On Saturday, July 8th, the Lewes ReStore hosted the inaugural outdoor MarketPlace.  More than 40 vendors sold arts and crafts, antiques, clothing, jewelry, cooking products, essential oils, custom t-shirts, and more on the front lawn of the Route 9 location.  Local businesses promoted their services and a popular hot dog stand was on hand.  For many of the shoppers, the Marketplace was a first-time visit to the Lewes ReStore that enjoyed a banner sales day.
The next ReStore Marketplace is scheduled for Saturday, August 19th from 8:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. with two more to follow in September and October.  For vendor information, please contact Mary at 302.381.6031.  The vendor fee is $40 per event.  Proceeds from the Lewes and Georgetown ReStores support Sussex County Habitat home construction, neighborhood revitalization, and family empowerment programs. 


Mike Grafton of Milton, a treasured volunteer on many Sussex Habitat construction sites, died on July 5th after a courageous battle with cancer.  He was 66 years old.  
A little over five years ago, Mike joined the construction volunteers, affectionately known as "the Regulars", after participating in a Habitat home rehabilitation project with the Lewes-Rehoboth Association of Churches.   Mike was a natural on construction sites.  The former owner of Grafton Builders and a professional carpenter, his skills made him an instant fit for the Regulars working on Habitat homes every Wednesday and Saturday. 
Fellow Regular Bob Patterson described Mike as a teacher, "He was our resource when we got stuck.   Ask Mike or go get Mike."  Bob added, "Mike would often teach the other volunteers tricks and short cuts.  He taught us all a lot about building houses."  
For Mike, that desire to share his knowledge about carpentry and construction was ever-present.  Many times during his Habitat volunteer tenure, he served as House and Project Leader, roles that require skill, dedication, compassion, and patience.  He paid attention to volunteers on build sites-taking them under his
Mike (in the back with red hat) and the Regulars, Christmas 2016
 wing.  Over the years, Mike guided hundreds of high school and college volunteers serving Habitat.    

For Mike, his family was never far from his mind. He was a proud husband, father, and grandfather.  Mike often talked about his wife Amy, the love of his life, his two wonderful grandchildren, his daughter Alexis, and his son Mike Jr., who occasionally served on construction sites with his dad. 
The Regulars summed up Mike in three words, " Mike is legendary.  He will be with us in spirit on our build sites for years to come."   We all are better for having known Mike Grafton.  God bless him.

Gallo gives!  Those two words mean a lot to our Habitat partner families.  Last week, for example, 10 volunteers from Berkshire Hathaway/Gallo Realty installed siding on a new home in Ellendale.  Supervised by Habitat construction regulars and AmeriCorps members, the Gallo employees enthusiastically applied their on-the-job training.   Last October, the Gallo Realty employees volunteered at another Sussex Habitat construction site.  And through the Gallo Gives Foundation, their generous contributions have provided support for the Habitat homeownership programs across Sussex County and ReStore.  So, when someone says " Gallo gives", we respond with gratitude, "Yes they do!"  We deeply appreciate all that Berkshire Hathaway/Gallo Realty does for families in need by giving to Sussex County Habitat. 

Twenty members from Eagle's Nest Fellowship Church in Milton, Delaware generously gave two days of work on a new home construction site in Ingram Village, Ellendale. These volunteers are part of the Eagle's Nest Do Good summer
initiative encouraging their congregation to reach out through  acts of kindness. 
  These volunteers were led by Eagle's Nest member and Habitat Construction Regular Beth Miltner .  House  leader Tony Etze , site supervisors, AmeriCorps members, and Beth instructed the group on how to trim and install siding.   A hearty thanks  goes to Eagle's Nest Fellowship Church for doing good through this much appreciated act of kindness.

Volunteers are needed for the September 19, 2017 Johnny Janosik Charity Golf Tournament benefitting Sussex County Habitat for Humanity.  Once again, the tournament will be held at The Peninsula on Indian River Bay in Millsboro, DE.  Beginning at 7:45 a.m., volunteer tasks include registration, games, and other tournament related activities.  Breakfast will be available in the morning and a buffet luncheon will be served when play is finished. The Peninsula is a beautiful location to spend a day supporting Sussex County Habitat and the Johnny Janosik Charitable Foundation.  To volunteer, please contact the Events Coordinator at  events@sussexcountyhabitat.org or 302.855.1153 x 214.
In M ay, the  Johnny Janosik  Charitable Foundation presented a $20,000 check to  Sussex County Habitat  from the proceeds of the 2016 Annual Johnny Janosik Charity Golf Tournament.   Johnny Janosik World of Furniture has been a faithful and generous supporter of Sussex Habitat's family empowerment, home construction, and neighborhood revitalization programs. In addition, Johnny Janosik employees volunteer annually to build house frames and work on home construction sites. Their support every year has a profound impact on Sussex Habitat and the families we serve.

