You've probably heard the phase "one man's trash is another man's treasure." Nothing could be truer for Grand Island Area Habitat for Humanity.
When the Habitat ReStore marked its fifth anniversary last month, they had reason to celebrate. Not only had they kept nearly 1.2 million pounds of usable home improvement products out of the landfill, they also made those products available to people on a budget, while generating income to build Habitat for Humanity homes.
On June 17, a home funded in large part by the Habitat ReStore saw its first Saturday with volunteer builders. Footings were formed and poured in the morning, while throughout the day, workers prepped concrete forms for the crawlspace walls.
$50,000 in ReStore proceeds are being directed to pay for construction of Grand Island Area Habitat's 92nd home in the area. Additional funding is coming from another Habitat recycling program, Cans for Habitat.
The ReStore is a home improvement thrift store selling new and gently used doors, windows, cabinets, plumbing supplies and fixtures, tile, hardware and more. Although many items are donated by individuals, businesses that are changing out product lines or purging excess inventory donate new items as well.
"The ReStore's goal has always been to raise money for our home building program," said Dana Jelinek, with Habitat for Humanity, "You might call it our five days a week fund raiser."
Jelinek went on to say that recycling has long been an avenue to raise funds for the organization. Back in 2001, the home building ministry started recycling aluminum cans as an income generator.
In the early years of Cans for Habitat, the Grand Island affiliate won several National recycling contests which brought in over $200,000. Even though there is no longer a National competition, people in the area can still recycle their aluminum cans at work, home and through events, such as Hear Grand Island. Over $682,000 has been raised in the last 16 years from Cans for Habitat.
"We can't say enough about how recycling has helped us do our work," said Jelinek, "There were many lean years when recycling proceeds kept us afloat."
Now, as the home building group celebrates the beginning of another affordable home, they express their gratitude to everyone who has participated in their recycling efforts.
"Your donations of everything from excess flooring to aluminum cans, have helped dozens of low-income home buyers realize their dreams of safe, affordable housing", added Jelinek.
To learn more about how Habitat for Humanity's housing and recycling programs work, or to volunteer, call 308-385-5510. Habitat is a non-profit housing program, helping qualifying low-income households build and purchase modest homes, while providing them with homeowner education.
Grand Island Area Habitat for Humanity is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year.