From Clutter to Empowerment
In the photo above a donor is building strength and self-reliance in the lives of low income people by decluttering his own home and donating his items to the Habitat ReStore. The young man in the blue tank top showed up at the office one sunny morning asking if the ReStore was open to receive donated items.  I told him that it was indeed open to receiving donations and that he should pull around to the roll-up door on the side of the building facing the railroad tracks.  He did just that and helped the volunteers unload a truckload of stuff.  

By the next Saturday, these used items were available for sale in the ReStore showroom.  Shortly after that customers to the ReStore purchased the items which otherwise would have gone to a landfill. Donations to the ReStore empower our customers to affordably make home improvements, improve the livability of their homes, and engage in arts and crafts.  

The money raised from the sale of these household goods helps Habitat Bulloch fund its program, "Toward Home Ownership." These donations will help Theresa Reed provide her three boys the stability of a home that she is preparing to buy.  It will empower Mashika Reed to invest in a Blue Mile home next to an elderly friend.  This allows the elderly friend to have greater security and prolonged independence knowing that she has a good, reliable neighbor who will check in on her from time to time.  A vocal supporter of the Blue Mile, Margaretta Patterson, was able to purchase her new home in the Blue Mile Revitalization Neighborhood because that home was made affordable to her through ReStore donations and sales. This investment in an affordable home empowered Margaretta to take her advocacy to the next level.  Now, as a Blue Mile property owner she sits on the board of the Blue Mile Foundation and will be one of the people deciding how the Americas' Best Communities winnings will be used in the community.

The Habitat ReStore is open for shopping on Fridays from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. and Saturdays from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.  The ReStore is open to volunteers and donation drop offs from 10:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Wednesdays through Fridays and from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. on Saturdays.  Donors can schedule pickups for Wednesdays through Saturdays by calling 912-764-5777 ext 204.  

Come and shop!  There is always something new at the ReStore!
Habitat Bulloch's Board Fundraiser Breakfast
Decorated from the Habitat ReStore
Mildred Wilson and Linda Christy making centerpiece decorations for the 2017 Board Breakfast using items found in the ReStore.
There are so many ways to utilize the items from the ReStore!  Habitat Bulloch's 2017 Board Fundraiser Breakfast held at Fordham's Farmhouse Restaurant on Wednesday, September 20th, 2017 is a great example of this. Mildred Wilson and Linda Christy transformed ReStore merchandise into table decorations for the breakfast.  It was amazing how well these table decorations went with the decor of the venue.  (Fordham's Farmhouse donated both the venue and food as their contribution to Habitat Bulloch.) 

If you would like to participate in the Board Breakfast by donating simply go to the attached link and tell us that you would like the donation to be counted towards the Board Breakfast fundraiser:   Donate  
Big Heroes!
Ogeechee Technical College is Standing in the Gap!
Students from Ogeechee Technical College working on House 53 aka the ABC Winners' House
Habitat Bulloch would like to offer a big Thank You to Charlie Collins, Norm Threatt and the students at Ogeechee Technical College for helping us make progress on House 53 while Habitat Bulloch searches for a construction supervisor. Charley Collins is overseeing the construction efforts until a construction manager is in place. 

House 53 is being built for Theresa Reed and her children. Theresa works hard at Claxton Chicken and looks forward to purchasing her very own home.   Theresa Reed will be the third home buyer to invest in the Blue Mile neighborhood through Habitat for Humanity as part of Blue Mile Neighborhood Revitalization.  

