Habitat for Humanity of Summit County gears up for their inaugural Flip event, plus another volunteer-driven summer packed full of community building
by Sophie Franchi
If Home Depot added furniture to its in-store inventory, the result would look much like a Habitat for Humanity ReStore. Upon entering the vast warehouse, a DIY home renovator walks into a dream: aisles of paint supplies, building materials and safety materials; rows of doors, windows and gently used furniture.
While Habitat for Humanity is pretty well-known, few people know about the ReStores. Each ReStore supports its local Habitat affiliate, providing funding for home building and repair programs, while also keeping unused materials out of landfills. The ReStores are direct beneficiaries of Habitat’s Deconstruction program. Summit County residents and businesses who are working on remodel or demolition can coordinate with their local Habitat Deconstruction Team to help with removal of building material and accessories, which will either be sold at the ReStore, reused or recycled.
“Revenue covers the operations of the ReStore and its staffing and provides the revenue needed to support operations of the affiliate and assists us in building more new homes and repairing more new homes,” says Rochelle D. Sibbio, President & CEO of Habitat for Humanity of Summit County. “Overall the ReStore also benefits the customers who shop for items in providing discount pricing on building materials, furniture and appliances.” Besides the Deconstruction program, Habitat for Humanity of Summit County has a couple more programs that benefit locals. Their Home Construction program helps families achieve homeownership through sweat equity — future homeowners put in about 250 hours of work into the construction of their home at the build site alongside volunteers. The Women Build program invites women to work alongside construction professionals to gain experience while giving them the chance to take an active role in serving their communities and advocating for affordable housing. Their Home Repair program, “A Brush with Kindness,” (ABWK) helps low-income homeowners maintain the exterior of their homes.
The Neighborhood Reborn program is similar to ABWK, except it concentrates on several buildings on the same street, with only a two-day block of time to complete the project. This program began in partnership with Neighborhood Network two years ago. Now, Neighborhood Network is a program of Habitat for Humanity of Summit County, and the coordinator, Marissa Little, is now a Habitat employee. The next Neighborhood Reborn project will take place Thursday, August 23 and Friday, August 24 from 8:30 am – 3:30 pm. The project will remain in the Middlebury neighborhood, focusing this time on Arch Street, Upson Street and Adams Street.
“We have submitted for additional funding to Summa and hope to work with both Lowe’s employees and Summa employees to volunteer on the two days of each event as we partner with the residents to improve their community,” Rochelle says.
The ReStore is also holding a new event this month: Flip. While Habitat has previously asked local artisans to refurbish or repurpose items to be auctioned off in the past, this year they are holding a larger event, dedicated to the same concept. About a dozen artists and groups have picked up items to repurpose. The items will be auctioned off July 11-14 in the ReStore, with all proceeds to benefit the Home Construction program.
“In the past we have had artisans take items to repurpose for us and even high school art programs,” says Rochelle. “Larry Rider is a favorite partner of this type of event for us and he has taken old console stereos and turned them into wine cabinets, refinished an old cherry desk and chair and created some wonderful items for us to auction off.”
There’s still a little time left to pick up your free item to refurbish, but items must be returned to the ReStore by July 9. To participate, contact Anne Boyer, Marketing Manager at 330-745-7734 ext.214 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Other events to look forward to this summer include an annual golf outing on July 30 at the Country Club of Hudson. Habitat is looking for sponsors, golfers and hole sponsors and they’re collecting items for an auction at the event as well. They are also a partner of the August 3 concert in Cuyahoga Falls on Front Street and the 50/50 Charity Partner of the Akron RubberDucks at every home game. If you’re wondering how you can help with any of these programs, or events, just reach out. They have many open slots for volunteers.
“Volunteers are the lifeblood of Habitat and what we do,” says Rochelle. “Nearly 80 percent of each home build and home repair is completed with volunteers working alongside our construction staff.”