DOBBINS HEIGHTS — Come September, Michael David’s house will be ready for winter.
His home is about to outfitted with two doors and eight new windows with help from the Habitat for Humanity of the N.C. Sandhills.
David said he’s been living in his home off and on for the past 20 years.
“It was just like a shed, but we put the bricks on it and made it a home,” he said.
Habitat volunteers will make repairs on David’s home starting Sept. 11, in conjunction with the United Way’s Day of Caring.
“I’m just as happy as I don’t know what,” he said. “It’s gonna do wonders during the winter.”
“You don’t see me smilin’,” he said as he hugged himself, “but it’s all joy on the inside.”
David said he wouldn’t ask for a handout, just a hand, which is what Habitat leaders say the organization is all about.
David isn’t the only person in Dobbins Heights to receive help. A World War II veteran recently had his back porch — which was caving in — repaired and a wheelchair ramp added.
“We’re really trying to help the elderly live and sustain on their own,” said Danielle Castellino, spokeswoman for the local Habitat branch. “That’s one of our main goals.”
“We’re trying to find repairs, but not a lot of people are applying,” she said, so the organization is reaching out to local churches. “We need people to apply so we know there is that need in this area.”
Last year, Habitat helped with 30 repairs in the region, which serves Richmond and Moore counties. Six of those were in Richmond County. This month, Habitat is scheduled to fix three homes in Rockingham.
The organization plans to build at least one home per year in Richmond County, with a groundbreaking planned for next spring. Habitat has built 10 homes in the county since 2005.
Castellino said to be eligible for assistance, applicants need to make 30 to 60 percent of the local average income. Habitat also looks at the number of family members and whether there are any disabilities.
Terri Gaar, operations manager, added that Habitat also prioritizes applicants if there is a safety issue.
“Most of our repairs are more critical than exterior, pretty work,” she said.
Gaar added that Habitat has been working with other groups that help build wheelchair ramps.
She said each group has its limitations, and by working together they can “bridge that gap.”
“Together, we can do a lot more,” she said.
Executive Director Amie Fraley said Habitat is trying to build a strong volunteer base in Richmond County.
“There are so many volunteer opportunities that are not just swinging a hammer,” she said.
Fraley said volunteers can help out by providing lunches, support behind the scenes, serving on various committees or working in the ReStore.
Ken Rahal, donation procurement coordinator, said the store — which is currently going through renovations — is “getting away from the thrift store concept and more into a housewares store…things you can use around the home.”
He said the store is getting new donations from companies like Lowe’s and from the community.
Rahal said even students at Richmond Senior High have been supportive, between volunteering at the store and holding a “Stuff the Truck” drive.
Fraley and company encourage anyone who is interested in volunteering to stop by the local ReStore, call the store at 910-817-9576, phone the local office at 910-817-9526 or call the main office in Aberdeen at 910-295-1934.
Reach reporter William R. Toler at 910-817-2675.