Got $10? Consider a monthly donation.

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by Greta Bush

Do you ever look at your credit card bill and wonder how it got to be so high? You didn’t make any major purchases. Then you look closely…$10 spent on a whim here, $6 spent there…it adds up! I, for one, can’t be trusted to walk into Target without a strict list or my husband holding onto my hand. (I kid! Sort of…) Everything is so pretty…so innovative…so alluring. And priced at that sweet spot! Meanwhile, I get to the checkout and immediately regret my life choices.

Think about how easily you spend $10 a month on consumer products without even realizing it. Now, consider making an intentional choice to make a recurring donation of $10 a month to Habitat! Asheville Area Habitat for Humanity builds affordable, energy-efficient homes and sells them to qualified buyers at no-profit. A monthly donation to Habitat’s #build828 sustained giving club will help Habitat raise money for this cause.

We’re all guilty of blowing cash from time to time. Here are some examples of how easily that money slips from our wallets…but would be put to better use supporting Asheville Habitat:

  1. Target

Let’s get real. Who only spends $10 on a Target run? Help build a house rather than filling yours with stuff from the Dollar Spot.

  1. Starbucks

$10 = 2 venti caramel macchiatos. Coffee tastes sweeter made in your own home—donate your money to Habitat to help keep housing affordable!

  1. Netflix

$10 is the cost of a monthly subscription. Rather than watching a family on reality TV, help change a real family’s future with a monthly donation to Habitat for Humanity.

Speaking of Netflix…

  1. T-mobile

Your Netflix subscription is included if you have T-mobile…so you’ve got an EXTRA $10 a month! Why not donate that money to a good cause?

  1. Spotify

$10 is the cost of a monthly subscription. Create a new soundtrack filled with the sound of kids playing safely outside in their Habitat neighborhood.

If this is ringing even a little bit true for you, click the button. Set it and forget it. #build828 is the kind of recurring spending we can all get behind!

 

Volunteer Spotlight: Susie Emerick

By Alex Cox

Every Tuesday, Susie Emerick arrives at the ReStore and begins organizing and preparing her work space. Susie works in the linens area of the store, a department that receives, cleans, and prices various fabrics that are available for purchase. These tasks aren’t for everyone, but Susie enjoys volunteering her time in this capacity.

Susie’s days of giving back to her community through volunteerism began more than 30 years ago. Before moving to Asheville more than a decade ago, Susie lived in Baltimore for 30 years. She volunteered with various organizations there, including a hospital. “I used to volunteer at the Children’s Hospital in Baltimore, which was very important,” Susie explained. “We usually received babies that had had surgeries or other procedures, and they were with us for a while before going home.”

Her volunteering with Habitat for Humanity began in Brunswick County (NC) before starting with Asheville Area Habitat more than 12 years ago. She and her husband volunteer on house builds occasionally, but most of her work with Habitat has been with the ReStore.

“When I first called to volunteer (in Asheville), this was the only department that needed help,” Susie said. “This is good because cashiers and other volunteers often need to stay all day and get here early, but I don’t have to. I can be kind of behind the scenes, which I like.”

The ReStore utilizes the help of 140 volunteers every week. Many are like Susie – rarely seen by customers because they are busy in the backrooms. But their work as just as important as the work done by volunteers on the showroom floor. Susie describes a normal day of volunteering in the linens area, and the importance of behind-the-scenes work at the ReStore. “We clean the items, organize them, and hang them up. After that, we determine what sizes things are. Customers want to know that information, and it’s hard to just judge what size sheets or other linens are. They need to be measured.”

“My favorite part of working here is that it keeps me busy, but it’s also relaxed. I’ve volunteered in many places in the past, and I like the pace here,” said Susie. “It’s always something different and it’s always changing. It’s never boring.”

Susie also volunteers with Animal Haven, a local organization that receives abused or neglected farm animals and domestic animals such as cats and dogs, and provides them shelter, food, and rehabilitation. They also work with other organizations such as Meals on Wheels and New Leash on Life to provide support for low-income households that have pets. “I like the hands-on work at Animal Haven,” Susie explained. “I clean the habitats and feed the animals, and recently we did a metal run, where we do a large recycling project with aluminum.”

So on this Thank You Thursday, we thank Susie for her service with the Asheville Habitat ReStore and other organizations that need hard working and passionate volunteers to help them reach their goals. She is committed to making a difference in her community, and we thank her for putting in the time and the energy to do so.

If you’re interested in volunteering with Asheville Habitat, please click here to learn more.

