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Asheville's Warren Haynes gives Habitat for Humanity $210,000 from last December's Christmas Jam

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4/18/2012 - Asheville's Warren Haynes gives Habitat for Humanity $210,000 from last December's Christmas Jam
by Tony Kiss - Asheville Citizen Times

ASHEVILLE -- Christmas was months ago, but Grammy-winning blues-rock star Warren Haynes played Santa Claus on Monday, giving the Asheville Area Habitat for Humanity $210,000 for the construction of affordable housing.

It's the biggest gift yet from Haynes and his wife Stefani Scamardo in proceeds from the annual Christmas Jam concert at the U.S. Cellular Center.

In all, the couple has given the Asheville Habitat organization $1.16 million -- enough to build 21 homes, the group's executive director Lew Kraus said.

"This is a wonderful organization that I am proud to be part of," said Haynes, who was raised in Asheville and found fame as a member of the Allman Brothers Band and Phil Lesh and Friends and with his own groups, the Warren Haynes Band and Gov't Mule.

"Being able to see where the money is going is really important to me," he said. "In a lot of charities, you just have to assume that it trickled down to where it supposed to be. With Habitat, we see every house. We know where the money is going."

Haynes also presented the ceremonial keys to a Habitat house built with Christmas Jam money to new homeowner Michelle Bevans and her children, who in turns gave the singer-guitarist a handmade book dedicated to the star.

The house is located in Habitat's Carney Place site in West Asheville, just off Virginia Avenue.

In addition to building a house, other proceeds from the Christmas Jam will be used in the acquisition of land and the building of infrastructure for a new 25-home Habitat project on Johnston Boulevard, Kraus said.

Haynes, who played a sold-out Sunday show at The Orange Peel, now moves on to a concert today at the Georgia Theatre in Athens, Ga.

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