Habitat Headlines
February 2020
President’s Blog (by Helen Hicks)
Brick by Brick
When I first met Pastor Steve Essenburg, it was inside of a Tim Horton’s on Groesbeck Avenue near Mount Clemens. We had decided to meet because Macomb Habitat needed a board member who served a very disadvantaged population in order to meet government grant guidelines. Steve fit the bill.

After practically begging him to agree to the seat, he finally said, “Yes!” Little did I know as I sipped my cream-laden coffee, that he would become one of the most significant mentors of my life.

He began his work of changing my life, and those of others, quietly. Other members of the board were louder. They had more to share and seemed to be much more connected. When it came to attending events, he rarely filled a table and usually brought only his wife or a few friends now and then. But he was present, and he loved us.

The months slipped away. 

Though still rather quiet and humble, he began to offer a welcoming prayer at our meetings. He would do so with great energy, often starting out with a sentence such as, “Lord, we are weary. We are tired. We need you to breathe life into our starving souls and help us to face our challenges with renewed energy.” He always knew just what to say during those prayers. 

I watched him closely.

After a year or so, he brought bookbags to the children of our partner families. They came to us filled with supplies. He was overjoyed to contribute in this special way! Pastor never told anyone on the board that he was meeting this need. He just acted.

And then, with no fanfare, he began to tell me about a few homes he was trying to renovate in his Detroit community. He’d ask for tips and construction advice. He shared that his volunteers were amazing and that his congregation was the “best ever.”

One day, I made an appointment to visit him at his church. At that point, his health was not good. He had been through a number of repair surgeries, and he was wheelchair-dependent most of the time.

Once I arrived at his small church in a war-torn looking area of the city, he welcomed me into his office before giving me a tour of the sanctuary.

We stood together at the window, and he proudly pointed to the row of brick homes that lined the edge of his parking lot. Two had been renovated by his church and a family had moved there. He told me their rent was often less than the agreed upon amount, because the children living in them needed food or medical care. He loved the children, and he wouldn’t let a high rental note stop them from becoming all they could be.

He built up those homes, brick by brick, thinking only about the boys and girls who flocked him with hugs; who came to him for tutoring; who sought him through the gunshot wounds and the daily crises in their poverty-entrenched world.

And he was always there for them. Actually, he was always there for me.

We will all try to pray like Reverend Essenburg, but our words may not be crafted from the voice of God who whispered in his ear each day. Our eyes fill with tears when we see the empty seat in our board room, and we truly do not know what to do to soothe our grief.

We felt all this raw emotion at his departing, and we only saw him once a month for one hour. One hour. And he changed the inside of our hearts. Just imagine what he did for those families in the brick houses behind his church!

Reverend Steven Essenburg was my mentor when I didn’t know I needed one. He taught me to be quiet. To listen. To learn how to be humble. He showed me how to help others without fanfare or notoriety. He was a gift, and we will never forget.

Brick by brick, lesson by lesson, - he changed the world around him. He changed me.

Let’s do the same for others, in his name. In His name.
Volunteer & Faith Relations
Ford Fund Chooses Macomb Habitat to Partner
Ford Motor Company employees applied for a grant on behalf of Macomb Habitat for an innovative shipping container home project. Out of 54 proposals, we were one of two nonprofits to be selected. Ford Fund will provide backing to build one or two homes. Ford employees are developing designs to demonstrate how an energy efficient, comfortable home in a 500 ft 2 range (1-40 ft. + 1-20 ft. container) can be built faster and at much less cost than a standard home. The target would be those who are at income levels that currently shut them out of homeownership, with an attractive alternative to apartment living. 49 % of Macomb County residents are housing cost burdened (i.e. they pay more than 30% of their income on housing). So new options are needed to assist more people.

