A Home To Be Proud Of

A Home To Be Proud Of

By Amanda Wurtz, HFH PR Committee

A safer neighborhood and a deeper sense of home. Those are just a couple of ways that life has improved for Habitat for Humanity homeowner Coreen Graham and her children, Raquel, 14 and Austin, 19.

“Moving here was amazing,” said Coreen, who has lived in the north Moorhead home with her children since 2008. “I feel proud of where I live.”

Coreen’s last home was a 1970s trailer with two bedrooms and one bathroom. It had character. Electrical issues meant they couldn’t have more than two appliances operating at once or the walls would heat up and smell like dead fish. Space issues meant that family members and friends weren’t able to stay overnight. Concerns of neighborhood safety and being near highly traveled Highway 10 meant her children were restricted in the areas where they could play and ride their bikes. And the list went on.

“I didn’t have friends over very often because other people’s homes were nicer,” added Raquel.

While the monthly trailer fees were affordable and she was able to save money, Coreen felt completely stuck with her housing situation. “I wanted something better but I didn’t think I could do it.”

In 2007, she contacted a bank and was pre-approved for a home loan. But, every home that she looked at within the loan approval range didn’t put her in a much better spot than the trailer. Even the one that she was ready to put an offer on would have meant that she would have to go on food assistance to make ends meet.

That’s when she decided to pursue applying for a Habitat for Humanity home as her sister Danette had recommended. That fall, she filled out the application thoroughly and continued through the interview and home visit steps.

In early 2008, Coreen learned that she was chosen as a partner family for the upcoming build season. She was volunteering at the Habitat ReStore that day and couldn’t contain her emotions. She hugged Habitat volunteer Mary Jane Haugen and ran home to tell a friend who danced around the room with her. The announcements to friends and family continued to be met with tears of joy and shouts of happiness. “I put together Bob the Builder bags tool kits and put a simple message of ‘I got it’ in the bags,” Coreen recalls. “I left the bags at people’s houses or had another person give it to them and the reactions were incredible.”

She quickly embraced her sweat equity hour requirements and volunteered more than 500 hours that year, well above the 250 hour minimum. “I took vacation during the Blitz Build week and when I wasn’t working, my kids and I were putting in volunteer hours with Habitat for Humanity.”

Gratitude filled her heart and out-poured in her actions towards volunteers and donors. “I wrote individual thank you notes and also made gift baskets for some of the crew leaders,” Coreen said.

Soon, the home was completed and the dedication was underway. This is the place that they call home and feel secure in their living space. The neighborhood is safe and the families in the area look out for one another, explained Coreen. “We’re all like one big family.”

The smile on her face doesn’t go away as she describes so many ways her life has changed since the day she moved into the simple, affordable 3 bedroom, 2 bathroom home.

For years, Coreen and Raquel were sharing a room and now they each get their own. They have two bathrooms which is more accommodating for the family and guests. Birthday and holiday parties are more comfortable because the living space has doubled. Family members are able to stay over on occasion.

And, when Coreen learned that her Dad had stage 4 lung cancer, she had the space to care for him in her house. “To do this, Raquel and I had to share a room again for a couple of months, but it was worth it to have that time with him before he passed away.”

Other things have improved for Coreen as well. The new home location placed the children on the bus route to St. Joseph Catholic School. “The bus didn’t stop near our trailer and when I worked early mornings at McDonald’s, I had the kids stay over at my Mom’s house to bring them to school.”

She’s now working for Clay County in the Social Services Department and the days of juggling two jobs and working weekends are behind her. “I have a regular work schedule,” said Coreen. “Being home means so much. This place is home.”

Although Coreen knew little about Habitat for Humanity when she applied for her home, she has become a strong supporter of the mission. She’s even served on the Family Selection Committee in recent years. “Anytime they call me to help with something, I am there if I am available. There is no way I can pay them back for what they did for me and my family.”

