Habitat for Humanity and ReStore get a new home of their own
By Lauren Waters
BELLEVUE – Since 2009, the Greater Green Bay Habitat for Humanity ReStore has helped dozens of families in Brown County achieve the dream of becoming homeowners.
In addition to its 10th anniversary this month, the team now has a few more things to celebrate.
On Thursday, June 20, the team shared the launch of the $3.5 million Framing Our Future campaign that would relocate the ReStore building to a larger site, allowing for more Habitat for Humanity homes to be built as a result.
The local home-improvement store, currently located at 2965 Ramada Way in Ashwaubenon, will move to the new facility located at 1967 Allouez Ave., in Bellevue.
The transition is planned for early fall.
In addition to the ReStore building, the new location will also be home to a construction warehouse and affiliate office space, including conference rooms, educational classrooms and volunteer workspace.
The new, all-inclusive Habitat campus will be located in a 35,000-square foot building, currently home to Van Lanen Inc., on a roughly 3.5-acre site.
This is all possible in part to a recent $500,000 donation from Greater Green Bay Habitat for Humanity co-founders Jack and Engrid “Inky” Meng.
The Mengs have also issued a $500,000 matching challenge for the community, which means an additional $1 million could be used for the campaign.
Greater Green Bay Habitat for Humanity started in the community in 1987 with the vision of a world where everyone has a decent place to live.
“Our mission is seeking to put God’s love into action,” said Cora Haltaufderheid, executive director. “Habitat for Humanity brings people together to build homes, communities and hope.”
The Greater Green Bay Habitat for Humanity has built 114 homes to date, serving more than 500 residents, including 325 children.
Haltaufderheid said the organization has been on “a continuous trend” and has averaged about eight homes built a year for the last five years.
“Our organizational foundation is the talents of our community volunteers, the generosity of our donors, the leadership of our boards, both past and present and our passionate staff,” Haltaufderheid said.
Christine Bekyir, whose Habitat home was completed in 2018, shared her gratitude of the organization.
To her family of five, this has been one of the biggest blessings in their lives, she said.
“We came to Habitat in 2017 hoping to be able to own a home that provided space for our growing family and a safer environment for our children to play and grow,” Bekyir said.
Although the steps it took to become Habitat homeowners were demanding at times, Bekyir said her family was appreciative of the process.
“The biggest misconception I keep hearing is that Habitat gives homes to people and that’s just not true,” she said. “We earned it, it wasn’t given.”
Bekyir and her family completed 500 sweat equity hours by working on the construction of her home and other Habitat homes, as well as volunteering at the Green Bay ReStore.
Once the family was settled into their new home, Bekyir said she was able to achieve one of her goals: to host Thanksgiving dinner for her entire extended family.
Based on the philosophy of “a hand up, not a hand out,” the leaders at Habitat for Humanity and ReStore look forward to being able to serve even more families when they move into their new home this fall.