By Ray Balogh
WARSAW — Rob Nichter stood on the porch and held out his hand to receive the thing that, as his wife, Jamie, described, “will change everything.”
With about 40 celebrators looking on, Dennis Judy, construction manager of Habitat for Humanity of Kosciusko County, handed over the key to the Nichters’ brand-new four-bedroom Warsaw home on East Leedy Street during a home dedication ceremony Sunday, June 28.
The Nichters and their three children welcomed the opportunity to move out of the increasingly dilapidating and uninhabitable mobile home they were crammed into for nine years.
“We can finally give the children a bedroom they deserve,” said Jamie. The family recently took in a foster child.
Two years ago Rob and Jamie went through Habitat’s application process, which included a home visit by the organization’s family selection committee. Jamie was apprehensive about the visit, fearing a judgmental attitude, but was disarmed by the kindness and authenticity of the women committee members.
“Everyone we have met has been very humble,” she said. “They have embraced us with open arms. They are so selfless. I realized these people are truly genuine people.”
The house is the 30th built by the county’s Habitat organization since its founding in 1991. Recipients are required to invest at least 250 hours of labor on the construction of their home or another Habitat build, which all follow a two- to five-bedroom blueprint template. The homeowners then assume the mortgage with payments made to Habitat.
The organization relies predominantly on donations and sales from an annual quilt sale and its resale outlet shop in Warsaw.
“We are aiming for finances to build three houses in 2020,” said Kaufman. “We have a donated lot for a five-bedroom house in North Webster and we are looking at a groundbreaking by mid-July.”
To raise funds, the county’s Habitat for Humanity has initiated a “500 at $500” campaign, which seeks 500 individuals, businesses, churches or families to give a gift of at least $500.
Donations can be made through the website, www.kosciuskohabitat.org, or by calling the corporate office at (574) 269-4104. Monetary donations may also be mailed to P.O. Box 1913, Warsaw, IN 46581.
The office and resale store are located at 3970 Corridor Drive, Warsaw.
The Habitat ReStore outlet sells furniture, cabinets, countertops, furnaces, appliances, fixtures, plumbing, light bulbs, trim, lumber and other building materials at reduced prices, with proceeds going to the organization.
Habitat is always looking for donations of items for the ReStore. Items must be in good working condition with no broken or missing parts and no rust.
Dishwashers, kitchen faucets and water heaters must be newer than 2013 and other appliances may not be more than 10 years old. Donors can ask questions about the donation parameters and arrange pickup of items by calling (574) 314-6603.
The resale shop is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday, but “we would open more days and more hours if we had more volunteers, said Mickey Kaufman, Habitat’s executive director.
The ministry’s stated mission is, “seeking to put God’s love into action, Habitat for Humanity brings people together to build homes, community and hope.”
To repay Habitat’s benevolence, the Nichters intend to be part of the organization’s contingent of donors. “They would like to start saving money to help other families,” said Kaufman. “They want to take all the hope and blessings given to them and pour it into other peoples’ lives.”