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  • Writer's pictureClarice MacGarvey

Helping Build Community, One Home at a Time: Exmore Habitat Restore

L to R: Mandi Crockett and Noraleen Collin (volunteers), Rene Spady, Store Manager

Home ownership is a core dream and goal for most of us yet remains out of reach for many. Proceeds from the Habitat for Humanity Restore at 3271 Main Street in Exmore are helping make that dream a reality for local, deserving families. It's part of a happy cycle. Folks, including contractors and companies donate furniture and building supplies to the Restore. These items, when purchased by customers, help fund the construction of houses here on the Eastern Shore. So far, 52 homes have been completed with plans for #53 in place.

Rene Spady, store manager and her team of volunteers ensure the ever-changing inventory is of good quality, attractively displayed and priced to sell. For Rene, the work of Habitat has special meaning. Her sister Noraleen, now a volunteer, lived in a Habitat home.

Volunteers are the cornerstone of the operation, and according to Rene, she always needs more. With people from Cape Charles to Parksley calling in to donate items, she receives truckloads of furniture every week and could handle even more with additional hands to help. Rene points out that people want to know their donations are going to a good cause, and Habitat fits that perfectly. It's not unusual for families to give the Restore entire rooms of furniture. One individual gifted Restore with antiques that had been in the family for three generations. The Rent-A-Center in Onley is a frequent donator, along with other commercial venues. For anyone looking for quality pieces to furnish a space, the Restore is a treasure trove.

Rene has been in charge of the Exmore Restore since its reorganization and reopening in May 2022. Prior to her position here, she was a Social Worker in Melfa, and well in tune with helping make a difference. She has ideas to include more components to the Exmore store including food donations. For now, the current space is already "maxed out." The resale floor is not large enough to display all the donated furniture, appliances and building supplies coming into the facility. One strategy to help move inventory more quickly is a "Senior Day" held the first Wednesday of each month. Another is to increase the number of volunteers---and of course, to find more space within the Town of Exmore.

Note: The work of Habitat actively strengthens our communities. Having a safe, comfortable home creates stability, self-esteem and self-reliance. You can help by volunteering, making a donation or simply shopping at the Restore.

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