Posted Saturday, August 3, 2019 9:14 pm
By LARRY C. BOWERS
Cleveland Kiwanis Club members received an update last Thursday on the ongoing operation of Habitat for Humanity's Restore on Grove Avenue.
Dave Williams, a native of New Brunswick, Canada, and a Lee College graduate, was the club's guest speaker. Williams is Habitat's Restore general manager.
Williams was introduced by this month's Program Chairman, Jake Duos.
Williams and his wife came to Cleveland in 1993 to attend Lee College, before the school became Lee University. His wife is currently employed at Lee, handling the affairs of international students.
Williams said he has a wealth of experienced in working with people, which he is called on to do at Habitat. He has been in the restaurant industry for the past 17 years.
He said his son, Donte, 18, is following in the footsteps of his parents with some international intervention. Where they left Canada to become U.S. citizens, the son is traveling to Switzerland for a year.
"We love this country," said Williams, adding that they still have family in Canada.
Williams went on to explain the operation of the Restore, and Habitat in general. "A lot of people think we give away free homes!" he said. "There is a lot more to it than that. "
He said ownership of the Habitat homes is based on need, and partnership. Potential homeowners are screened prior to approval by the Habitat Board of Directors.
They also must provide 300 sweat equity hours, and a small downpayment based on individual finances. Then, they must maintain regular loan payments. The new homeowners are also required to take a Dave Ramsey financial management course.
Williams said the homes range in value from $75,000 to $80,000, and the Habitat Restores secures available financing for about one-third of each home.
He emphasized Habitat provides a lot to the community.
In discussing the day-to-day operation of the Restore, he said Habitat provides pick-up of donated items on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday each week.
When asked about the type of items frequently donated, and sold at the Restore, Williams said the leading item for donations and sales, is probably furniture items.
"We have people in the community who give us items, and we place a reasonable price on them for resale. "It's a cycle of blessings," the Restore manager said.
He said the missions of Habitat and the Kiwanis Club are very similar. "We bless people, and you bless children," he pointed out in praise of the Kiwanis Club's many community service projects.
Williams foinished his talk by saying Habitat, including the Restore operation, has only six full-time employees. "We couldn't do what we do without our volunteers," he said, adding that 75 to 80 percent of the activities at Habitat are conducted by volunteers.
In an attrempt to recruit volunteers, Williams told the Kiwanians, "We have a number of chores you would enjoy."
"You need to go to one of our home dedications," Williams added. "They are the heart of Habitat."
In closing, Williams urge the Kiwanis members to "Come shop at the Restore."
• Kiwanians are putting the final touches on plans for this year's fundraising golf tournament.
The tournament will be a select-shot affair at Chatata Valley Golf Course on Thursday, Sept. 5, 2019. The entry fee is $350 per team, or $90 for an individual.
Lunch will be at 11:30 a.m., with the start of play at 1:30 p.m. Each participant will receive a golf shirt this year.
Team sponsorships are available for $400, or $150 to be a hole sponsor. There will be closest-to-the-hole awards on each par three, with the chance to win a free automobile with a hole-in-one.
The Don Ledford dealership and Chick fil-Al Restaurant are major partners. For more information, you can call Mike Thomason at 715-9795.