Stay tuned for details as we refine the designs, announce guidelines for qualifying individuals or families, and begin to build later this year.
More Decade in Review ideas from Macomb Habitat
·        The decade saw the completion of 35 new builds and 60 rehabs purchased by families in Macomb County.
Pics – front porch dedication, rehab in pink
·        Decent, affordable homes were provided for 129 adults and 186 children in the decade.
·        A rapid expansion of staff & volunteer efforts peaked with 22 homes prepared in 2011. Over 3500 volunteer days were logged to get that work done.
·        The last two years have seen a target of 5-6 homes, as we work to reduce the debt incurred to build so many homes at once in earlier years. Volunteer support in the 1000-1100 range is common yearly.
Faith Build Reboot
Help us reboot the Faith Build effort in 2020. Site and permit challenges have prompted a move of our Faith Build from Saint Clair Shores to 27560 Garfield St., south of Martin, in Roseville. A crawl space is in, and we have a planned schedule to raise walls in February and proceed with the rest of the new build on Tuesdays and Saturdays in March and April. Thrivent Financial wants as many Christian volunteers and churches involved as possible. Got some friends or faith groups you want to connect, or want the whole schedule to look over? Email Dave Tirsell at dtirsell@macombhabitat.org .
Join perhaps the most exciting part of a new build – raising the walls, on teams Saturdays, Feb., 15, 22 & 29, 9 am to 4 pm. Watch for postings on the Volunteer Calendar at macombhabitat.org.

We need to raise about $23,000 in matching funds or gifts in kind this spring. Know of a plumbing or electrical contractor, or a cement team willing to help? Let Dave know. Consider a direct personal or corporate donation as well.
Near the Finish Line
in Clinton Twp.
Thanks to the mix of intrepid volunteers who partnered with our construction team to finish up 24071 Charles St. in Clinton Twp. Just a few more teams to paint and do trim work are needed to finish up 42582 LaCroix, around the corner. Landscaping and other outside work will wrap these up in May. Stay tuned!
Upcoming Events
Women’s Luncheon
Presenting Sponsor Consumers Energy
This high-profile event highlights the journey of two influential women in our community who showed courage while rising to the top of their careers. Rhonda Powell CEO of O’Neal-Powell & Associates, and Janet Lawson Author and Non-Profit Strategist, The Shephard Group are guest speakers. This uplifting event is insightful and motivational. 
If you are interested in sponsoring this event or attending please contact 
org or

Click here to sign up or sponsor today!

This pledge event that has grown in three years to over 300 women hearing inspiring life stories from women leaders and Habitat homeowners.


Annual Women’s Luncheon
“Women Who Rise”
Wednesday, April 8, 2020
11:30 – 1:00 pm
Shelby Gardens, Shelby Township
50265 Van Dyke
Enjoy Bingo Nights
for Macomb Habitat!
Two students from Lakeshore High school, Kiara F. and Claire, volunteered to put together a bingo event at Lakeshore High school, inviting students and families from the community to come together and play bingo in the school’s cafeteria. Kiara and Claire secured auction and raffle donations from the Saint Clair Shores community. They did a fabulous job raising $1,200 for Macomb County Habitat for Humanity and the families they serve.
Participate in the #Charituesday Contest
Join us in participating in the #Charituesday contest! Two non-profit organizations have been chose from the Fox 2 Gift Giving Guide for a chance to win a $1,000 gift certificate to Gardner-White! No matter what, both organizations will receive at least a $500 gift certificate to Gardner-White – however – we want Macomb Habitat to win. Please vote today. Participants can vote once a day from 2/4 at 10:00 am, to 2/11 at 10:00 am.
Big Thanks to GRIT & RDMA
Macomb County Habitat for Humanity wishes to thank  RDMA  Associates and  GRIT TECHNOLOGIES  for their generous gift, we are very appreciative of this large gift in support of our mission. As long standing friends of Macomb Habitat you are invaluable.
The Macomb Habitat Team Wishes to Thanks You!!
Ongoing Campaigns
At Macomb County Habitat for Humanity, we are always accepting donations! Here are the top 5 items on our Wish List:
  1. Box truck in working condition - for our Cap department
  2. Qualified applicants to apply for our Homeownership Program
  3. Office and other supplies - tape, paper, file folders, highlighters, hand soap, toilet paper, paper towels, regular & contractor grade garbage bags.
  4. Packing and moving materials for the ReStores (no boxes) -packing tape, moving straps and blankets
  5. Other - Lightweight chain, Heavy duty stretch wrap, a working hi-lo and appliance dollies/straps, appliance straps at our ReStores
Cars for Homes
Donate a vehicle to Habitat for Humanity’s car donation program – Cars for Homes. Your generosity will support our work with local families.

