2018 marked the 50th anniversary of two events, one full of tragedy and one full of hope. On April 4, 1968, Civil Rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated. Just one week later, President Lyndon Johnson signed the Fair Housing Act, prohibiting housing discrimination based on the lines that so deeply divided our country, those of race, religion, national origin, and sex. When this became the law of the land, another step was taken toward realizing the dream of the Beloved Community. While Dr. King did not originate this term, he did popularize it as an ideal in many of his speeches and writings. The King Center in Atlanta, Georgia identifies the Beloved Community as "a global vision, in which all people can share in the wealth of the earth. In the Beloved Community, poverty, hunger and homelessness will not be tolerated because international standards of human decency will not allow it. Racism and all forms of discrimination, bigotry and prejudice will be replaced by an all-inclusive spirit of sisterhood and brotherhood." Because Habitat for Humanity International was founded on and operates by like-minded values, this past year also saw Habitat for Humanity International reaffirm its commitment to continue to do its part to help build the Beloved Community.
We believe we are likewise called to help build the Beloved Community here locally as we serve those in need of safe, decent, affordable housing in the counties of Prince Edward, Buckingham, Charlotte, and Cumberland. We believe none of our neighbors should be forced to live with mold on the walls, rotting floors, leaking roofs, poor plumbing, and other substandard issues simply because that is all their limited income can afford. At the other end of the spectrum, neither should they feel compelled to spend the majority of their income on decent housing, thereby leaving little for healthy foods, doctor's visits, and setting some aside for savings. Simply stated, stable and affordable housing changes everything for a family. Health is greatly improved, physically, emotionally, and mentally. Children do better in school. Economic opportunity increases. And as families volunteer in building their home and the home of another, they develop their own inner strength and are joined side by side with the community of volunteers, donors, and advocates that come together to build their home with them. As these new relationships are formed, as laughter is shared, as walls go up, we move one step closer to the Beloved Community. As the Farmville Area Habitat celebrates its 28th anniversary this month, we thank all who have joined together to build or repair 40 homes during that time. YOU are making an impact. YOU are the difference. As you read in these pages of highlights from 2018 and all that is to come in 2019, we invite you to continue in joining our hands as one and together build the Beloved Community.
2018 Year in Review
BUILDING THE BELOVED COMMUNITY
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Farmville Area Habitat for Humanity
2018 Year in Review
After months of hard work, LaShonda and her two boys cut the ribbon this past April at their new home, located in Farmville. This house had been empty for a time and Habitat was able to do a full home rehabilitation, while preserving some of the home's former charm, including the original hardwood floors. The Home Dedication was a joyful time as much praise was offered by the Pastor who led the house blessing and by LaShonda and members of a gospel group which had everyone smiling and singing.
Prince Edward County Public Schools and Fuqua School have partnered together to build a Habitat home with a local family. Called the Birdhouse Build, the name recognizes the Eagle and Falcon mascots of both schools. This build has enjoyed the full support of administration, faculty, staff, parents, and most importantly, the students. A leadership team has worked together to publicize the build, raise money for construction, and offer multiple volunteer opportunities for students and adults. In the spring of this year, a community basketball game was held at Longwood University, pitting a team of students from both schools against adults representing both schools. The victory went easily to the students. Close to 400 local residents came out to enjoy the game and many comments were expressed hoping this would become a new annual tradition. Each school found unique ways for their students to be actively involved. A group of four artists worked together to brainstorm a logo and the design seen on this page was the beautiful final product. Fuqua created an "externship" class, where a group of four young men spent their spring semester learning about construction and volunteering on the build site as part of their class. The carpentry class from Prince Edward used their workshop to build many of the house elements at school. The build site has been a hub of activity, bringing together not only volunteers from both schools, but also groups from Longwood University, Hampden-Sydney College, local civic groups including the Rotary Club of Farmville, and local businesses, including Wells Fargo. Beyond volunteering, many individuals and organizations have given as Birdhouse Build sponsors, and that entire list will be recognized as part of the Home Dedication Ceremony. Currently, the home is dried in, with roof, vinyl siding, doors, and windows all in place. As construction moves to the interior, we anticipate the day this Birdhouse Build will become a cozy nest, helping another local family sleep more safely and securely each night.
