Volunteers continue construction of tiny home village in Chippewa Falls

Chippewa Falls (WQOW) - A tiny idea is taking off in big ways, as local volunteers piece together planks of wood to shape their first tiny home. 
Wednesday morning, project leader Michael Cohoon, and four volunteers began building the walls and installing windows for their tiny home. A tiny home village is where 12-ft by 8-ft houses are built to provide an overnight stay for people in need. 
News 18 first reported in early January when a group made up of 17 area churches called Chippewa Falls Mission Coalition began discussions with the Workforce Development's Homeless and Hunger Program, about homelessness in the city. 
Cohoon said the first tiny home will be installed on a trailer so that it can travel throughout Chippewa County to serve those in need. 
"We'll start putting the siding on them and insulating them," Cohoon said. "Then we'll start with the roof and get her finished up so we can be inside it."
Cohoon said eventually the coalition would like to create a permanent village of 10 tiny homes in Chippewa Falls, with a centralized building for showering, cooking and laundry services. He said construction on the first tiny home is expected to wrap up in April. 
To learn more about the project, visit the coalition's Facebook page. 
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Chippewa Falls (WQOW) - It may take a village to build a house. That's why dozens of residents in Chippewa Falls are ringing in the new year with a tiny idea hoping to help the homeless population in a big way.
It's a concept called, “tiny home village”, where 12 by 8 foot houses are built to provide an over-night stay for people in need.
News 18 spoke with Michael Cohoon, the youth pastor of Landmark Christian Church in Chippewa Falls. He said the idea was born one year ago when a group made up of 17 area churches, Chippewa Falls Mission Coalition, began discussions with the Workforce Development's Homeless and Hunger Program, about homelessness in the city. Cohoon said the tiny home village is based off of a similar project that recently began in Madison. The initial plan is to have two to three tiny houses be built for mobile purposes so that the village can travel throughout Chippewa Falls and to other areas in the county that are in need. Cohoon said eventually, they'd like to create a permanent village of seven to ten tiny homes in Chippewa Falls with a centralized building for showering, cooking and laundry services.
"As you walk in, this would be the bathroom area, an area with a sink some type of chemical toilet probably to begin with and then just a living area. A lot of times in these tiny houses, the table will be against the wall and it'll unfold, couple of chairs so that you can eat here,” Cohoon motions in a marked area on the floor to show the size of a typical tiny home.
Cohoon said the project is still in its early stages. As far as getting proper permits and permission to move forward with the plan, he said he still needs to do more research on that.
As for the location of the village, Cohoon said he is looking at about nine different spots throughout Chippewa Falls. He said about one acre of land is needed. Cohoon said a tiny home can cost $5,000 to build and furnish.
He said he'd like to raise that money by spring 2016 so that staff can start building the first tiny home by April.

Operation Christmas Child underway in Chippewa Valley

MENOMONIE, WIS. (WEAU) --- The world's largest Christmas project of its kind, Operation Christmas Child is underway. The goal for Western Wisconsin is to collect 8,000 shoebox gifts filled with toys, school supplies and hygiene items for kids in need overseas.

Menomonie’s Oak Ridge Lutheran Brethren Church is just one of the drop-off locations in the Chippewa Valley.

“People are much more tenderer hearted and no one wants to see children no matter where they are going without some type of acknowledgment during the holiday season,” said coordinator Kris Korpela.

Operation Christmas Child is when families and groups collect gift-filled shoe boxes and send them to children in need all over the world. All you do is fill out a form selecting the age and gender of the child you want to send the gifts to and then drop the shoe box off.

Nancy Platz has been volunteering for Operation Christmas Child for five years. She said she always enjoys going to the store to pick out the items for the boxes.

"I think it's really exciting to imagine how exciting this would be for the children to get boxes," Said Platz. She continued to say this is the time of year when you should think about someone other than yourself.

“Christmas is a good time to think beyond yourself and to think of others and to think of people that are less fortunate."

Operation Christmas Child runs through Monday November 24th. There are two other drop-off locations in the Chippewa Valley; in Eau Claire at Peace Church, and in Chippewa Falls at Landmark Christian Church. 

Hmong Christian Group Looking to Build Church

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The religious experience is very personal to each sect or group.
Whether it's a church or temple each group wants it's own separate place to come and worship.
A group of Hmong Christians started meeting in Eau Claire almost 20 years ago...
And now attends Landmark Christian Church in Chippewa Falls.
But there are plans for them to build their own church.
Every Sunday at Landmark Christian in Chippewa Falls a local group of Hmong Christians come for Sunday school and their own special service, as well as a youth group on Friday and Saturday.
For years the groups have worked together for the purpose of worship within the same walls. 
But now they are working together to get the Hmong group their own set of walls.
"It's exciting to see the Hmong group step out on their own and take leadership," Landmark Christian Church Senior Minister Brad Crocker said.
"We spent all this year trying to build a new church building, but some financial problems caused us to put that back until next summer," Hmong Christian Pastor Danai Chowwiwat said.
The Hmong group already bought a plot of land just west of Eau Claire behind Hutchinson Technologies, but they still need to raise about $70,000 to get started on the construction.
They've been asking for one-time donations from the congregation and the youth group has been performing traditional dances around the area to help raise money.
But just because the Hmongs are leaving Landmark Christian doesn't mean the church isn't going to help.
"We'll be working with them helping build a management team. We'll be keeping a pastoral leader with them to assist in any way and also be taking up an offering to help raise the remaining funds."
The Hmong are not only in need of money, but help in teaching construction to help build the church.
There are thousands of Hmong in the Chippewa Valley and Chowwiwat believes only 10% are Christian, but their own church can be a uniting force within the Hmong community.
"It's a big project for a small church to take on," Chowwiwat said.
With the help and prayers of those at Landmark Christian the small church will not be held inside of another, but outside where everyone can see it.