Celebrating our 10th Anniversary serving the Northeast Kingdom!
Ten Years: Ten Stories
2007 - 2017
Ten years! Wow. Habitat NEK began meeting at the North Church in St. Johnsbury in the fall of 2007 and from those beginnings, we have repaired nearly 100 houses, built two brand new homes, held yard sales and other fundraisers, opened a ReSale Store...then moved it... and then moved again to our current offices. Lumber, nails, drywall, paint. Lots of it. But most importantly, people. The folks who applied for Habitat help, and the folks who responded to the need. Amazing stories of people who just needed a hand up, of self-sacrificing volunteers who have been with us the whole time. In the coming months, on our Facebook page and through our monthly newsletters, we'll be highlighting these moments and the people who made them happen. In June 2018, we'll come together for a community-wide potluck dinner. You are invited to celebrate with us!
2010: Repairing an Old Farmhouse
Barb in Barnet

Barb Kristoff lives in an old farmhouse in Barnet where she boards horses and gives riding lessons. The old cape needed some upgrades and repairs. The cellar stairs were pretty unstable, the kitchen water pressure was low, the bulkhead cover and stairs were deteriorating, a basement window was broken, and her front stairs were not level and needed a railing. In addition, the basement was wet and cluttered with old appliances.

Due to Barb's local popularity and her network of horse people, getting volunteers was not difficult. Additionally, Chapter G-VT of P.E.O. [ Philanthropic  Educational Organization] sent eight volunteers who cleaned up the yard, trimmed bushes and restored some of Barb's gardens. 

We repaired or replaced all of the above, and cleaned out her basement. The basement was eventually sealed with a rubber membrane and wall foam by others. This was one of our first projects under the Brush with Kindness banner and was accomplished using a no-interest loan. 

"I am still amazed by the generosity if your group," Barb wrote in her thank-you note.

2010: Renovating a Garage into a Home
John & Kelly in Lowell

Habitat for Hu manity in the NEK embarked on a new mission when it assisted John and  Kelly Sorrell to obtain funding to create new living quarters for the couple. 

J ohn was di agnosed with Parkinson's disease in 2000 and it became more and more difficult for him to get to the second story living quarters of their home in Lowell. Both John and Kelly have previously volunteered for Habitat and, at a reception for Habitat volunteers, Kelly inquired if there was any financial and volunteer help available to convert their 30'x 34' existing garage into living quarters.

Dan Swainbank and Bob Gondar visited their house and assisted with the filing of a grant to the Vermont Center for Independent Living. Happily, their grant was appr oved for Habitat to manage the project and the planning started.  A plan was formulated with the Sorrell's to create combination kitchen and dining room, two bedrooms, a laundry room and a living room. The existing bath would remain with an added ramp added to gain access. The wood heater would remain as their primary source and two propane heaters would be used as suppleme ntary heat sources.

Work commenc
ed o n December 4, 2010 with demolition of all storage areas.  Seven structural tree poles were replaced with newly sawn spruce poles donated by Bob Gondar.  They were located to positions that wou ld be buried inside the new walls. The existing garage doors were removed and framed for a door and windows. Outside walls were enhanced with another two inches of Thermax insulati on and all exterior doors were replaced with energy efficient doors as well as the  new windows. The existing slab was built up and leveled for a new sub-floor. Partitions were added and the rough electrical wiring was completed by the Habitat volunteers. A majority of the sheet-rock  and all the taping was done by John and Kelly's son Jesse.

Painting was the next step and completed before the ceil ing and the kitchen were installed by volunteers. The apartment was fitted w ith a drop ceiling and wood laminate was installed to finish the floors. All lighting fixtures, switches and outlets were completed and the apartment was finish trimmed. 

The project was completed the firs t weekend in May and much thanks goes to
the volunteers that worked on the project. There was a work day crew consisting of retired volunteers and a weekend crew that worked every week during the winter. 

Every winter storm managed to miss our schedule, so thankfully Mother Nature was on our side. John and Kelly found their home very cool in the summer months and their propane heating bill for the winter of 2010/2011  was reduced by $500 due primarily to the new insulation and windows. 

A volunteer apprecia tion barbecue was hosted by John and Kelly in Au gust for all the volunteers a nd   was enjoyed by all that attended. 

2007-2010: Critical Home Repairs 
by the Numbers!
Projects, supplies, time, and money involved:

Number of kitchens installed
Bulkheads replaced
Number of full Habitat houses built
Number of remodeling, additions to existing homes
Number of homes that needed siding

Years we operated a ReSale Store
Number of bathroom access remodels
Number of porches, outdoor steps repaired
Number of home repair projects that required new doors, windows
Number of weatherization projects
Number of roofs repaired
Number of access ramps built
The number of gallons of paint used in the three new full Habitat houses
Number of houses built or repaired, rehabilitated or improved in the NEK
Number of gallons of paint used in home repairs

Number of volunteers involved in all aspects of NEK's operations

The number of the pieces of lumber used in in the three full Habitat houses
Number of dollars raised by the ReSale Store for NEK building projects
Number of nails used to build the three new full Habitat houses

Total expenses for 98 completed projects

Blessings of the Season
Giving and Receiving

"As humans, we are often creatures of excess. Bigger is better, more is better, and excess is even better than more. The biggest house, the tallest tree, the most gifts under the tree; you may find yourself at times in a battle with the universe, one of your own making, to prove that in your excess you are more generous, more successful - and more mortal. 

Surround yourself with things and you stave off immortality; this is how the thinking seems to unfold. It is as if death will be unable to find you if you are hidden beneath a layer of material coverings.  

This month, on the day that many celebrate the birth of Christ, on a day that has become a pageant of giving and receiving, take a few moments to consider what is real. 

If you stripped down your life to what is most important, most real, what would be left? Relationships. 

Not houses. Not cars. Not those ribboned gifts under the tree. 

People would be left. Knowing this, celebrate your relationships this year: their birth, their existence, their importance in your life." 

[ Taken from A Year of Living Consciously: 365 Daily Inspirations for Creating a Life of Passion and Purpose by Gay Hendricks ]

The staff of Habitat for Humanity in the Northeast Kingdom wishes to express immense gratitude for each relationship we've built in the last ten years with volunteers, homeowners, donors, grantors, and certainly our colleagues at Ammonoosuc Region Habitat in Littleton, NH and Upper Valley Habitat in White River Junction, VT: helping hands joined together to make a better world, where everyone has a decent place to live.

Ten Years and Growing Stronger
Volunteering is the ultimate exercise in democracy. You vote in elections once a year, but when you volunteer, you vote every day about the kind of community you want to live in." [Author Unknown]

If you would like to be a part of the NEK Habitat family by donating goods and services, by supporting our work with your dollars, or by volunteering your time in the office or on a work site, please contact us. Anytime. 802-751-1212.

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