Currently, a full home rehabilitation is underway in Prospect, making an empty house like new and preparing for a future Habitat Partner Family to realize their dream in this rural three-bedroom retreat. The work, such as this, serving Prince Edward County could not happen apart from the generosity of many volunteers and donors, including the long-time support from the Walter J. Payne Foundation.
another buckingham build
Buckingham Build is the name of the local leadership team that serves Buckingham County in partnership with the Farmville Area Habitat for Humanity. They start and end every gathering in prayer which concludes with everyone holding hands in a circle and proclaiming, "Habitat is not a hand-out but a hand-up!" They exemplify the spirit of volunteerism and partnership, hallmarks of the Habitat method of building, so that it is never said that Habitat builds FOR a family, but instead builds WITH a family. Recently they gathered with family and friends of Doreen and her mother, pictured in the top left photo, for the Ground Breaking Ceremony for their new home construction beginning in Dillwyn. Although the temperature was bitterly cold for the celebration and the shovel turning of the new ground, hearts and smiles were overflowing with warmth and gratitude. Adding to the joy was the delivery of a new shed built by carpentry students from Buckingham County High School under the direction of their teacher, Morgan Smith. Volunteers working under the leadership of site supervisor Ralph Dunnavant, now on his third Habitat build in Buckingham, will brave the weather over these next few months with the goal of again celebrating at the Home Dedication and move-in date in March. Looking ahead, plans are underway to begin a home rehabilitation on a recently donated property in New Canton, seen in the bottom photo prior to any work being started, which will make a wonderful and affordable home for a Buckingham Habitat Partner Family.
All of this work is only possible as local residents, businesses, churches, and organizations embrace the vision of a community where everyone has a decent place to live. Many events make this possible, including support from places like Pino's of Dillwyn and Frida's Mexican Restaurant, both of which donated a portion of sales from special Habitat Dining Out Days. The continued support from organizations, including both Kyanite Mining Corporation and the Melvin C. Draft Family Foundation, are vitally important and greatly appreciated. This past year also marked the 3rd Annual Gospel Explosion, which has quickly become a signature event for Buckingham Build. It is a special time of testimony about how Habitat serves the community along with multiple local groups offering praise in song. A freewill offering is received and refreshments are enjoyed. Mark your calendars for the 4th Annual event on Saturday, March 30 at Crystal Cathedral in Dillwyn.
The Clarke family had reason to be joyful last Christmas. Just one week prior, they celebrated with new friends and old at the Home Dedication for their new home located in Dillwyn. This was another Habitat Home Rehabilitation, taking a home that had sat vacant and giving it a brand new life, including improvements so the family will have affordable utility bills in addition to the affordable mortgage. The Clarkes put in many tireless hours on their home and now have a dream come true.
NEW HOME TO BE BUILT
Growing up in Drakes Branch, Stella has lived in her current home for over 50 years. She and her two adult daughters, Martha and Dorothy, are so excited as they dream about their new home. The family home has served them well for many years, but the effects of time have led to multiple issues. This new home, built near other family members, will give them a solid, stable foundation for building new family memories for years to come.
The Charlotte County Partnership of the Farmville Area Habitat for Humanity started just a couple of years ago as local citizens expressed a desire to have Habitat in Charlotte County. The decision was made from the beginning to focus on repair work. To that end, the partnership began with the Habitat program known as A Brush With Kindness (ABWK). This serves individuals and families who already own their home but need help maintaining their safe, decent, affordable place to live. ABWK is designed to assist with minor, exterior repairs. Similar to the requirement that Habitat homeowners pay an affordable mortgage when their build is complete, participants in the ABWK program repay the material cost involved in their repair. Just as with new home construction, the fact that much of the work is done using volunteer labor greatly reduces the overall cost, leading to an affordable repayment plan for work they may not be able to get done by any other means. This past year, four homes received repairs, in Drakes Branch, Keysville, and Saxe. Work that was done included lawn care, porches, ramps, step repair, siding repair, gutter repair, and painting.
Beyond the ABWK program, the Partnership also had another opportunity similar to the previous year to do a full home rehabilitation of an empty home. Located in Keysville, work has recently completed on a total renovation of a comfortable two-bedroom home with a spacious front yard. This will be a wonderful home for a local family. Many local volunteers came together to work on this home. And proving that willing people of any age can find a way to lend a home, a group of children from Ash Camp Baptist Church in Keysville got down in the dirt and made some flower beds which will add a touch of beauty come spring.
