Top 5 Reasons to Volunteer This Winter

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Today is the official first day of winter. When the weather is cold and dreary, sometimes all we want to do is curl up under a warm blanket with a good book and a cup of hot cocoa.

But even when the temperature outside is dropping, Our Towns Habitat for Humanity does not stop building homes. In fact, the winter weather reminds us more than ever of how important affordable housing is.

When families can’t afford their rent, they are not shielded from the possibility of eviction because it’s cold outside. When families sacrifice living in unsuitable conditions so they can afford their rent, they often find themselves cold in the winter, due to poor insulation or furnaces that don’t work.

So while the warm blanket and book are tempting, please consider bundling up and coming out to the work site for a Saturday or two (or three!) this winter. If you need a little more motivation, here are our top five reasons to volunteer in winter.

5. Swinging a hammer really gets the blood flowing and you’ll warm up fast!

4. You’ll have a great excuse for a Starbucks run after you’ve finished your shift.

3. Being outside will give you a chance to soak in a little extra Vitamin D and combat winter depression.

2. You will have a reason to get out of your pajamas and interact with other real, live humans before noon on a weekend.

1. You’ll appreciate your warm home and cozy blanket even more after you’ve helped someone else build their own warm, affordable home!

Now that we’ve talked you into crawling out from under your warm blanket, the next step is to learn more about volunteering on the build site and sign up for a day!

Statesville ReStore opening next year

We know that many of our Statesville supporters have been anxiously awaiting the opening of our new Habitat ReStore in Statesville–and we are too!

The original target date to open the store was early this month. However, due to delays with the property being vacated and securing permits, we now anticipate opening in early February—stay tuned for information soon on our grand opening plans.

In preparation for the store’s opening, we continue to recruit volunteers to help run the store, as well as donations for the store’s initial inventory. Some of our volunteer needs include manning the donation drop-off area, sorting and pricing items, merchandise display on the sales floor and managing the book section.

Donation of new and gently used household items are welcome—review our list of acceptable items to learn what donations we are able to accept and resell. To schedule a pickup of donation items, please use our online form or call 704-896-8957, ext. 204. If your organization or neighborhood would like to host a “Stuff the Truck” donation drive, please email Director of ReStore Operations Dawn Bumgarner.

Habitat ReStores to the rescue for last-minute gifts

Time is running short and your Christmas shopping budget is nearly depleted. But there are still names left on your list! Who you gonna call? The Habitat ReStores, of course!

There is no shortage of creative gift ideas at the ReStores for any budget. Every shopping trip is a treasure hunt, and you’ll never know what you might find. Here are just a few ideas to get you started.

Rare Books

From Tolkein to Shakespeare, you will find a wonderful selection of rare and collectible books in our rare books display cases.

Ceramic pieces

You don’t have to drive to Seagrove to find handmade pottery—stop in and see some of the unique ceramic pieces that find their way to the ReStores.

Home Décor/Art

From our inventory of framed prints to one-of-a-kind decorative pieces, you’ll find the right gifts to turn a house into a home.

Jewelry

For the fashionista in your life, explore our selection of costume jewelry, with lots of funky and even handmade items.

Sporting Goods/Exercise Equipment

Did you know the ReStores carry sporting goods too? Tennis rackets, golf clubs, even inline skates might await you! If you know someone who has made getting in shape their New Year’s goal, then a treadmill or elliptical might be the way to go.

Stop by our Mooresville or Cornelius ReStore locations today to find that perfect gift–both stores will be open through Friday, Dec. 22, and will close for the Christmas holiday Saturday, Dec. 23-Monday, Dec. 25.

Please note, all photos are representative only, as ReStore inventories change daily depending on donations received.

Disability could not prevent Larry from building his own home

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When Larry first came to Our Towns Habitat, the idea of owning his own home was not even a possibility for him. When he first met with our Homeowner Services team, Larry was actually looking for help with needed repairs to the mobile home where he and his four children lived.

Since Larry was renting the mobile home, the property did not qualify for our repair program. But, after reviewing his situation, we realized Larry was a good fit for our homeownership program.

Larry says he had never even considered buying his own home before—he was on a fixed disability income and did not have enough for a down payment. When he realized it was a possibility, he knew it was something he was willing to work for, to have something better for his kids.

“I need a home for my kids to grow up in and be able to become their own people,” Larry told us. “Seeing how happy my kids are to have their own home makes it all worth it.”

For Larry, earning the required 400 sweat equity hours to buy this home was particularly challenging. A head-on collision in 1994 left him with a lifetime of pain. Larry broke his femur and 10 bones in his foot in the accident. He was unable to return to his job at Cannon Mills, where he’d worked since age 16.

After going through vocational rehab and earning a degree in business management and accounting from Mitchell Community College, Larry returned to work at a bank for eight years. But cartilage damage in his foot and ankle continued to plaque him with chronic pain, and eventually he went on permanent disability.

Even with tasks adapted to Larry’s physical abilities, being on the construction site to work on his home wasn’t easy.

“Some days I dreaded going out there,” he admits. “But I wasn’t going to let anything stop me. The Lord got the ball rolling for me, so I’m going to finish it.”

Larry has documented his home’s construction in photos—428 of them—watching it go from an empty lot, to seeing the foundation poured and the walls go up, until this moment today, when he finally turn the key and open the door to his new home. We hope there will be many more photos from his recent home dedication to add to the collection—and maybe a few will even end up framed and hanging on the walls inside!

Lights and Shadows

‘Tis the season of mulling apple cider, pine scented candles, parties with friends and big family meals with that once-a-year peanut butter fudge or fresh coconut cake from a generations’ old recipe.

For you all as faith leaders in our communities, it is also a season of great juggling between your own friends and families and the congregations you serve. Planning and leading multiple worship services for a single day may certainly be enough of a challenge but there are all the extra things that come along with the season: caroling, visiting, coordinating Angel Trees and other special missions, Sunday School or Life Group parties every night of the week, and the one millionth game of Dirty Santa as if it is the hottest new game around (Amen?)! On top of it all, the kids are out of school for two full weeks, hopped up on sugar and winter freedom while your family tries hard to maintain not only its sanity but its own traditions and make its own memories, get the shopping done and spend at least one full day together.

No doubt, it is both a wonderful privilege and an awesome responsibility to pastor and care for people—all the people in your life—during this most holy time. In my ministry, there were always folks for whom this was indeed the most wonderful time of the year and for others it was the very most painful time of the year. As people of faith and as faith leaders, we must make room both for hope and for hurt, for the light and the dark. Walt Disney has said, “Life is composed of lights and shadows, and we would be untruthful, insincere, and saccharine if we tried to pretend there were no shadows.”

As the days grow shorter and the nights grow longer, as you close your services with dimmed lights holding candles or waving glow sticks, that tiny little light is our hope. One flicker cannot wholly eliminate the darkness but it absolutely pushes it back; it makes a hole in the dark. When the menorah’s candles are lit, we remember the miracle of light in the dark. One day’s oil gave eight days of light. And in the Gospel of John, my favorite verse says, “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.”

This year, we have stood in the shadows—tragedy upon tragedy in our nation and all around the globe. We have stood in the shadows with our people, people who are grieving, people who have lost jobs, people who feel too guilty to be forgiven, people who have battled addiction and people who are just so beaten down and alone. We have stood there in those shadows with them. This season as we hang twinkle lights, as we light candles in the windows, as we decorate our homes with the voltage of Clark Griswold, I pray you all continue to find and to offer even a small light of hope in the darkness.

Thank you for building homes, communities and hope with Our Towns Habitat!