If you’d like to help a family like the Grahams change their lives for generations to come, please consider a donation to Lake Agassiz Habitat for Humanity. DONATE TODAY!  You can also text Home50 to 41444 to donate.

If you would like to receive our newsletter and other updates, text Home50 to 51555.

 

ReStore Committee Spotlight, Preston Johnson

We at Lake Agassiz Habitat are fortunate to have so many amazing volunteers! Our ReStore committee helps raise and maintain the community awareness of ReStore and spread the word on the benefits of utilizing the store. The members play an integral role in Habitat’s growth and are responsible for sharing Lake Agassiz Habitat ReStore’s values, mission and goals with the people living in Cass and Clay counties. Meet Preston Johnson!

Preston Johnson, Sundog, Writer

 

How long have you been on the ReStore Committee?

I joined the Restore Committee in 2011.

Why are you involved?

I helped get the ReStore’s current building ready for opening as part of a volunteer project in college. After I graduated, I stayed involved by joining the committee.

What’s your role in the committee?

I spend most of my time on the team contributing to our team’s marketing and advertising activities for the ReStore.

ReStore Committee Spotlight

We at Lake Agassiz Habitat are fortunate to have so many amazing volunteers! Our ReStore committee helps raise and maintain the community awareness of ReStore and spread the word on the benefits of utilizing the store. The members play an integral role in Habitat’s growth and are responsible for sharing Lake Agassiz Habitat ReStore’s values, mission and goals with the people living in Cass and Clay counties.

Shelby Cochran, DogIDs.com

How long have you been on the ReStore Committee?

Since 2012.

Why are you involved?
I really enjoyed working with this committee while I served at LAHFH ReStore and wanted to continue helping out where I could. ReStore has a great mission that I love sharing with new people!

What’s your role in the committee?
Mostly I use project management experience in coordinating our committee’s projects as well as communication in networking with others for projects. Having that year of working full time with Habitat, I also have a lot of expertise as far as what the ReStore has done in the past and what I learned in my experience that I can apply to our projects.

4 Ways to Turn Spring Cleaning Trash into Treasure

What’s your favorite thing about spring? The warm, sunny weather? The green grass and blooming flowers? The piles of junk on the curbside?

It’s the time of year for spring cleaning, and everyone’s throwing out their old furniture, appliances and more. But what if you could turn those trashed items into treasure?

With a few supplies and a little DIY effort, it’s possible to turn that junk into something completely new and functional—while keeping it out of the landfill. Whether you’re scoping out the sidewalks for something to revamp or ready to repurpose something of your own, give one of these spring upcycling projects a try.

1.    If you have an old couch

For a cozy place to enjoy the warmer weather, turn your discarded couch into a cozy outdoor daybed. All it takes is an old sofa, recycled wood and some elbow grease.

 2.    If you have an unused refrigerator

Spring is a great time to throw the first backyard barbecue of the season. Keep your drinks cold by turning your old refrigerator into an ice chest with just a friend and some lumber.

 

3.    If you have an empty dresser

 

To get your garden growing, turn your old, abandoned dresser into a potting bench. With
some handiwork and paint, it’s the perfect storage space for your pots, seeds, soil and tools.

 

 

 

 

4.    If you have a discarded headboard

Swing into spring with a unique piece of furniture for your front porch. Turn your unused headboard into a porch swing with the help of a few other upcycled materials, some pillows and paint.

 

 

 

 

Remember, if you have any usable furniture, appliances or home improvement items that you aren’t ready to repurpose, donate them to ReStore! Your donations are tax-deductible and we can do all the heavy lifting for free—just give us a call at 218-284-5253 ext. 3 to schedule a pick-up.

Habitat for Humanity ReStore is located at 210 11th Street North in Moorhead, Minnesota. Our hours are 10:00 am – 6:00 pm Monday through Friday and 10:00 am – 4:00 pm Saturday. Visit us online at lakeagassizhabitat.org.

