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story.lead_photo.caption Gov. Mike parson gives a speech in front of a damaged home during a recognition ceremony along Jackson Street. The ceremony recognized Mid-Continent Steel and Wire's donation of 1 million nails to River City Habitat for Humanity. Photo by Sally Ince / News Tribune.

One million nails.

The folks at River City Habitat for Humanity say they plan to use every one of these in their effort to bring affordable housing to all in Jefferson City.

The organization accepted the donation Thursday from Poplar Bluff-based Mid-Continent Steel and Wire.

Also Thursday, Gov. Mike Parson stopped by River City Habitat for Humanity's "Building on Faith House" in the 800 block of Jackson Street. Every Thursday, church groups from across the city come to the home to help in the refurbishing effort.

"Mid-Continent reached out to us saying, 'We're the largest nail manufacturer, and we want to help,'" said River City Habitat for Humanity Executive Director Susan Cook-Williams.

Mid-Continent General Manager Chris Pratt said just a year ago they were a company on the brink of extinction.

"There were unforeseen circumstances due to tariffs that were really hurting us, but thanks to our local, state and federal lawmakers, we were able to bring our company back, and our goal and mission is to provide the best product to the people of Missouri, so we're honored to be able to do this," Pratt said.

Cook-Williams said Habitat for Humanity is on its second week of work on the Jackson Street home where the donation was presented, and she hopes to see it completed in six months.

"This build is part of our big effort (Road to Recovery) to help those needing housing due to the May 22 tornado," Cook-Williams said. "Everything we do tornado-related is going to be a parallel program to what we are already doing. We have two houses that we are still going to close and four more that will start with our regular program of builds."

In its 27 years of existence, River City Habitat for Humanity has built or renovated more than 113 homes, yet Missouri ranks 41st in the nation for housing affordability, Cook-Williams said.

"The tornado just opened a wound that has made that situation even worse," she said. "Three months after the tornado, we still have families not able to find a place to live."

Parson said there is a tendency to look at government to be the answer for everything, but in this case that's not so.

"Congregations and people working together are the answer to a lot of things," Parson said. "In my experience as governor, what happened in the last year in our state as far as droughts, flooding and tornadoes, it tests all of us. I couldn't be more proud of this community here in Jefferson City and how they've worked to help one another out. We know we need the housing in our state, but I appreciate everybody who is willing to put in the extra effort and to stay with it. It's hard work, but hard work is the backbone of who we are in this state."

Cook-Williams said the number of homes that can be built as part of the Road to Recovery program will depend on how much in donations the organization collects.

"We have properties that we have received that we'll be able to do something with, but we need the money and volunteers to make something happen," she said.

On the web:

To help or to learn more about River City's efforts, call 573-635-8439 or visit rivercityhabitat.org.

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