Habitat For Humanity Kicks Off Super Bowl Homes Project

By KEITH MORELLI | The Tampa Tribune

Published: December 2, 2008

TAMPA - The week before Super Bowl XLIII in Tampa on Feb. 1, volunteers for Habitat for Humanity in Hillsborough and Pinellas counties will be eyeing a record of their own.

They plan to start and finish five houses that week. One they will start on Super Bowl Sunday morning will be done by the time the game starts after 6 p.m., they say.

The kickoff of the blitz-build plan happened today on 76th Street in East Tampa, where a couple of the houses will be. Tampa Bay Buccaneers Warrick Dunn and Shelton Quarles along with former Buc quarterback Doug Williams were handed hammers by children of families picked to get the new houses and a few nails were pounded in a symbolic wall that was raised.

The partnership to build the houses for the needy involves the Habitat for Humanity program, the NFL and foundations founded by Quarles and Dunn.

Billed as "SuperBuild," the plan will begin with a push to raise enough money for the six homes, five of which will be erected the week before the big game. The sixth will be framed out in the parking lot of Marriott's Renaissance Tampa Hotel and donated to the state of the winning team, said Ralph Jackson, executive director for the Hillsborough Habitat program.

Two of the homes will be built in Pinellas County and three in Hillsborough, he said. Volunteers are needed, along with donations. The marketing pitch is to donate $59, which will pay for 1 square foot of one home. Donors are eligible to win a pair of Super Bowl XLIII tickets, he said.

The combination of football and charity housing is a natural, he said.

"Football," Jackson said, "is as American as the dream of home ownership."

"This is unbelievable," Dunn said. "I'm proud to be a part of this today. I would just encourage the public to support it."

Quarles' foundation provides the finishing touches, he said. That includes all the interior furnishings and even yard tools that make a house a home.

When the keys are turned over to the recipient family, he said, "all they need to bring with them is a toothbrush."

In green Habitat for Humanity T-shirts, Alonzo Gibson, 10, his sister, Alazae, 11, and brother, Jaquaze Sorrells, 8, will be moving into one of the brand new houses in Clearwater in February. They stayed still while Quarles autographed the backs of their shirts this morning.

"You ever make a hit on Reggie Bush?" Alonzo asked.

"Yeah," Quarles said. "I knocked him out, too."

To donate, or "Square-up for $59," go to or send checks payable to Habitat for Humanity to 3071 118th Ave. N., St. Petersburg FL 33716.

Reporter Keith Morelli can be reached at (813) 259-7760 or