Chatham Habitat for Humanity was named a readers’ favorite nonprofit and its ReStore also won for best home furnishings, accessories and decor
PHOTO BY CORNELL WATSON
Chatham Habitat for Humanity’s mission is to bring people together by building homes, communities and hope. Chatham Habitat for Humanity ReStore director Mike Breedlove, a lifelong Chatham resident, feels a personal connection to that purpose. “I grew up here, went to school here, started a family here,” he says. “For me, being able to give back in some small way is an honor.” Mike says the most impactful part of his work is seeing someone get the keys to their own home, which they helped build. “We call it a hand up, not a handout,” Mike explains.
To support its homebuilding work, the ReStore sells affordable, quality home goods donated by Chatham residents. “The money raised from our store sales in a year is enough to fund around two houses right here in Chatham County,” Mike says. Popular items include furniture, appliances and cabinetry, as well as building materials and mattresses serviced by their professional cleaning program.
Mike has been with the ReStore for 11 years, and in that time has met plenty of folks, both volunteers – like Tracy Bricker, pictured, a ReStore volunteer for two years – and customers. But one high school volunteer stands out in his memory: “The parent informed me of the influence that we had on the student, and how they would come home talking about the great work that they contributed to here and how much fun they had doing it,” Mike says. “In that parent’s opinion, we helped the student develop into a better person who will carry our mission into other walks of life. At the end of the day, that’s what we’re all about: Making our community a little better, one brick at a time.”