Nonprofit Spotlight: Habitat for Humanity of Dane County

Posted by Samantha Haas on Tuesday, December 3rd, 2019 at 1:19pm.

Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter made headlines for rallying volunteers and building Habitat for Humanity homes into his nineties and even after a recent fall. 

It’s a reminder that regardless of age or ability, there are several ways you can contribute to causes that are close to your heart -- just like Habitat is for several members of the Mad City Dream Homes team. 

Take Maureen Moran, a Realtor who joined our team last summer, for example.

Maureen moved from New York to Middleton last July, and by the following month she was already volunteering with the Habitat ReStore, which sells used and new donations of furniture, doors, wood, cabinets, electrical, appliances, building supplies, lights, and fans. According to Habitat for Humanity, the Dane County ReStores have kept over 7,870 tons of building materials out of landfills, and their proceeds have helped build nearly a quarter of Habitat homes in Dane County.

Earlier this spring, three other members of our real estate team learned on-site how to install siding and flooring for two Habitat homes being built in the Renaissance On The Park neighborhood in Fitchburg. Habitat for Humanity of Dane County CEO Valerie Renk said that for over 30 years, Habitat has partnered with companies like ours to build over 291 homes to help “stabilize families and stabilize neighborhoods through homeownership.” See a video of our team helping build the homes here.

Every other Friday morning you’ll find Maureen at the west side Habitat ReStore at 5906 Odana Road (the east side location is at 4207 Monona Drive) wearing a Habitat T-shirt and a smile. That’s because she feels inspired; not only by Habitat’s mission of building homes, community, and hope, but also because the store is just a fun, welcoming place to volunteer and shop.

While merchandising, inventorying, and pricing items throughout the store, Maureen is likely also scoping out her next purchase to stage the homes she sells. Her go to? One-of-a-kind occasional chairs or new light fixtures and decorative mirrors that have been donated by a local company. And rather than go online or to a hardware store, Maureen often shops at the ReStores for odds and ends that need fixing around her own house, such as register covers. 

“It’s such a convenient store,” said Maureen, adding that the Habitat ReStore in New York was far away from where she once lived. So rather than make the drive to volunteer there, she and her family chose to help their church’s social outreach center fix up and paint homes and apartments for people in need on the east coast. “Everyone deserves a warm, safe place to live,” Maureen said, which is why she was so excited to volunteer with Habitat when she moved to Wisconsin.

With only three paid staff at Habitat ReStore West, the store typically has three times as many volunteers working per shift. “We have a really good team of volunteers who can be flexible to do almost everything we need them to do,” said ReStore West Manager Craig Gielow, adding that people who know how to cashier are encouraged to volunteer. He said Habitat volunteers also clean all upholstered furniture and often fix up cabinets and other items, which “helps them sell quicker” as they try to “get items to come and go in about a month.” 

Donations can be dropped off at either ReStore location or you can contact Habitat ReStore to schedule a free pick up. Habitat can also coordinate the free removal of cabinets, which people often do to save some money during their kitchen remodel and to use as a tax deduction.

So whether you volunteer to put on a hard hat and pick up a new skill on a Habitat build site, donate your own furniture to a ReStore or browse the floor to purchase your next lamp or coffee table, or give a financial gift to Habitat this holiday season, any and all options are appreciated for this local nonprofit.

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