Crawfish boil raises $3,000 for Josh Carden Project

By NEAL WAGNER / City Editor

Volunteers working to build a new house for THS senior Josh Carden and his grandmother brought in about $3,000 during an April 23 fundraiser, and are moving closer to their goal of finishing the house before Carden’s graduation in May.

The Josh Carden Project, which is composed of local volunteers who are working to replace Carden’s current dilapidated house on Fulton Springs Road, raised the money during a charity crawfish boil, which was sponsored by Brooklere Pharmacy and the Panyc restaurant.

“It went really well,” said Jeff Brooks, the group’s organizer. “It was really a communitywide effort.”

The group broke ground on Carden’s new house on Washington Lane in early April. The house will be built with wheelchair accessibility in mind to allow Carden, who has cerebral palsy and uses a wheelchair for mobility, to easily navigate it.

On Dec. 6, 2010, Carden’s 73-year-old grandfather and primary caregiver, Tommy Pickett, died after he was struck by a vehicle while crossing the road in front of his house on Fulton Springs Road to help Carden cross the street.

All money raised during the crawfish boil will be used to purchase building materials to complete the project.

Brooks said the crawfish boil drew a wide range of people looking to help the family in need.

“We had a lot of support from the bikers,” Brooks said, noting the Thunder Roads motorcycle magazine helped publicize the event to local bikers. “The crawfish boil cut across a wide range of cultures.”

The crawfish boil was the first of two events held during the Easter weekend to raise money for the project. On Easter Sunday, the Alabaster First United Methodist Church donated all offering money it collected during its teen-oriented rock and roll service to the project.

“We don’t know how much we got from the Easter service at the Methodist church yet,” Brooks said April 25, noting the church’s offices were closed Monday.

Since breaking ground on the house, the Josh Carden Project has also received support from elsewhere in the community.

The BB&T Bank recently named Carden’s new house one of its Lighthouse projects. Through the Lighthouse Project program, the bank will allow some of its employees to take paid time off work to help construct the house.

During the final week in April, Josh Carden Project volunteers likely will complete the slab and foundation for the new house, which will allow construction on the structure to start “moving very fast.” Brooks said.

“We are using pre-built walls for the house. They are being built right now in a warehouse by our wholesalers,” Brooks said. “When they are done, we just have to bring a crane out and lower the walls into place.”

Once the volunteers get the house’s frame in place, it will likely only take a few days to complete the house, Brooks said. The group is planning to have the house completed by graduation May 25.

Over the next few weeks, project volunteers will be registering Carden and his grandmother at several local retailers, which will allow those interested to purchase items to help furnish the new home. For more information about the project, to volunteer or to receive updates about the store registrations, visit Facebook.com/Joshproject.