Seventy-years ago near Americus, Ga. a small interracial Christian group formed what would soon be the extremely successful non-profit organization, Habitat for Humanity.
As Habitat for Humanity expanded they not only created housing finance opportunities, advocated for adequate housing and prepared for and respond to all disasters, but started Restore locations that helped supply furniture and other household necessities for low-income members of the community.
These Restores are part of Habitat for Humanity’s Local Affiliate international program called the HFHIC. Local affiliates such as the Restore in Isabella County, Mich., build houses for the community just like the international organization and with the same “simple, decent and affordable housing” motto.
The resale of donated items at the Isabella County store in Mt. Pleasant generates funds to build houses. This saves money when Habitat doesn’t have to buy furniture for the houses and is also very healthy and green for the environment as it recycles and keeps these items from going into the landfill.
The resale of donated items at the Isabella County Restore in Mt. Pleasant generates funds to build houses and building more Restores in areas such as this will create more success for this organization as a whole.
It is a crucial part of the success of Habitat for Humanity to have well-placed Restores in major cities surrounding work sites and partner families in order to raise money for the initial build. Having Restores also allows more volunteer opportunities for the partner families as well as creating networks in communities.
Along with the skills the families build while helping with the houses and working at the Restore, there is also a network being built in the community that creates a network of knowledge. Volunteers and housing recipients get to know each other and can reference future jobs for each other. It allows them to “be a part of others lives that they wouldn’t normally have the opportunity to be,” said L. Quinn Lincoln-Keon.
Lincoln-Keon is the Restore manager of Isabella County and believes strongly in the positive change Habitat for Humanity can have on the community. “It brings the community closer together so they can appreciate what other do.” she said. Lincoln-Keon
Another lesson Habitat for Humanity is trying to teach communities is to be green. Recycling and donating old appliances and furniture is one of the major reasons why this non-profit organization works and is how they do their part to keep reusable items out of the landfill. When creating the safe, simple and affordable community for its members, Habitat also wants to make sure the environment of the community is being kept safe as well.
Low-income families are not the only ones who can benefit from the Isabella County Restore. Landlords are often frequent visitors at the Restore. College students are not known to be the most careful when it comes to keeping their living spaces intact and the landlords often need to make repairs before the next tenants move in. Not only does the Restore carry furniture and appliances but also lumber, plumbing and other maintenance necessities.
College students at CMU also save money by heading to the Restore when furnishing their apartments for the year. They can donate useable items back if they have no use for them anymore too. College students happen to get into trouble sometimes so the Restore gets a lot of their volunteers through community service programs.
Teens and those in their early twenties are perfect for helping with the construction of houses. Not only are they often good, strong workers but doing community service for Habitat for Humanity can teach them valuable skills they can use later in life and connects them with important members of the community. Lincoln-Keon said that many students will stay and volunteer even after they’ve done they’re hours because they enjoy the work.
The Isabella County Restore implements a program for senior citizens as well. The program is for people ages 55 and up and it teaches them new skills while volunteering there that will make them become more employable if they ever decide they want another job.
From helping low-income families to teaching college students and the elderly new skills, the Isabella County Restore has proven to be an asset to any community. Habitat for Humanity is dedicated to making this world a better place to live in one family at a time by giving “a hand up, not a hand-out.”