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NORMAL A yearlong effort by the W.D. Boyce Council of Boy Scouts of America will help Habitat for Humanity of McLean County pay for one-fifth of a house for a needy family.

"It's enormous," said Bruce Williams, executive director of Habitat. "It shows how much can be done for an organization when there's a combined effort to do something like."

Scouts in 14 Central Illinois counties collected 3.5 million cans for recycling, valued at $50,000, and divided the money among seven Habitat for Humanity organizations.

Habitat of McLean County will receive $12,811.22 and DeWitt County Habitat will receive $1,096.80.

Williams said McLean County's share will be divided among the nine houses the agency will finish this year. Habitat sells houses to qualifying low- to moderate-income families who help build them.

Three of the houses along Vernon Avenue between Hester Street and Fell Avenue will be blessed during a 1 p.m. ceremony Saturday. Williams said the families will be able to move in the first of the year. Three other houses at the site will be ready for occupancy in late spring, he said.

Williams expected maybe $1,000 when he heard the scouts were collecting cans to benefit Habitat.

"I just about fell out of my chair when I heard how much they collected," he said. "Think about how many cans it would take to raise over $12,000."

Brewers Distributors and ALCAN donated $16,000 toward patches, banners, posters and other promotional items. Morris Tick Recycling and Mitsubishi Motors North America recycled more than 2,300 pounds of aluminum for the effort.

"It's a perfect example of a way other age groups can help families in need," Williams said. Volunteers who help build Habitat homes have to be at least 16.

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