The Charlotte County Partnership is also very excited for another step forward with the announcement of their first new home construction in the county. Read more about this exciting project in the box below.
As always this work would not be possible without the support of local residents who contribute with their time and their financial support. Many individuals, along with many churches and the ongoing generosity of the Charlotte County Lions Club, are helping to ensure a bright future for those in Charlotte County in need of safe, decent, affordable housing.
GROUND BREAKING SOON
This past June, the Home Dedication Ceremony was held for the very first Habitat home to be built in Cumberland County. Not only was this a great day of celebration for the family but for Cumberland as a whole, as the Farmville Area Habitat for Humanity has now officially expanded into full service of the county. Although it was blazing hot that day, nothing could diminish the smiles from all gathered to rejoice with Pam and her daughters as they cut the ribbon on their beautiful home. As part of the sweat-equity willingness to partner investment made by all Habitat homeowners, Pam and her family worked well over the required 200 hours. They were joined by many local volunteers. The wonderful partnership with Cumberland County Public Schools continued as the second shed built by the carpentry class under the leadership of teacher David Sullivan was delivered to Pam's home. Some volunteers were not so local. The Kindness Matters Club, made of students from Central High School in Lunenburg County, made the trip over to Cumberland multiple times and volunteered with much enthusiasm, as can be seen in the top left photo. Beyond being the first Habitat home in Cumberland, this build was set apart by another aspect. Each Habitat build has a site supervisor who leads the day to day building. For Pam's home, that position was filled by her father Carl, a retired contractor. During the dedication, Pam gave her dad a big hug and said to everyone, "I couldn't have done this without my dad!" The picture on the bottom left captures that touching family moment. Beyond Pam's home dedication, the Cumberland leadership team is currently working to recruit more members of the core team, along with those interested in volunteering on the upcoming build. Continuing to spread the seeds for Habitat, they recently participated in the Cumberland Community Day held at the Middle School, giving out information to adults along with fun prizes for the children.
Although the work of Habitat is new to Cumberland, they are ready for the task. Having completed their first build, the team is now preparing to build with Tarika and her family. A new home will offer a much needed addition of space as the children grow and will help them have a stable foundation to thrive. Tarika has gone above and beyond in her commitment, always willing to lend a hand at Habitat events and in the office. Now it's Cumberland's turn to lend her a hand.
At the recent Golden Hammer Awards, Patty Pedrick was recognized for her work in helping Habitat begin in Cumberland. In addition to the many ways she is already involved in community service in Cumberland, she has taken on the role of Chair of the Cumberland leadership team. She, along with the others on the team, are ready to work hard and make sure that Habitat will flourish in Cumberland for years to come.
The ReStore is a home improvement center that accepts donations of gently used items and sells them to the public. The proceeds generated help further the mission of the Farmville Area Habitat for Humanity to serve those in need of safe, decent, affordable housing. But it is so much more than that. The ReStore is a place to DONATE, SHOP, and VOLUNTEER. By donating, people can give their items a second life instead of simply disposing of no longer needed items. Donations can be brought to the ReStore or scheduled for pick-up on the ReStore truck. Shoppers at the ReStore have a great opportunity to purchase needed items at a deeply discounted rate. You never know what you might find at the ReStore, whether a comfortable recliner, dining room table, shingles, refrigerator, windows and doors, and a little of everything in between. The ReStore is also a great place to volunteer. Extra hands are always needed to help clean items, place them on the showroom floor, and assist customers in a variety of ways. Many local individuals and groups give of their time to serve, including many organizations from the local high schools, Longwood University, and Hampden-Sydney College.
This past year, the ReStore hired a new manager, Sara Beachum (pictured top left). While new to the position, she was not new to the ReStore. She had spent the previous two years as the ReStore truck driver overseeing customer donations. When Matt Ridout, longtime ReStore Manager, shifted his role to Construction Manager, Sara came on as the new store manager. Sara brings a vast experience in retail operations and has brought some great new perspective to the ReStore. In her efforts to bring an even greater level of professionalism, customers can now easily identify staff and volunteers by the bright blue ReStore vests. A new system of tagging items for sale and a new method of rotation of items for sale have also generated attention on the part of the customers. Sara's hard work is showing as the ReStore has enjoyed a great year, including one particular day that was the second highest day of sales ever for the Farmville ReStore.
