REWatch: Habitat Volunteers Contribute to the Greater Good

2013-07-14T11:45:00Z 2013-07-19T12:13:12Z REWatch: Habitat Volunteers Contribute to the Greater GoodMichelle Krueger Times Homes Columnist
July 14, 2013 11:45 am  • 

Habitat for Humanity envisions a world where everyone has a decent place to live.

Established in 1976, the international nonprofit estimates there are now nearly 2 billion people around the world who live in slum housing, while another 100 million are homeless. Families are left homeless by natural disaster, war and civil unrest every day.

In the U.S., 48.5 million people live in poverty and struggle to afford decent housing.

More than 1,500 local Habitat for Humanity affiliates in the United States plus more than 80 national organizations around the world have helped build or repair more than 600,000 houses and serve more than 3 million people worldwide.

It’s so important because decent, stable housing provides more than just a roof over someone’s head. Good housing provides stability for families and children; offers a sense of dignity and pride; improves health, physical safety and security; and increases educational and job prospects.

In our area, Habitat for Humanity of Northwest Indiana has been bringing people together to build homes, communities and hope since 1986. At the beginning of this year, 57 Habitat homes were located in Lake County. Habitat’s build schedule for this year and next will add another 15 homes.

Along with the dedicated Board of Directors, Board members and staff, Habitat relies on an ever-growing network of volunteers who donate their time at builds and special events plus generous supporters who donate building materials, tools and money.

In addition, people throughout the local area donate new and gently used home furnishings, building materials and appliances to the Habitat ReStore, where you’ll find an ever-changing selection of great items. You never know when the ReStore will receive a call that completely changes the inventory.

In the past they’ve received truckloads of brand new items including windows, cabinets, trim, doors and more donated by local home improvement stores and lumber yards, a variety of floor samples including jetted tubs and shower stalls from a local plumbing supply store, the furnishings and fixtures from a restaurant that was remodeling, a great selection of appliances from BP and office equipment from Peoples Bank.

Most recently, the ReStore received a large donation from a local home center in Portage including a truckload of cabinets plus five pallets of new items ranging from hardware and paint to tools and seasonal.

“I was told the retail value of this donation was over $10,000,” ReStore Manager Kim DeRisi said. “We’re so busy, we’re looking for an additional truck driver.”

With the recent move of Habitat’s administrative offices to the group’s first official model home on the same site, the ReStore at 6114 Ridge Road (one mile east of Cline Avenue) has expanded, displaying more merchandise that’s for sale at prices up to at least half off retail with special promotions adding to the savings every day.

Last weekend, another group of volunteers joined forces to make yet another improvement to the Habitat property. The parking area behind the ReStore, adjacent to the new model home/offices and storage facility, was paved making it much safer for everyone to come and go.

According to DeRisi, this project was made possible with the assistance of P&C Trucking, Town & Country Paving and Walsh and Kelly, Inc. - Paving Contractors.

“This group of people, with the support of their companies all came together to help Habitat,” she said. “Town and Country donated all of their services. P&C trucking gave us three trucks for the day and Walsh & Kelly gave us a very good discounted price. I would also like to thank my husband Chris, who was instrumental in coordinating all the details that went into making this happen.”

Up Next at Habitat:

Gary Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson is scheduled to volunteer at the latest Habitat for Humanity construction site on Thursday, July 25th at 635 Tyler Street from 2:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.

“It is my pleasure to volunteer on the latest project for Habitat for Humanity,” Mayor Freeman-Wilson said. “Each home that is renovated represents another improvement in the City of Gary.”

One of the seven houses slated for partner families by Habitat for Humanity this year, the organization has been partnering with local businesses to build houses in Hammond, Gary and Lowell. These partners include Target, Stack & Van Til and NIPSCO.

Habitat for Humanity of Norwest Indiana is currently in need of volunteers on all jobsites. Building hours are from 8am to 4 pm Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. Volunteers should wear durable shoes and gloves, all other tools will be provided. For more information contact Volunteer Coordinator, Kristin Marlow-Kellemen at (219) 923-7265, ext. 316 or visit the website at

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