This CleanUp Week – Make A Difference with Habitat ReStore

Have you started your spring cleaning? If you are a resident of the Fargo-Moorhead area, you are likely getting ready for Fargo-Moorhead’s Cleanup Week, held this year on May 5-9. Every year, residents of Dilworth, Moorhead, Fargo, and West Fargo have this week to dispose of tires, appliances, and other large items at no charge on their regular garbage collection day.

 

 

This CleanUp Week, there’s a great opportunity to get rid of unwanted items in an environmentally sustainable way that also supports the local community.  Consider donating your new and used building materials, and furniture to Habitat ReStore and receiving a tax deduction! Habitat ReStore even accepts donations on materials that can’t be disposed of during Cleanup week.

Habitat ReStore is a home improvement thrift store that has a three-fold mission: to divert usable materials from area landfills, to offer a low cost option for shoppers doing home improvement projects, and to raise money to support Habitat for Humanity.  By giving their donations another life, Habitat ReStore is able to divert almost 500 tons of materials from area landfills annually!  All proceeds from Habitat ReStore support Lake Agassiz Habitat for Humanity as they build simple, decent, and affordable homes in partnership with families in Cass and Clay counties.

Cleanup Week Rules

Each city has their own specifications, which can be found on the Cleanup Week website. 

1. Separate items of the same type into distinct piles (tires, appliances, furniture, brush, household garbage, etc.). Separate trucks collect the items.

2. Place garbage in disposable containers, except for oversized items.

3. Items will be collected on your normal garbage pickup day. Do not set items out more than one day early.

4. Crews will not return to pick up garbage set out too late.

5. Remove refrigerator and freezer doors. Do not place food or any other waste inside appliances.

 6. Items must be from residences; no commercial waste will be accepted. Keep household garbage at least four feet away from other Cleanup Week items.

If you have home improvement materials that are in usable condition or are not accepted by the city, consider supporting your community and the environment by donating to Habitat ReStore and getting a tax deduction!

Drop Off: Bring your donation to Habitat ReStore, 210 11th Street North, Moorhead during store hours, which are 10-6 Mon – Fri and 10-4 Saturday.

Pick Up: Call (218) 359-0812 to schedule a FREE donation pick-up.

For a list of accepted donations, please visit our webpage

 

5 Easy Ways to Start Living Green

You probably have a daily routine established—from a shower and cup of coffee in the morning to a home-cooked dinner and cup of tea in the evening. But do you ever take a moment to consider how much water you use? How much waste you generate? Earth Week is a great time to analyze your impact on our planet. Get an easy start with these 5 tips to jump-start your green living—and check out even more tips from HGTV.

1. Upgrade to a high-efficiency showerhead
Your typical morning shower could be costing you close to 50 gallons of water. Replace your old showerheads with newer, more efficient models and you’ll save up to 3,000 gallons of water per year—plus 1,000 pounds of carbon dioxide and $50 in energy costs.

2. Make your lighting more efficient
Replace old light bulbs in your home and halogen bulbs in your yard with more efficient compact-fluorescent bulbs or LED lights—you could reduce the amount of energy you use by over 80%. For outdoor lights, consider installing motion sensors.

3. Use a compost bin in your backyard
Compost is great for your garden AND keeps your trash can empty! Collect “green” waste like food scraps, tea bags and coffee grounds and layer them in a compost bin with “brown” waste such as leaves and shredded paper. You’ll end up with nutrient-rich soil for your yard.

4. Keep track of your trash output
Monitor the amount of trash you generate over the course of a week, from empty bags to disposable cups, paper and more. The result might surprise you. Then explore alternative options to help cut down on that waste, like reusable bags and coffee mugs.

5. Donate to ReStore
ReStore helps keep usable materials like lumber, furniture and appliances out of local landfills. Instead of throwing away old building materials and household goods, donate these items to ReStore where they’ll be repurposed and reused!