  • All proceeds from your vehicle donation will support Habitat for Humanity and help local families here in Macomb County.

  • Your donation may qualify for a tax deduction.

It’s fast and easy. Learn more about how vehicle donations work just click: http://macombhabitat.org/donate/donate-a-car/
What is Community Rewards
Kroger Community Rewards makes fund-raising easy by donating to local organizations based on the shopping you do everyday. Once you link your card to an organization, all you have to do is shop at Kroger and swipe your Plus Card!
Smart Year-end Giving
Data shows that 30% of all online giving happens in the last three days of the year. Consider using our Donate button (LINK?) to help make dreams come true this year.
Considering a larger gift to Macomb Habitat? Consult your financial advisor for details, but there are great ways to make a smart gift that reduces your taxes, especially for securities that have risen in value in the stock market. Here is a Morningstar article to get you thinking.

International Update
Donations through the affiliate have built 58 homes in other nations, at an average cost of $4,200 each.
Moving? Hosting a Garage Sale? Do you have anything left to donate?
Our ReStores are in need of your donations! Our inventory is in need of the following items: Christmas decorations before the holidays, bedroom sets, gently used appliances, lawn mowers, windows, bicycles, and home interiors (plates, cups, knick knacks, house plants, picture frames, decor, etc.). As a reminder we are always looking for slightly used donations in good condition that are located on the first floor or the garage of your home.   We provide  FREE  pick up in Macomb County and you will be provided with an itemized tax donation receipt!  Click here  to view a full list of items we can accept!
Donation Hotline: (586) 263-1540
We offer FREE pick up for Macomb County residents! Or drop off your donation at one of our convenient Macomb County locations.

Two ReStore locations:
46660 Van Dyke, Shelby Township
23211 Van Dyke, Warren

Hours of Operation:
Tuesday - Friday: 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.
Saturday: 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.

Follow the ReStores on social media:
Here are a few reminders!
We are particularly interested in housewares such as dishes, silverware, and glasses. We are currently not able to accept desks, entertainment centers nor dishwashers. See our web site for a complete listing of items we cannot accept. 
Faith Build Fundraising  
Thrivent Financial benefit members accrue “Thrivent Choice” dollars based on insurance premiums, contract values and Thrivent volunteer leadership, which can be directed to churches, schools and other nonprofits - including Macomb County Habitat, of the donor’s choice. Eligible Thrivent Financial members who have available Choice Dollars® have until March 31, 2020, to direct them (otherwise, Thrivent decides where they go). Take a few minutes now so your donation can help families in 2019. Don’t miss this opportunity to recommend that Thrivent Financial provide outreach funding to Macomb County Habitat for Humanity. Call 800-847-4836 and say “Thrivent Choice” after the prompt. Every little bit helps! 78 cents of every $1 raised goes directly to our programming as we help families in need of a hand up!
Upcoming Opportunities
The second annual Race for Shelter will be in mid-August, a fun half kilometer walk at Kuenhenn’s Brewery. We are always open to partnering on euchre tournaments, dances or other creative fundraisers.
Go to the Volunteer Calendar at  macombhabitat.org  for Upcoming Opportunities.