ReStore C-K still in construction phase

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Habitat for Humanity executive director Nancy McDowell, left, proudly showcases the new ReStore location on Riverview Drive in Chatham. With her is Ontario Trillium Foundation member Patty Peters, Chatham-Kent CAO Don Shropshire and Mayor Randy Hope.
Habitat for Humanity executive director Nancy McDowell, left, proudly showcases the new ReStore location on Riverview Drive in Chatham. With her is Ontario Trillium Foundation member Patty Peters, Chatham-Kent CAO Don Shropshire and Mayor Randy Hope.

Plans for a Habitat for Humanity ReStore are well under way in Chatham thanks to a generous grant and local volunteers.

Habitat board members, staff and volunteers met May 21 at the organization’s new location at 566 Riverview Dr. to showcase progress on the store and offices and thank the Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF) for the three-year $368,200 grant that is helping to make it all possible.

Patty Peters, a member of the Trillium local grant review team, was on hand to announce the funds.

“Habitat for Humanity has done an excellent job of mobilizing and engaging volunteers in the community,” Peters said.

She added that the excellent business plan and track record of Habitat made the choice of supporting the ReStore project an “easy one.” The funds are being used to hire a full-time manager for the store, Kevin Carpenter, lease the rental space at the old Eaton-Yale factory and renovate the facility.

ReStore, according to Habitat executive director Nancy McDowell, will be a retail operation that accepts donations of new and gently used building supply materials and household goods. The bulk of the operation will be run by volunteers, who McDowell credits with the success of Habitat in the community.

“There are 83 ReStores, soon to be 84, across Canada run 90% by volunteers. That’s 525,000 volunteer hours,” McDowell explained. “Not only are volunteers essential but they also can learn skills that help them find employment.”

Two volunteers with last year’s first house build were able to find jobs thanks to their experience working on Habitat’s project, she said.

Mayor Randy Hope was also on hand to congratulate the board and volunteers and thank OTF for being a major factor in the community, “fulfilling dreams and opportunities.

“This is a great step up for Chatham-Kent. It’s been a long journey, but long journeys build character in who we are,” Hope said. “This project is giving an opportunity for people to back on their feet in this community.”

Municipal CAO Don Shropshire, who was a volunteer on the first home build last year, said the experience was great and he congratulated Habitat on the ReStore grant.

“This is a foundational piece of building Habitat’s future and a great step forward.”

McDowell said they hope to have the ReStore open this July and once that project is completed, they will focus on finding a qualifying family to start a new build next spring, and hopefully have enough funds to do two or three homes a year.

Drop-off days are continuing right now at the ReStore location, and members of the community can bring items to donate from 9 a.m. to noon May 24, June 7, 14, 21 and 28. For more information, check www.habitatchatham-kent.ca.

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