John Donato creates whimsical works of art that are fun, engaging, and inspiring.  He specializes in creating art with what he calls "smile impact" in a way that allows individuals and groups to participate actively.  Last weekend, the Laurel Town Council and John Donato invited Sussex County Habitat staff, volunteers, and AmeriCorps members to take part in the second annual Laurel watermelon bus project, known as Laurel WaterColors.  
Delaware has been a major producer of fresh, high quality melons for more than a century.  Melons from Laurel area farms and those in neighboring communities reach markets along the East Coast, from New England to Florida.  With seats and windows removed, retired school buses are converted to transport the local melon crop from the fields.  But in Laurel, melon buses are transformed into works of art-rolling murals depicting community partners that work on behalf of the town of Laurel. 
The Habitat and AmeriCorps "artists" were given a panel on a bus to paint with John's guidance. They painted large Sussex County Habitat and AmeriCorps logos along with a Habitat home construction scene complete with volunteers.  John then added shadows and text to the mural.  The buses will be used in parades and other events for the next year before heading back to the watermelon fields.   
For nearly ten years, volunteers from St. Philip's Episcopal Church in Laurel have made Sussex County Habitat for Humanity's mission their mission.  "We have groups that build, we have groups that offer shelter, we have groups that donate, and we have groups that feed volunteers, but St. Philip's volunteers do it all." Sussex Habitat Programs Director Barbara Ward has said.
In 2008 the church installed geothermal heating in their basement which saved a significant sum of money. With the help of Pastor Rita Nelson, who was serving on the Sussex County Habitat Board of Directors, the congregation agreed to pass the savings along to Habitat for Humanity.  During the early years, the church housed and fed one or two volunteer groups each year, offering a comfortable, inviting environment to traveling volunteers while they built Habitat homes. As Sussex Habitat's construction schedule grew, so too did St. Philip's commitment. This year alone, the St. Philip's Hospitality Team hosted 15 volunteer groups, including 10 Collegiate Challenge teams in March alone. 
Over the years, thousands of volunteers from colleges, high schools, churches, and other out-of-town organizations have enjoyed the warm hospitality and great meals served at St. Philip's.  Since Dot Dolby started the Hospitality Team, members have changed and so has church leadership, passing from Rita Nelson to Reverend Dr. Howard Backus.  But, their dedication to Sussex Habitat volunteers is as vital as ever.  Twice the St. Philip's Hospitality Team has received the Governor's Outstanding Volunteer Award, an honor that can be received only once every three years.
When the parishioners are not housings volunteers, they find time to raise funds for Habitat. Most recently, St. Philip's presented Sussex Habitat with a check for $500 raised during the annual Strawberry Festival held on the church grounds.
It is hard to imagine or even remember Sussex County Habitat without St. Philip's steadfast support.  Year after year, their Hospitality Team put God's love into action so that we can invite volunteers to build Habitat homes, strengthen communities, and inspire hope in Sussex County.

The Repair Report

On June 30th Sussex County Habitat staff, volunteers, and AmeriCorps members gathered in  Laurel to celebrate and dedicate the completion of a major repair project at the home of  Lisa Koyanagi and her sister Laura Passwaters .   The project included exterior work to seal the home from leaks, front porch repairs, kitchen floor replacement, and bathroom improvements.  Importantly, Habitat volunteers and AmeriCorps members installed handicap accessibility elements in the house and bathroom so that Lisa can move more freely throughout her home.  The work was completed in one month with partial funding provided by Delaware State House Authority.
The dedication offered everyone a few minutes to pause and give thanks for all of the hands-on effort that went into this project.    In the tradition of Sussex County Habitat, Lisa and Laura received the homeowner's prayer signed by team members as a way to remember this meaningful partnership. The family then welcomed folks into their home for pizza, fellowship, and a tour of the completed project.

Sussex County Habitat for Humanity is seeking homeowners who have major repair needs and live on the west side of Central Avenue within the town limits of Laurel.   To learn more, contact Audrey Miller, Neighborhood Revitalization Programs Coordinator, at  302-855-1153 ext. 217 . 

Framing Fragments- Updates on Current Builds
Washington Ave.
Completing Siding and Trim, Insulation and Drywall

14446 Collins St.
Drywall, Paint and Trim

Lot 12 Collins Street
Beracah delivered, Work on Marriage wall

Beginning Bathroom and Laundry Addition

  Questions? Ready to Volunteer? 
  E-mail Programs Director Barbara Ward at
or call 302-855-1153 x211

  We welcome all  - individuals and groups - to build with us at anytime: This is what our founder, Millard Fuller , called the Theology of the Hammer .

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