Making a Difference, Locally and Globally

By Madeline McIntyre

The ReStore is thanking a long-time volunteer and top-shelf recruiter this week. Sherry Griffith (picture above R, and C in group shot) has been volunteering at the ReStore for ten years now and has no plan on stopping anytime soon.

“It’s just fun,” Sherry says. “It certainly beats just being at home and not knowing what you’re going to do.”

Griffith spent her career as a special education teacher. After her retirement, she decided to begin volunteering in the community. She worked with another Asheville organization building houses, but found her true calling as an Asheville Habitat ReStore volunteer.

While Sherry eventually found her place in the front of the store, there was a brief period when she worked in the bookstore. She thought she would enjoy the quiet and being able to play her own music, but that was a short-lived experiment. She missed the continuous interaction that the front of the store brings.

“Everybody loves to tell you what they’re going to do with what they bought,” Sherry says. “You know, everybody’s doing unique things like buying coffee cups and saucers and making bird feeders out of them.”

You can find Sherry every Thursday morning working at the register, setting up displays, and talking with anyone and everyone. She has one of those magnetic personalities that naturally draws a crowd, including more ReStore volunteers. In her ten years, Sherry recruited three volunteers – all of them now volunteering on Thursdays.

Her pitch is simple.

“I just talk about how much fun it is, and that you get to meet people and see what they’re buying and what they’re doing with all their fun stuff,” Sherry says. “And they all need to do something else with their lives, so I talked them into it.”

But Sherry isn’t keeping her passion for volunteering and helping others in one place. She and her husband have served as a host family for Haitian youth who have come to Asheville through Lake Eden Arts Festival (LEAF), and last year she went to Costa Rica with LEAF. She met families and provided connections for those children who will travel to the area for future festivals. “It was cool, and it was fun,” Sherry says. “An average tourist would never get that experience.”

Costa Rica is just the beginning though. This weekend, she and several other volunteers are heading to Guatemala as part of a Habitat for Humanity International mission. Led by Asheville Area Habitat’s Joel Johnson, Sherry and the other volunteers will help Habitat Guatemala build one-room cinderblock homes and install clean burning stoves.

Her friend and fellow ReStore volunteer Rhonda McKenna is participating in this service trip, too. Sherry credits her opportunities for traveling to the connections she’s made while volunteering, saying that it’s difficult to travel by yourself, especially when her husband is still working. “I’m retired and one of my lifegoals was to travel more,” Sherry says. “And I’ve gotten to do that.”

We are incredibly lucky to have a volunteer who is so committed to the Habitat mission and bettering our community, locally and globally. We wish Sherry and the other volunteers luck and good wishes in Guatemala, but we are definitely going to miss her warmth and enthusiasm next week!

ReStore Manager Receives Lifetime Achievement Award

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DSC_0011At the recent national Habitat for Humanity Affiliate Conference in Atlanta, retired Asheville Habitat ReStore Manager Jay Sloan (L) was bestowed a Lifetime Achievement Award. He was one of three recipients nationwide to receive this prestigious award. Frank Reed, Senior Director of ReStore Support at Habitat for Humanity International acknowledged Sloan’s accomplishments and mentioned how the Asheville ReStore stands as an example for ReStores across the nation.

Jay Sloan managed the Asheville Habitat ReStore from 1999 to late 2012 when he began his succession plan and became Donations Manager until his retirement in June 2014. During his time as General Manager he oversaw a relocation of the store from its original Biltmore Avenue space to its current location at 31 Meadow Road, and in 2011, a major renovation of the store that doubled its square footage. By the time he retired, the Asheville ReStore was running smoothly with 160 volunteers each week, and was ranked the #3 ReStore in the nation for gross sales in one store (out of over 775 ReStores). Under his leadership, sales increased more than 800% during his 13 year tenure!

“Jay brought more than a background in big-box retail to our organization in 1999. He brought the knowledge and deep understanding that every dollar of ReStore revenue enables us to serve more families in Buncombe County. Jay communicated that sense of mission to ReStore staff, volunteers, donors and customers. When you couple retail experience with passion for the mission you see the results. Today, the Asheville ReStore is the #2 ReStore in the nation,” stated Lew Kraus, Executive Director.

A video of Sloan that was shown at the award ceremony can be viewed here.

Asheville Area Habitat to Benefit from Concert with Musical Patriarch Jim Avett

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NewSong is excited to announce the upcoming concert, ‘An Evening of Story & Song with Jim Avett.’ The show will begin at 7 PM on Saturday, June 6 in the beautiful and acoustically rich Sanctuary of downtown Asheville’s Central United Methodist Church (27 Church Street).

