Chatham Habitat for Humanities’ Top 10 Moments of 2018

By Anna Tuell, Development Director

Pittsboro, NC – We had a great 2018, and it’s thanks to your constant support – as donors, volunteers, shoppers, and cheerleaders in the community. We wouldn’t be here without you. 

Read on to see our Top Ten Moments of 2018:

10. Golden Hammer Award Winner: Lee Cope

This Spring, we awarded our annual volunteer of the year award, the auspicious Golden Hammer, to Lee Cope. This is our #10 top moment of 2018 because we were all so excited to have the opportunity to celebrate Lee. She is a ReStore volunteer who has given countless hours of her time to make sure that the ReStores are running smoothly and that things are moved out onto the floor, priced fairly, and sold to our customers. Lee is kindhearted, funny, and one of the hardest working people we know, and we’re lucky to have her as a volunteer. Three cheers for Lee!

9. Women Build 2018

Our #9 top moment, Women Build, is one of our favorite events. Held in May every year, Women Build is a long-running partnership between Habitat for Humanity and Lowes Home Improvement that is designed to encourage women to participate in construction on Habitat sites across the country. Here in Chatham County, we have a lot of women who work with us on a regular basis, but Women Build is a great opportunity to kick most of the men off site and spend the day celebrating women in construction! 

This year, we had more than 60 folks join us for Women Build on a beautiful May day, and we’re already looking forward to doing it again in 2019!

8. Collegiate Challenge 2018

For #8, we are throwing it back to our wonderful 2018 Collegiate Challenge groups from University of Virginia, University of New Hampshire, Boston College and Hamilton College. We also want to recognize every current and former college student that has completed a Collegiate Challenge program with Chatham Habitat.

Collegiate Challenge volunteers travel to Chatham County during their winter or spring breaks to volunteer on our construction site for a week. During that time, they are able to work alongside and learn from our homeowners, Care-A-Vanners, regular volunteers and staff. 

Huge thanks to these students, and especially to Tyson’s Creek Baptist Church in Bear Creek, who generously hosted all of these students in their church while they were here to build.

7. Solar Panels Installed on all CHFH Homes

#7 is a celebration of a continued effort to build better homes every year. In 2017, we started a new initiative at Chatham Habitat with the goal of installing solar panels on every house we build (as allowed by the orientation of the home). In 2018, we have continued to fund this initiative and have been able to out panels on every house this year! Thanks to the hard work of our staff and volunteers, we’re confident that we’re going to be able to keep this up!

6. 3rd Dick & Sheryl Forbis Scholarship Awarded to Two CHFH Family Members

Pictured above: Sheryl Forbis, Dania Rosales, Hugo Gonzalez, and Hugo Jr.

The Dick Forbis Scholarship Fund was established in honor of our longtime volunteer and previous board chair Dick Forbis and his wife Sheryl, a lifetime educator. It provides educational funding for our Chatham Habitat homeowners and their children. This year, top moment #6 was when our scholarship committee selected two winners – Dania Rosales and Michael Sanchez. Dania and her family will be the future homeowners of House 133. This is the second year that she has received the scholarship and plans to use it to help fund her career in nursing school. Michael Sanchez is beginning his studies in mechanical engineering at CCCC and hopes to be the first in his family to graduate from college. We are excited to be able to assist them in their academic journeys!

5. National Night Out in Siler City

Coming in at #5 is National Night Out in our Westmont neighborhood in Siler City! National Night Out is a nationwide celebration every summer that encourages communities to come together and spend an evening outside together. Siler City does a great job with this event every year, and our Westmont neighborhood is always a happening place to be. While we haven’t built a new home in Westmont in more than 10 years, it’s always great to go back for National Night Out and visit with the homeowners and see their community thriving.

4. EIGHT New Staff Members

In 2018, Chatham Habitat has seen some big changes in our staff. In 2017, we had several staff members retire or leave us for great opportunities including new jobs, going back to school, and welcoming new members to their families. In early 2018, a beloved member of our ReStore staff, Tyler Gray, passed away.

We’ve since had the privilege of bringing in some new faces who are already great additions to our team. Our #4 top moment of the year has been getting to work with these fine people. As listed above:

Melchee Johnson, Database Coordinator
Patricia Morales, Family Services Director
Efrain Cortes Sanchez, Construction Site Supervisor
Brandon Wallace, ReStore Supervisor
Rachel Horowitz, Volunteer Manager
Doug Ivey, Construction Site Supervisor
Christopher Aguilar, Family Selection Coordinator 

We’re grateful for your patience as these wonderful staff members are learning the organization and finding their rhythm. We are a better organization with these folks on board!

3. Pop the Cork Fundraiser at Governors Club

In a place of honor at #3, we have Pop the Cork! In September, our friends at the Governors Club Wine Society hosted a wonderful fundraiser with the goal of raising enough money for the material costs to build one house – about $75,000. They auctioned off parts of the house for donors to sponsor, as well as other prizes. In the end, they raised more than $80,000! We’re so grateful to the committee – Linda Zaremba, Jason Dell, Guy Charrison, Nancy Davis, Craig Dykstra, Jamie + Rick Skinner, and Jay Johnson – for all of their work in making this event such a success. Additionally, we’d like to thank Anna DeConti and Shari Ligett, who managed to put together some beautiful last minute decorations. When they found out that their flowers would not be delivered due to Hurricane Florence, they sprung into action and you’d never know it was their Plan B.

In 2019, we will be building House #136 with the funds from this event. We’re excited to see it come together!

2. Raised $57,000 Before the End of 2018 – Enough to Supply All Materials for House #137

Every December, we set a goal to raise enough to build one house in the coming year. Thanks to our generous supporters, we have raised enough to supply all of the materials for House 137. Our staff and volunteers will begin building this house in Siler City very soon. What a great way to ring in 2019!

1. Built 8 Houses in Partnership with Chatham County Families

Our #1 top moment of the year is a celebration of our families and all the work they’ve done this year to build their homes and the homes of their neighbors. In 2018, we have worked on eight houses. Three of those houses have been sold and have families in them already. The other five are still under construction. Three of the eight are located in Pittsboro, and five in Siler City. Pictured above are Dania and Hugo, who are getting ready to purchase one of these eight houses in early 2019.

This is going to be an exciting year, and we’re so happy to have you with us.