Find out what you can donate to ReStore—then give us a call at 218-284-5253 ext. 3 if you
need your items to be picked up!

Habitat for Humanity ReStore is located at 210 11th Street North in Moorhead, Minnesota. Our hours are 10:00 am – 6:00 pm Monday through Friday and 10:00 am – 4:00 pm Saturday. Visit us online at lakeagassizhabitat.org.

 

Happy Earth Day!

April 22nd marks a global event in which people across the world show their support for protecting the environment. In fact, many individuals and groups celebrate Earth Week, participating in acts of environmental appreciation for several days.

At Lake Agassiz Habitat for Humanity ReStore, we like to think of it as an Earth Year, and we make an effort to protect our environment every day — by reducing waste of building materials and household items. ReStore stocks its shelves with gently used materials donated by members of the community. The result? More than 4 million pounds of materials have been diverted from local landfills through ReStore. Last year alone, 1,214,089 pounds of usable goods was kept from landfills because ReStore recycled, reused and revamped the items.

In addition to keeping these goods out of landfills, the ability to sell these gently used products has allowed ReStore to continuously support Habitat for Humanity’s efforts to build affordable homes in the FM community.

Not convinced yet?

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the U.S. produced approximately 251 million tons of trash in 2012. While small percentages of this trash was able to be recycled or combusted, a large amount still ended up in landfills. In fact, the EPA estimates that 2.9 pounds of waste per person, per day, ended up in landfills in 2012. This totaled to 135 million tons of waste ending up in landfills — in the year 2012 alone.

The best way to keep these items from the landfills is to recycle them. You may already recycle your aluminum cans, plastic bottles and newspapers — why not consider recycling your building materials and household goods as well?

Here’s what we accept:

  • Cabinets, up-to-date and not damaged
  • Plumbing, usable fixtures, parts and supplies
  • Electrical, usable fixtures, parts and supplies
  • Windows, insulated glass, no broken glass, no sashes accepted
  • Hardware, knobs, hinges, locks, nails, cabinet pulls, nuts, bolts, screws
  • Lumber, clean, no cracks, splits, nails
  • Doors and door accessories
  • Roofing, no scrap metal materials please
  • Tools, hand, garden, working power
  • Flooring, wood (clean), ceramic tile, vinyl
  • Millwork/trim, wood casing and base (clean), vinyl base, ceramic
  • Furnaces and air conditioners
  • Large Appliances, any condition
  • Furniture – no rips or stains
  • Paint, full gallons, less than 2 yrs old
  • Kitchen and bath fixtures, neutral color
  • Bricks

And here’s what we cannot accept:

  • Broken bricks
  • Broken glass or Mirrors
  • Open or partial cans of paint
  • Paint thinner or other hazardous or toxic chemicals
  • Pesticides
  • Unframed glass
  • Open or used wallpaper
  • Used carpet
  • Beds, mattresses or bed parts
  • Carpet pads
  • Window screens or Storm windows
  • Window treatments, i.e. shades and curtains
  • Partial sheet goods (less than ½ sheet)
  • Window parts and pieces

 

Thank you for helping the ReStore protect the environment and support the building of affordable homes in our community. We hope this is your best Earth Day yet.

Lake Agassiz Habitat for Humanity ReStore is located at 210 11th Street North in Moorhead, Minnesota. Our hours are 10:00 am – 6:00 pm Monday through Friday and 10:00 am – 4:00 pm Saturday. Visit us online at lakeagassizhabitat.org or call 218-284-5253 to arrange a pickup.

 

 

Eastwood Elementary Raises $7,373 for Lake Agassiz Habitat for Humanity

Class Representatives along with Dr. Henry, Rob Rich, Habitat board members Angie McCarthy and Leann Wolff, and Bell State Bank & Trust Representatives Doug and Dave

A BIG thank you to the students, staff and teachers of Eastwood Elementary in West Fargo. They put on a penny drive that raised a whopping $4,373.98, which included a $1000 check as part of Bell State Bank & Trust‘s Pay It Forward program.