If you would like donate towards the Winners' House or any specific future building project go to the link and donate.  If it matters to you, be sure to tell us which house to credit the donation towards in the space provided for in the instructions. 
Another Milestone in Blue Mile 
Neighborhood Revitalization 
Friday, September 22nd was the open house for the first completed "Homes for Heroes House" which was built as part of the Blue Mile Neighborhood Revitalization.  The house was built by the Home Builders Association of Bulloch County in a partnership with the DSDA (Downtown Statesboro Development Authority) and Queensboro Bank.  While Homes for Heroes houses are not Habitat Houses, they are a vital part of the overall Blue Mile Neighborhood Revitalization project.  The idea behind the Homes for Heroes houses is to encourage law enforcement and first responders to live within the Blue Mile Neighborhood to provide everyone in the neighborhood with a sense of community and safety.  These houses will be made affordable by the DSDA, who will sell the homes to qualified emergency personnel at the cost of construction with creative options for affordable financing available.  Habitat Bulloch supports this effort and celebrates with our partners' over this accomplishment towards our common goal of neighborhood revitalization along the Blue Mile.  
What's Next on the Blue Mile? 
Just because the America's Best Communities competition is over, that does not mean that the Blue Mile Project is finished.  Far from it!  The ABC Competition was mainly a blast of energy to help us gain momentum.   
So what's next on the Blue Mile Project?  Well, Habitat Bulloch is in the process of building a house on Institute Street for Theresa Reed.  We are in the early planning stages of a house building project on College Lane for Mashika Reed.  (Mashika and Theresa are not related.)  A partnership between the Bulloch County Home Builders Association, the DSDA and Queensboro Bank just completed one  "Homes for Heroes House" on the corner of West Inman Street and South Walnut.  Another" Homes for Heroes House" is under construction, and two more are being planned.  Land clearing should begin on a new dog park off East Cherry Street in a month or two.  

Bulloch County and the Georgia Department of Transportation have budgeted roadway improvements to the Blue Mile (South Main Street) itself.  That work must go through a planning and permitting process before construction can begin.  Some of the beautification projects envisioned for the Blue Mile are also in the works, but they must wait until the work on the roadway, underground drainage pipes, cables and the like is completed. 

The City of Statesboro established a TAD (Tax Allocation District) centered around the Blue Mile which will help fund its portion of the Blue Mile Project.  The tax on the increased property values arising from property improvements will be recycled back into the district for making infrastructure improvements.  For example when Habitat Bulloch completes Theresa's home, most of Theresa's city property taxes will go towards making infrastructure improvements around downtown simply because the house will be worth so much more than the land it sits on was worth without the house. Right now both the County and the Bulloch County School Board are considering joining TAD.  If they do, the City and County will be able to borrow against the projected income from the twenty year TAD for infrastructure improvements in the near future. 

An artist is currently working on the Blind Willie McTell statue.  The Blue Mile Foundation is working out the details on how to disperse matching grants to incentivize investments and property improvements along the Blue Mile.   Georgia Southern University, The Blue Mile Committee, the DSDA and area businesses are partnering in various promotional activities to draw Georgia Southern Students downtown to patronize Blue Mile and other downtown businesses.  The Blue Mile Housing Committee is partnering with area banks to put together a financial literacy program for people living in neighborhoods along the Blue Mile.  The goal is to help low income families, living on and around the Blue Mile to manage their money in such a way that they can eventually qualify for home improvement loans or qualify to purchase a home through Habitat Bulloch's program.
As you can see the Blue Mile Project was not primarily about winning a contest.  It's a long term, multifaceted effort to transform the Blue Mile business district and adjacent neighborhoods into a prosperous part of the City and County.  The big picture is that if the downtown core of Statesboro becomes healthier and more prosperous, that will bring industry and other investments to Bulloch County as a whole which will benefit everybody.  If one were to tie the life expectancy of the Blue Mile Project to one of its key financial engines, namely the TAD, we are at the end of Year Two of a twenty year process.    
A Wedding Gift that Builds Self-Reliance in Families. 
How is this for a wedding story?  David and Martha Ewing have known each other since the 80's. They met through playing against each other in a friendly game of tennis. As time went by  David and Martha, who were colleagues at Georgia Southern University, played more tennis matches.  Eventually those tennis games led to a romance which led to David and Martha getting married on July 1, 2017.  Here's a photo of the bride and groom with his daughter.

Given that David and Martha were marrying later in life, they decided that together they simply did not need more pots, pans and dishes.  In addition David had volunteered setting out flags in his neighborhood for Habitat Bulloch's Flag Program for several years.  Consequently the couple asked friends and family to donate to Habitat Bulloch among other charities instead of giving them a wedding gift.  

What a great way to start their life together!  Through this creative way of helping Habitat Bulloch raise money, this new family is helping to build strength and self reliance in other families through shelter.  

Disasters Happen.
Be Prepared.
As part of Habitat Bulloch's partnership with FEMA, we encourage you to go to the following FEMA Website,, and use it to develop a plan for communicating with your loved ones in the event of a disaster.