The concert is presented by Central United Methodist Church, in association with the Orange Peel, WNCW, NewSong Music and the Asheville Area Arts Council. Tickets are $17.00 in advance and $20.00 on the day of show, and are available for purchase online at theorangepeel.net. A portion of the proceeds will benefit Asheville Area Habitat for Humanity.

The son of a Methodist minister and a classical pianist, Jim Avett grew up in a home full of love and music, learning the importance of hard work and honest living. He and his wife instilled these same values in their children – including sons and musicians Seth and Scott of the Avett Brothers – and tempered them with a lot of fun and music. His guitar was an ever present instrument, and there was always singing.

As much as he enjoyed writing and performing his music, Avett put his family first and spent 35 years running his welding company, building bridges along much of the east coast in order to provide for them. After retiring from welding, he returned to music and recorded Jim Avett and Family in 2008, a collection of gospel music, with his children, Bonnie, Scott and Seth.

In 2010 he released Tribes, a collection of original tunes, followed by 2012’s Second Chance, which draws heavily on classic country and early rock and roll influences.

Avett now tours across the country, performing in listening rooms and festivals from the Southeast to Pacific Northwest to New England. His shows are a combination of beloved country tunes, gospel, original ballads and the stories he tells to introduce them.

www.jimavett.com
www.centralumc.org

DATE: Saturday, June 6
Doors: 6:30 PM EDT
Showtime: 7:00 PM EDT
Seated Show / All Ages

 

LOCATION:
The Sanctuary
Central United Methodist Church
27 Church Street, Asheville, North Carolina 28801
828.253.3316

TICKET PRICE:
$17.00 advance // $20.00 day of show
A portion of the proceeds to benefit Asheville Area Habitat for Humanity

PARTNERS:
Central United Methodist Church
Asheville Area Habitat for Humanity
The Orange Peel
WNCW
Asheville Area Arts Council

Update on the Student Build House

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Our Sponsorship Coordinator, Betsy Warren, writes wonderful updates for our house sponsors. We just had to share her latest one to the sponsors for the Student Build House (students and faculty at Asheville Christian Academy, Carolina Day School and Christ School). It’s a great peek into the goings-on here at Habitat. Take a look!

Student Build Construction Update

Wicked Weed_4.29.15 (4)Have you been out to the Hudson Hills jobsite lately to check on the progress of the 2015 Student Build House? It’s looking great! The photograph to the right was taken last Wednesday, April 29. The group on the porch is from Wicked Weed, who made a Blueprint Sponsorship  donation towards the Student Build House, solicited by Carolina Day School.
Notice the railing lining the roof of the house in the picture. That’s a safety system called the “Hugs.” The orange pins are clamped to the entire perimeter of the roof; once those are in place, boards are threaded through to create a fence. The Hugs system prevents volunteers or construction staff from tumbling to the ground.
Construction sites can be dangerous — we’re proud that our jobsite crew does everything possible to make safety the top priority.

Trish Wolfe enrolled in Homebuyer Class

PF classTrish Wolfe, the Partner Family for the Student Build House, is hard at work on her 250 required hours of Sweat Equity. Besides visiting both Asheville Christian Academy and Carolina Day School to meet and speak to students, she is currently enrolled in Habitat’s 50-hour Homebuyer Class. In those classes, Trish and other future Habitat homeowners will dissect and analyze the closing process and mortgage documents, as well as study such things as budgeting and basic home maintenance.
Last month, the Homebuyer class welcomed guest presenters from the Fire Department, where the topic was fire prevention and safety. That’s Trish on the far right, concentrating hard on the presentation.
In future classes, Habitat board member Skip Helms and volunteer attorney Brattan Gelder will teach Trish and the other Partner Families about asset protection, retirement planning, saving for education, health care directives, and simple wills. It’s no wonder our Partner Families are so well-prepared for homeownership and for the future by closing time!

Aerial View of Hudson Hills

HH-aerial_4.28.15 (3)Check out this aerial view of Hudson Hills, taken by a high-flying volunteer just this past week. That’s the Student Build House second from the left — look closely and you can tell the roof was in progress when the picture was taken. If you zoom in, you might see the faint outlines of the Hugs system lining the Student Build roof.
New homes are just beginning on both sides of the Student Build House — the house on the left has its first wall in place; the one on the right is just a foundation. Hudson Hills is a busy place! Come out when you can — you’ll be amazed at how the neighborhood has changed and grown since our kick-off celebration at the end of March.

See you on the jobsite!