To stay up to date on the inventory and happenings at the ReStore, follow on Facebook at Farmville Area Habitat for Humanity ReStore and on Instagram at farmvillearearestore.
SANTA IS COMING TO THE RESTORE
Recently the ReStore received a mystery donation that quickly became a focal point as many customers asked to purchase it. However, this is not for sale. This is a special mailbox where children may come by and deposit their letters to Santa. On Saturday, December 22nd, there is a special Santa Mail event at the ReStore from 10:00AM-12:00PM. Santa will be there to enjoy refreshments with the children, read stories, and take pictures. At noon he will whisk away all the letters as he returns to the North Pole to prepare for the big day.
Each November, the Golden Hammer Awards bring Habitat homeowners, volunteers, and donors together to celebrate another year of achieving the mission of safe, decent, affordable housing. It takes the support of many individuals and organizations to realize this vision and this evening serves to highlight the work of a few of them, noted in the column to the right. The highlight of the evening is always the homeowner panel, hearing stories and sharing laughter and tears as Habitat Partner families share their experience.
Another great fall event for Habitat is the newer addition of the Habitat for Humanity Pig Roast. Now in its second year, the evening saw a great crowd come together at the Farmville Community Marketplace to enjoy food from The Fishin' Pig, craft beer from Third Street Brewing Company, and toe tapping music from Stoney Ridge. We thank all that came out to make this night a success. We especially thank the many local sponsors, noted to the left, who generously gave at various levels. A great time was had by all and most importantly, the money raised will allow even more of our neighbors to experience a world where everyone has a decent place to live.
FRESH BOYS CLUB
PUCKETT FUNERAL HOME
VIRGINIA PAVING AND SEALCOATING
FARMVILLE UNITED METHODIST CHURCH
WELLS FARGO FOUNDATION
GIFTS IN KIND
MILLIGAN CUSTOM CABINETRY
VENTURE INVESTMENTS, LLC
UNITED WAY OF PRINCE EDWARD COUNTY
MARK AND LAURA FRENCH
PRINCE EDWARD COUNTY PUBLIC SCHOOLS
MELVIN C. DRAFT FAMILY FOUNDATION
The Farmville Area Habitat for Humanity has long enjoyed a wonderful partnership with Hampden-Sydney College and Longwood University. The relationship was reinvigorated this year through Habitat Campus Chapters. At HSC, the Campus Chapter has been active for years but is newly reformed with eager leadership ready to continue the tradition of Tigers serving their local community. At Longwood, the Campus Chapter marks a new venture and Abby Souder, pictured at right, was recognized at the Golden Hammer Awards for her efforts in making this happen as the new Chapter President. Regarding HSC, pictured at top right are the students, along with Professor Pam Fox, who participated in a summer photography class. The result was a stunning photo exhibition entitled Home is the Key, focusing on both the mission of Habitat and on its homeowners. Students learned to document the stories shared by Habitat Partner Families and volunteers and in doing so developed a deeper understanding of the importance of community coming together to care for and celebrate with one another.
This year, Habitat welcomed two new members to its Board of Directors. Donna McRae-Jones, retired, brings a vital connection to Buckingham County as the Chair of the Buckingham Build leadership team and as an active leader in many other local Buckingham organizations. John Miller, Associate Professor of English at Longwood University, brings a deep connection to the Farmville area. He has been a vital asset serving on the Donor Relations Committee. Habitat also welcomes Ryan Mast to the construction team. Ryan is a member of Americorps National Service, giving a year of service to help strengthen the community by serving with Habitat.
Did you know that all Habitat Homeowners pay an affordable mortgage, take homeownership education classes, and invest between 200 and 400 hours of sweat-equity, volunteering on their own home and another Habitat home?
The open application period to become new Habitat Partner Families recently closed. Following a thorough assessment of need, ability to pay an affordable mortgage, and willingness to partner, final selections will be made in January. Stay tuned for the announcement of our new partners in February.
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