 

 

 

Dave Idso from Bell State Bank & Trust presenting Rob Rich the Pay it Forward Checks with Dr. Paula Henry, Eastwood Elementary principal.

 

An additional three people from Bell State gave their Pay it Forward checks to Habitat, for a total of $7,373.98. Rob Rich, Executive Director, and Pete Christopher,Habitat Resource Development and Marketing Manager went to Eastwood on Friday to accept the change (alot of change) and checks. Thanks Eastwood Elementary and Bell State Bank! Your generosity will go a long way to help us build simple, decent and affordable housing for those in need.

For more information about this event, volunteering, donating or general inquiries, please contact habitat@lakeagassizhabitat.org.

 

Public Relations Committee Spotlight

Lake Agassiz Habitat for Humanity is very grateful for all of the outstanding volunteers and would like to recognize one committee in particular. The Public Relations (PR) Committee is a diverse, volunteer-driven group composed of area professionals with backgrounds in public relations and marketing. They play an integral role in our growth and are responsible for sharing Lake Agassiz Habitat for Humanity’s mission with the people living in Cass and Clay counties.

 

Angie Ryan, NetWork Center, Inc., Marketing Director

How long have you been on the PR committee? Since 2006.

Why are you involved? ”I believe in Habitat’s mission and have seen first-hand how Habitat is changing lives in our community. I love to see how families have been positively affected by the work of Habitat volunteers from the work done on a build site to the behind-the-scenes work of Habitat’s many committees. It is incredible to see the elation and sense of pride and accomplishment in the homeowner’s eyes when they receive the keys to their new home.”

Why is Habitat an important organization?  “Through Habitat for Humanity, those who may not have the means to overcome their hardships by themselves are given the hope of conquering adversity with the help of volunteers. They are truly given a hand up by Habitat and all who support Habitat’s mission.”

 

Kaitlin Kluver, KLJ, Aviation Project Assistant

How long have you been on the PR committee? Since January 2013.

Why are you involved?  “Habitat for Humanity helps families start again, giving them the opportunity to build a home in every sense of the word.”

Why is Habitat an important organization? “I enjoy serving alongside of the other community members who believe in Habitat’s mission to put God’s love into action… bringing people together to build homes, communities and hope.”

 

 

Bryce Goodell, Public Relations Specialist, The Promersberger Company

How long have you been on the PR committee? Since 2006.

Why are you involved? “I believe in the mission of Habitat and enjoy helping our local families.”

Why is Habitat an important organization? “I feel that Habitat is important because safe, decent and affordable housing is a great foundation for families. In addition, I believe it gives them a sense of security and pride.”

 

 

 

 


Heidi Knutson, Western State Bank, Vice President/Sales & Marketing Director

How long have you been on the PR committee?  Since 2012.

Why are you involved? “I am involved so I can help spread the word to the community about Lake Agassiz Habitat for Humanity.”

Why is Habitat an important organization? “Lake Agassiz Habitat is a great organization to be a part of because you can help in so many ways. You can serve on a committee, you can donate money, you can help with a home build, and much more. It takes so many people to volunteer their time, money and efforts to help a family have a chance to have a home to call their own. Without the LAHFH some children may not know what it’s like to have their own room, their own yard or a place to sit down as a family for dinner. I feel fortunate that my small efforts along with thousands of others that volunteer/donate can help make this a reality.”

Katie Sullivan, Ulteig, Marketing Communications Specialist

How long have you been on the PR committee? Since 2013.

Why are you involved? “Last year, I participated in a Women’s Build through a previous employer. After that experience, I was hooked and wanted to become more involved. I was inspired by Lake Agassiz’s commitment to helping community members realize their dreams of homeownership, but I’m not that handy with a hammer. That’s why I decided to join the PR committee.”

