Habitat for Humanity opens new ReStore in Hoke County to help build homes

By Catharin Shepard • Staff writer • The nonprofit organization Habitat for Humanity hopes to help more people in Hoke County build safe, affordable houses through support from a recently opened local ReStore.

A ReStore is a secondhand shop that accepts donations of gently used items, which are then sold in the store to raise money for constructing Habitat for Humanity houses. The new Hoke County ReStore is located at 1304 Fayetteville Road, at the caution light just outside of Raeford.

The new ReStore is part of the efforts by the Habitat for Humanity of the North Carolina Sandhills to help more deserving families become homeowners. The money from the ReStore stays in the community where it’s located, according to Amie Fraley, executive director of Habitat for Humanity of the N.C. Sandhills.

“All the net proceeds from our ReStore will be able to be used right in Hoke County for our home construction,” she said.

Local volunteers have worked for many years to build Habitat homes in Hoke County. In January 2020 the organization merged with the larger Habitat for Humanity of the N.C. Sandhills. Hoke is now included in the scope of the multi-county branch of the nonprofit.

“We are grateful to the former Board of Directors and many volunteers who have built with Habitat in the past, especially Daphne Dudley, who has help with the transition of records and information to allow us to begin work,” Fraley said in a statement.

The faith-based nonprofit offers a hand up to home ownership by providing guaranteed affordable mortgages to potential homeowners who are selected from a pool of applicants. The homeowners also have to put in hours of “sweat equity” working at the construction site. The money that new Habitat homeowners pay back is then paid forward to fund construction of more new houses.

The organization works closely with a network of donors and volunteers who raise money and help build the houses. Habitat for Humanity of the N.C. Sandhills is already working on building one new home for a soon-to-be homeowner in Hoke County.

A successful ReStore can make a difference in supporting Habitat for Humanity’s mission. The ReStore in Aberdeen brings in enough funding each year to build four or five new Habitat homes, Fraley said.

“We wanted to try and do that on a smaller scale too in Hoke County,” she said.

The ReStore also has the benefit of keeping more items out of the landfill: “We can make a space for someone’s trash to be someone else’s treasure,” Fraley added.

The nonprofit signed a one-year lease for the building where the ReStore is located.

Habitat for Humanity of the N.C. Sandhills also has big plans in the works for the future. Besides renting the new ReStore building from Mr. and Mrs. George Purcell, the organization has also purchased about 13 acres of land from the Purcells, Fraley said. The property located off of Blue Springs Road has room for about 10 to 12 Habitat homes, plus an existing house the group plans to repair.

Eventually that area will be a Habitat neighborhood named Purcell Village, in honor of the property owner who helped make it possible.

Since Habitat of Humanity of the N.C. Sandhills began building in 1988, the nonprofit has built with 280 families in Moore, Richmond and now Hoke County. Many Habitat homeowners are the first person in their family to own a home.

The organization additionally works to help residents through its home repair outreach.

“We also have a robust repair program, and are seeking applicants in need of exterior home repairs such as roof, wheelchair ramp or other critical repairs that can allow our residents to age in place safely and affordably,” Fraley said in a statement.

People wanting to donate gently used household items can bring them by the ReStore during operating hours. The main ReStore in Aberdeen can also come to a donor’s home to pick up large or heavy items like pieces of furniture, by appointment. Call (910) 295-2798 to schedule a donation pickup for a large item.

The Hoke County ReStore is open for business Wednesday-Friday from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m.-5 p.m.

To learn more about becoming a part of Habitat in Hoke County, contact Fraley at (910) 295-1934, extension 2310 or email afraley@sandhillshabitat.org. The organization’s website is available at sandhillshabitat.org, and is also active on Facebook.

“Thank you for the warm welcome to the community – we look forward to building with you!” Fraley said.

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