A Note from Jim Walters, Executive Director
It has been just three short weeks since I have joined Habitat for Humanity McLean County. There is so much going on and so much to learn, and I love every minute of it.

My first impression is the positive reaction I get in the community when meeting our supporters. The community seems to embrace our mission and works with us to be successful. I have met several of our homeowners. It has been inspirational to see them beaming with pride of ownership. I’ve heard stories of both their challenges and their achievements. There is no doubt that God has brought them to us and us to them.

Our lifeblood is our volunteers. These volunteers come from all walks of life and help us in countless ways. Each volunteer deserves to be featured – but I would like to relay my experiences with the Retired Crew. This group is 20+ volunteers strong and are the backbone of our building program. They are reliable and giving of their time and talents at least twice weekly. They help us get the work done to finish the job. Their efforts at the ReStore are saving Habitat considerable money. Most of all, they are fun group to be around. I can’t thank them enough, but I’m going to continue to try my best.

I had the opportunity to work a brief shift at our Bloomington ReStore. Thank you to the staff that had to tolerate me and all my questions. The store is amazing. Everything is so well thought out and planned. It was a great opportunity to see the generosity of the community both by their donations and purchases. I was able witness merchandise be donated, processed and sold all in one afternoon! These proceeds go directly towards assisting us in building more homes. Soon, we will be opening our 12,000 square foot addition.

Recently the first floor walls for one of our spring builds were delivered from Maine East High School. These students wrote messages of thanks and praise on the lumber they had assembled. Today it is a pile of lumber on a building site, soon it will be someone’s home – filled with cherish memories and loving childhoods. I’m moved to think that it all began with high school students 200 miles away who message will remain in that home forever. 

God is good - all the time!
-Jim Walters
FlatTop Grill Fundraiser- TONIGHT
Join us TONIGHT at FlatTop Grill. Show t his flyer or mention Habitat to your server and FlatTop will donate 15 percent of sales to Habitat for Humanity of McLean County. They are located at 307 Veterans Parkway in Normal and are open until 9 p.m. From 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., meet the players of the Bloomington Edge indoor football team!
Global Village Trip - Esteli, Nicaragua
Eleven volunteers made up of Habitat McLean County Staff, ReStore Staff, Board of Directors, and supporters were fortunate to travel to Estelí, Nicaragua to build a new home for the Rodriguez Family through the Global Village program of Habitat International. The crew built a 24 square meter house which will get two windows and a door. The structure was made with a concrete floor, reinforced masonry, cinder blocks, a 26 gauge metal roof, and an interior bathroom.
 
Irene (47) and her husband Ricardo (49) have 6 children that all live with them: Franklin (25), Katia (20), Katherine (17), Karen (16), Lesky (15), and Rachel (2), as well as Katia’s 1-year-old daughter Ashley. Their youngest, 2-year-old Rachel, has hyperthyroidism which has resulted in many hospital and clinic visits. Ricardo works as a mobile vendor selling vegetables, while Franklin, their son, works at a local cigar factory. Irene makes and sells tortillas, homemade ice cream, and other products from their home. Together they earn around US$250 to support the family of 9. They lived in their previous home, a wooden structure with a dirt floor, for 14 years.

Trip attendee and Volunteer Coordinator, Lindsey Probst, says, "It was amazing to see the difference the work we did in one short week made on the family's lives. The conditions they lived in were not ideal, but their spirits were still high. Many of the older children worked alongside us, helping to lay cinder blocks and haul concrete (which we mixed on the ground). The joy and sense of community I saw from the family and neighbors will stick with me for many years."
 
Did you know that Habitat for Humanity of McLean County tithes 10 percent of unrestricted funds to Habitats in Haiti and Nicaragua? In fact, $64,580 of local dollars helped support new homes just like this one last fiscal year.
 
“If you ever wondered if our tithing is making a difference," says Noel Lucero, Development Director, "I can tell you with certainty that it absolutely is. Irene and her family opened up their humble home to us, and it shocked me to the core to see how exposed to the elements they were, especially in a place known for its earthquakes and hurricanes. To be a part of such a significant impact on someone’s life is one of the biggest blessings I have ever received, and I have a renewed appreciation for the tithing relationship we have with Nicaragua.”
Love Thy Neighbor Choir Concert
Please join us for the Love Thy Neighbor Choir Concert on Sunday, April 22, 2018 from 3 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. at Wesley United Methodist Church (502 East Front St). The concert will be celebrating its 20th Anniversary this year. And funds raised will go to Habitat for Humanity of McLean County to help build a home for 2018. Featured will be the Community Choir, Children's Choir, and the Sounds of Illinois Barbershop Chorus. The event if free to attend, however we ask that you prayerfully consider giving a donation towards to home. For more information, please call Carol in our office at 309-827-3931.

If your organization is interested in putting an ad in our program book please contact Noel at noel.lucero@habitatmclean.org !
Are you a good neighbor? If you are a current or retired State Farm employee or agent that volunteers 40 hours a year or more, consider submitting a $500 Good Neighbor Grant to State Farm Foundation! Also, if you have donated financially, don’t forget to maximize the impact of your gift by submitting your information to State Farm’s Matching Program.
The deadline to designate Thrivent Choice dollars is March 31, 2018! If you are a Thrivent member, please consider directing funds to Habitat for Humanity of McLean County. Visit www.thrivent.com/thriventchoice to get started!  
Save the week for National Women Build Week 2018! We will be building a home with over 50 volunteers May 5 through May 12. Participants will receive a free t shirt while supplies last. Email womenbuild@habitatmclean.org to get on the list to receive more information about times, locations, and sign up.
The Westside 5K Run and Walk is Sunday, April 15. It includes a timed 5K race, a 3K walk, and a Kids Fitness Challenge. If 15 or more people sign up on behalf of the Habitat ReStore, we will receive all your registration contributions! This event is pay-what-you-can, so anyone can join in on the fun. To sign up, click here: https://www.signmeup.com/site/reg/register.aspx?fid=T12V5H7
Upcoming office closings
The Downtown office will be closed
Friday, March 30 (Good Friday)
Saturday, March 31 (No Build Activities)
The ReStore will be open both Friday and Saturday
Volunteer receptionist positions open!
We are in need of volunteers to cover our front desk. In this role, volunteers answer the phones, greet guests, and help with filing. If you or someone you know has free time during the week, we are looking to fill the following shifts:
Thursdays 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Fridays 9 a.m. to Noon
Fridays 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. (every other week)

Contact Lindsey at 309-827-3931 for more information.