Why is Habitat an important organization? “Habitat makes a noticeable difference in our community by bringing decent and affordable housing to those in need. After meeting families that have been touch by the non-profit, I am comfortable saying that Habitat not only helped them afford a home, but also assisted them in developing meaningful life skills, such as financial responsibility”

 

Emalee Hedberg, Marketing Intern at NetWork Center, Inc

How long have you been on the PR committee? Since 2013.

Why are you involved? “I want to use my design skills to help benefit an organization that has such a great and positive impact on the community.”

 Why is Habitat an important organization? “Habitat is an organization that directly impacts the community. They build hope for families, provide stable housing, and continuously fight against poverty. It is so great to be a part of an organization that brings people together to serve others and put God’s love into action.”

 

If you are interested in joining a Lake Agassiz Habitat for Humanity committee or would like more information about volunteer opportunities, please email events@lakeagassizhabitat.org or call us at  218-284-5253. Hope to hear from you soon!

These 6 Upcycled Projects Were Made Right at ReStore

Upcycled home projects have become one of the coolest ways to DIY. From re-purposed light fixtures that bring new style to a room to doors that function as tables, there are so many ways to upcycle old furniture and fixtures into new and unique pieces.

That’s exactly what a few staff members at ReStore have been doing. By putting some TLC into old, donated pieces, they’ve been able to turn them into completely new—and sellable—furnishings. All the materials used for these 6 projects came right from ReStore—and the amount each piece cost to make just might surprise you.

Upcycled Vanity 
It didn’t take much to give this old vanity a cool modern update. The vanity was sanded and painted white. Then a 2×12 piece of lumber was stained, sealed with 3 coats of polyurethane, and made into a counter top. The addition of a vessel sink and tall faucet added extra flair to this piece.
Total cost of ReStore materials (not including sink and faucet): $30

School Door Coffee Table 
The antique wood used to create this table makes it a one-of-a-kind centerpiece for a room. The old school doors used in this project previously decorated the walls in the ReStore receiving room, and a piece of early-1900s hardwood salvaged from a deconstruction job was used for the bottom shelf. All it took to produce this unique table was some cutting, sanding, assembling and polyurethane sealing.
Total cost of ReStore materials: $35

Window Coffee Table 
This coffee table doubles as a functional storage space. An old window from a salvage deconstruction job was used, as was the same 1900s hardwood used in the school door coffee table. 4 spindles were cut down for the legs and the outside of the table was painted white. Then hinges were attached to the inside of the table so the window top could be opened, creating a great space for storage.
Total cost of ReStore materials: $20

Console TV Shelf
There’s no need to throw out an ancient console TV when you can make it functional! The insides of this old Zenith console TV were taken out and replaced with a middle shelf and a piece of wainscot on the back. The outside was painted Cool Breeze Blue and the inside was painted white.
Total cost of ReStore materials: $20

Door Mirror 
Here’s a creative and rustic way to display a mirror in a foyer, porch or other part of your home. This project was quick and easy—all it took was an old door and mirror. Some of the paint that was coming off the door was scraped away, and 3 coats of polyurethane were applied. Then the glass window panels were replaced with cut pieces of an old mirror.
Total cost of ReStore materials: $15

 

 

 

Upcycled Light Fixture 
Transforming an old light fixture into a more contemporary piece can completely change the look of a room—and it was a really simple project for the ReStore staff. This fixture was spray painted with metal paint. Then the globes were replaced with more modern ones from ReStore. Done!
Total cost of ReStore materials: $10

It’s amazing what you can create on a budget. Find these and more upcycled projects on the ReStore Facebook page at facebook.com/lahfhrestore. And don’t forget to stop into ReStore to check out our latest upcycled projects—or get the supplies to make your own!

Lake Agassiz Habitat for Humanity ReStore is located at 210 11th Street North in Moorhead, Minnesota. Our hours are 10:00 am – 6:00 pm Monday through Friday and 10:00 am – 4:00 pm Saturday. Visit us online at lakeagassizhabitat.org.