For almost 20 years, Habitat for Humanity Roaring Fork Valley has been making an impact in our valley. From developing and building homes for people in need, to providing home subsidies, assisting with mortgages and offering down-payment assistance.
“From Aspen to Glenwood to Parachute, our valley has 80,000 people,” says Scott Gilbert, president of Habitat for Humanity Roaring Fork Valley. “Our core mission is to build homes for people in need who need a hand up not a hand out. We live in a particularly difficult area. Take teachers for example. They make less than other teachers in Colorado and it costs more for them to buy a home. It’s a double whammy.”
The Habitat ReStore, Gilbert says, is key to funding these programs. It is one of the largest (and nicest) in the country, with the highest per-capita sales in the country, generating $2 million a year.
But even with a 10,000-square-foot storage space, and another storage space in the works, the ReStore cannot sell all the donations it receives, and sometimes items received are not up to snuff for discerning Roaring Fork Valley buyers.
Overflow items, Gilbert says, often go to other regional ReStores. Beyond keeping the items in the ReStore network, Gilbert also works with a nonprofit in the Arkansas River Valley that takes its items and sells them to fund a very special nonprofit.
For more than five years, Habitat Roaring Fork has fostered a relationship with New Horizons, a Christian ministry in Cañon City. New Horizons leaves a trailer in Glenwood and ReStore staff fills it with excess merchandise. New Horizons uses that overflow to fill their two thrift stores in Pueblo and Cañon City. Those sales help fund New Horizons’ programs.
“We had no idea what New Horizons was,” Gilbert admits. “Turns out, the money they raise first and foremost goes to taking care of babies while their moms are incarcerated. They care for them for several years until their mothers are released. It gives me chills just to think about it.”
Additionally, every Wednesday, the organization’s Spiritual Life Supervisors drive the babies two hours to see their mothers at the Denver Women’s Correctional Facility, Gilbert says. Remaining funds are used to increase compensation for chaplains who counsel the inmates, so they can spend more time with them.
“We know at Habitat we are doing something good,” Gilbert says. “The ReStore helps build homes, pays administration costs and hard costs. Every dollar raised goes into the home-building program. To have a secondary benefit like this, I was blown away. It’s a nice bow on top of an already pretty cool package.”
Amiee White Beazley is a Basalt-based journalist. Her work has appeared in The Washington Post, Wine Enthusiast and Sunset magazine, among other national publications. Read more at awbeazley.com