Betsy

Another Home Repair Success Story

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The Barnard Family – Comfortable and Happy in Their Recently Repaired Home

Written by Pat Bacon, Habitat’s Family Support Specialist

When I pulled into the snowy driveway that faces the Barnard house, I could see a curtain move from one side of the window to the other, and before I could get out of my car and walk toward the front door, Angela Barnard had opened it and was standing on the front porch. Anticipating a visitor, a much-loved cat scampered underneath the house. Angela’s smile was welcoming as she invited me to come inside. She said that she had been waiting for me and in a pleasant voice, she called out to her husband, Neal, “Ms. Bacon is here. Come into the living room; she came from Habitat to talk with us.”

The living room was toasty and full of a variety of colorful artificial flowers. Neal said, “Ann (short for Angela) prefers artificial flowers to live plants because she doesn’t have to water them and there is always something pretty to look at in the room…. Ann likes pretty things.” Three of their twelve-year-old wedding pictures are proudly and prominently displayed on one wall. The wedding was in the living room and Ann did all the preparations for the wedding. A tall brown, beautifully dressed ceramic angel surrounded by sea shells reigns over the coffee table situated in the middle of the room. The angel, given to Ann by her mother, is bordered by two smaller angels, and Ann says, “Together they represent my mother, my sister and me.” She swallows because her mother and her sister are deceased, but Angela quickly recovers and says, “Now Neal is the focus of all of my attention.” With no hesitation Neal echoes Ann’s words, “And Ann is the focus of all of my attention.” They smile at each other knowingly; their devotion to one another obvious.

NRI_Barnard before and afterNeal and Ann have each known illness and stints in the hospital. Neal has also spent time in a rehabilitation facility to re-gain his ability to walk. Both are now recovering at a steady pace, mindful of their doctors’ directions, and equally mindful of each other.

When they realized that their house was in need of some repairs they knew that their combined, modest monthly incomes would not allow them to approach conventional repair sources. It was then that Angela remembered that she had heard about Asheville Area Habitat for Humanity’s repair program. After talking about it, just as they do everything else, Neal and Angela requested an application. They are both quick to say that from the onset Habitat’s staff was responsive and pleasant. They are appreciative of the way the staff carefully explained the application process, answered their questions and assessed the work that needed to be done.

And when the work was completed, they were very satisfied that it was well done and a good price. A new front door makes them feel safe and secure, and it also makes the approach to the house more attractive. An unsightly hole in the ceiling between the living room and the hallway has been repaired, and the new kitchen sink and cabinet makes Ann beam with delight. To top it all off, the kerosene heaters that they once used to keep themselves warm are now in a corner because they have a new HVAC system complete with floor registers and ducts.

Angela and Neal said that because the cost for the repair work was so reasonable, they will be able to make the payments with no trouble. They are actively telling other homeowners about Habitat’s Home Repair program, and Ann says, “I want others, like Neal and me, to know about this wonderful opportunity that helps people who just need a chance. We want other people to enjoy their homes like we do now. Habitat is a program that cares about people.”

As I prepare to leave, Angela invites me to see the kitchen. As I stand in the doorway, she pats the new cabinet around the sink and we smile at each other. We make our way to the front door and as she opens the door, the cat scampers back inside as fast as he came out. It’s a cold day outside, but it’s warm and toasty inside the Barnard house.

If you or someone you know is interested in our Home Repair program, please click here.

 

Rival High Schools Unite to Build a House

For the second time in Buncombe County, local high school students are raising funds and volunteering to sponsor an Asheville Area Habitat for Humanity home. The students will celebrate the start of the 2015 Student Build House with a wall raising ceremony on Friday, March 27th at 1:30 in Habitat’s Hudson Hills neighborhood in West Asheville. The event is open to the public.

Adding to their homework and after-school sports are “percentage nights” at restaurants, Hoops for Habitat, and school dances, among other fundraisers, to raise money for the house. Asheville Christian Academy and Christ School re-committed after their first successful Habitat Student Build two years ago, and Carolina Day School joined in this year. Each school will raise $18,333 to total $55,000. That’s a big chunk towards the $130,000 it takes to build a Habitat home: additional funds come from ReStore proceeds, individual donations, and current Habitat homeowner mortgage payments.

The partner family, Patricia (Trish) Wolfe and her two sons, are excited to get started. Trish is a Licensed Practical Nurse and Certified Nursing Assistant, and works at Mission Hospital. She is attending AB Technical Community College and will complete her associate’s degree in nursing this May. After purchasing her Habitat house, her next goal is to attain her bachelor’s degree in nursing. Trish posted on her facebook page: “In the midst of my final semester…the first wall to my family’s new house will be raised March 27th by a group of students. So cool that everyone in the house goes to school too.” Her home is expected to be completed in six months.

