Habitat for Humanity South Hampton Roads (Norfolk, VA): Changing lives through the ReStore
There was time to read through several homeowner stories as I waited for the volunteer shift to start at the Habitat for Humanity South Hampton Roads ReStore (HFH-SH) in Norfolk, VA.
I learned of single moms working multiple jobs to make enough to put food on the table and care for their children.
I read a story of a family forced out of their apartment by rent increases. Another family struggled to move to a safe neighborhood to get away from gun violence and drug gangs. One family, unable to secure affordable financing, was forced to live with relatives in crowded conditions.
These families live in a constant state of uncertainty, stress and fear and every day, throughout our Nation, more and more families find themselves in a struggle to keep a decent roof over their heads.
Habitat for Humanity understands that safe, decent, affordable shelter plays a critical role in helping families break the cycle of poverty and uncertainty, and create a new cycle filled with possibility and progress.
The outcomes are long-lasting and life-changing. Studies show that children of homeowners are:
- 20% less likely to become teen parents,
- 25% more likely to graduate high school,
- twice as likely to graduate college, and are
- 60% more likely to own their own homes within 10 years of moving out of their parents’ household (stats from HFH-SH website).
Habitat for Humanity South Hampton Roads was founded in 1988. Since then they have helped more than 225 families become homeowners and has provided critical home repairs to over 15 low-income homeowners through their ‘Repair Corps’ and ‘A Brush With Kindness’ program. The organization operates two retail stores – one in Norfolk and one in Virginia Beach – and I had volunteered to work at the Norfolk store for the afternoon.
I was surprised to see the volume of gently used, great-quality furniture, appliances, dishes and housewares, art and building supplies the store carried. They accept donations from families and local businesses and contractors so there is always a full supply of inventory of all kinds. My job for the afternoon was to help clean, straighten up and organize the displays of merchandise throughout the store.
HFH-SH exists solely to support and expand the mission of their Habitat for Humanity build program, which builds affordable homes that strengthen families and communities in South Hampton Roads.
During my volunteer time I met many clients and was surprised at the array of shopping purposes… and the creativity of some of them.
I met people who were shopping to:
- purchase antiques to refurbish and sell on eBay
- purchase antique mismatched chairs to paint and create a shabby chic dining room set
- find boxes of tile and gallons of paint to be used for a school play set
- buy a used portable wheelchair to keep on hand for an elderly family member’s visit
- buy inexpensive glasses for a Girl Scout Troop to decorate and make centerpieces to donate to a local retirement home
One shopper told me they often came here for building materials because it not only was an affordable source of home improvement materials, but it allowed them to support the Habitat mission of housing for all.
I also learned that an added benefit to the store is that the donations divert tons of usable materials from local landfills.
In the end, I did a bit of shopping myself and left the day with two small vintage Limoges plates and two wooden bar-height stools in perfect, never-used condition. Perfect additions for my apartment!
I love bringing pieces from my volunteering to my home so that it is filled with memories and stories!
Habitat for Humanity is almost world-wide and you can easily find local chapters where you can volunteer to build homes, landscape, work in their Re-Stores like I did, or donate household items. You’ll find an amazing array of treasures and have a lot of fun!
THANK YOU for joining me this week!
To learn more about the Habitat for Humanity South Hampton Roads ReStore, or to make a donation (or drop off goods), please visit their website at: https://donate.shrhabitat.org/
Have ideas for additional charities for my 52 Weeks? Leave a comment below!