MANNA Sale on Saturday, March 21st Supports Two Important Issues

The Habitat ReStore will host a one-day food drive for MANNA FoodBank on Saturday, March 21 from 9am-6pm.  Customers who bring 5 cans of food will receive a 20% discount on purchases made that day.

Lack of safe, decent and affordable housing and hunger are both conditions of poverty.  Every day, Asheville Area Habitat for Humanity and MANNA FoodBank work to eradicate poverty housing and hunger, respectively. “This is the seventh consecutive year of our MANNA Sale and we hope that the 20% discount incentive will help us collect at least 800 pounds of food for MANNA FoodBank this year,” said Scott Stetson, ReStore General Manager.

The March 21st MANNA Sale at the Habitat ReStore is a great way for residents to simultaneously support two important issues facing our communities. Your ReStore purchase will help Habitat build and repair homes in this community – and your food donations for MANNA Foodbank will help feed our hungry and food-insecure neighbors. So buy a few extra cans at the grocery store and come by the Habitat ReStore on March 21st  to find a bargain and help your neighbors in need!

 

 

 

From Books and Gardens to Schools and Homes, Habitat’s Partnership with the Shiloh Community Continues to Grow

In 2014, we celebrated the completion of the nation’s very first “Pope Francis House”, an energy-efficient 4 bedroom/2 bath Habitat house in Shiloh that is now home to the Meadows family. This was the most recent of 41 single-family homes built by Asheville Area Habitat in the Shiloh community during the past 20 years. In the next 2-3 years, we will build 10 houses off Taft Avenue and a few others on in-fill lots.

New house construction is just one way in which Habitat has been involved in Shiloh, a historically significant community of Asheville. We have also completed numerous home repair projects for low-income homeowners, many of whom have lived in their homes for decades – like Eugene Rone. Work has included new roofs, siding repair and replacement, painting, heating system upgrades and more. All of this work is aimed at increasing safety, improving accessibility, and helping people live longer and better in the homes they already own.

Thanks to funds from Pisgah Investments Foundation and proceeds from the 2014 Biltmore Benefit ear-marked specifically for Home Repair projects in Shiloh, Habitat will do many more repair projects there in the next 1-3 years.

In 2013, Habitat helped build a storage shed and raised garden beds at the now-thriving Shiloh Community Garden.  Additionally, we were able to help the Community Association bring electric service to the garden and pavilion for the first time. Just recently, the Shiloh Community Association accepted a donation of land from Habitat, which sits behind the garden and adjacent to our Pope Francis House. Thrilled to have this parcel, the Association hopes a design professional will step forward to help them through the process of coming up with a vision for an expanded garden. Currently, classes and workshops are held at the garden, UNCA students and community residents raise fruits and vegetables in the beds, community yoga is offered Saturday mornings and the amphitheater (sponsored by Tupelo Honey) provides the community with a place for presentations and performances.

Another addition to the community came in the form of a Little Free Library (LFL). Dedicated last summer and located at the community garden across the street from the Shiloh Community Center, this LFL was the idea of a retired librarian living in the community and was constructed by Habitat volunteer Charlie Franck using some materials donated by Habitat. The initial collection of books came from the Habitat ReStore among other sources.

Last year, Habitat also partnered with Estes Elementary School. Though not geographically located within Shiloh, the school serves approximately 75% of elementary school-aged children who live in the Shiloh neighborhood. Habitat staff and volunteers built a storage closet, installed floors and painted walls in their new Community Resource Center. The Resource Center will provide food and clothing support for families of children attending the school and will work to connect those families to other resources in the community that they need.

Furthermore, just this week, one of our staff members, Ed McGowan, began teaching an 8-week Toastmasters Youth Training program. Held at the Linwood Crump Shiloh Community Center, it is a partnership with the City of Asheville’s Teenager Leadership Development Program.

Habitat is building off of a history of participation in the Shiloh community that started with new house construction back in 1992. Habitat is just one of many partners working alongside the Shiloh Community Association toward achievement of the goals laid out in the Shiloh Community Plan 2025 approved by Asheville City Council in 2010.  We are proud to leverage our skills and work alongside others with different proficiencies to work collectively to address needs that go well beyond housing.

Paul Reeves, Director of Construction Services for Asheville Area Habitat adds, “It is truly a pleasure for Habitat to be working in a community that has a clear vision for its future and residents who are organized, motivated and actively working toward increasing the quality of life for all of its community members. Shiloh has embraced our work in their community and sees us as a strong partner in providing affordable housing and home repair.”