We’ve Built 329 Habitat Pinellas Homes for 812 Children and Funded 299 Homes Overseas.

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Habitat Pinellas ReStore and Administrative Offices will be closed May 25 and May 27!

Friday, May 22, 2015

Our Habitat Pinellas ReStore and Administrative Office will be closed on Monday, May 25th in observance of Memorial Day.

We will also be closed on Wednesday, May 27th so that all of our staff can participate in a special day for Habitat Pinellas with the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field!

We will be open our regular hours on Tuesday, May 26th, and Thursday and Friday from 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. and Saturday, 9 a.m. - 4 p.m.

Thank you for your continued support for Habitat for Humanity and our ReStore!

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Harris Poll Equitrend lists Habitat for Humanity as 2015’s No. 1 Social Services Nonprofit Brand!

Thursday, May 21, 2015

We're thrilled that the Harris Poll Equitrend list places Habitat for Humanity at the top of its Social Services Nonprofit list!

The list rankings are based on over 38,000 Americans assessing over 1,400 brands in 148 categories.

According to a Harris Poll media release:

Enduring Brands Top 2015 Harris Poll EquiTrend® List

New York, March 24, 2015 – The brands Americans love say a lot about how they live.  In 2015, classic trusted brands increasingly comingle with “connected” internet brands based on the top brands in the 2015 Harris Poll EquiTrend® study.  EquiTrend is Harris Poll’s annual study of brands.

The EquiTrend Brand Equity Index is comprised of three key factors—Familiarity, Quality and Consideration—that result in a Brand Equity rating for each brand.   Brands that rank highest in Equity receive the Harris Poll EquiTrend "Brand of the Year" award for their category...

Click here to read the remainder of the release and see the complete Harris Poll Equibrand list.

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Sharing the Experience of the Jimmy & Rosalynn Carter Weekend

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Our CEO, Mike Sutton, had the opportunity to participate in a Jimmy & Rosalynn Carter Weekend and, fortunately for us, he kept a journal of his experience to share with our local Habitat supporters. Read his impressions of his trip that took him to President Carter's boyhood home and the little church where he teaches Sunday school.

May 15 - 10:15 a.m.

A feeling of anxiousness as I sit in the airport on my way to Atlanta. Maybe even a bit nervous. Thinking about meeting a former United States President can be a bit overwhelming. I'm not one to get star struck...I've met thousands of athletes over the years as an avid sports fan and a handful of "celebrities" as well. But something about meeting the 39th United States President has me overwhelmed.

While some may not be a fan of his job as president,  the work he has done in his 40 years post-presidency cannot be denied. The work he has especially done for Habitat for Humanity is amazing. His support has helped validate this Christian ministry and has help propel it into the mainstream media from a grassroots, volunteer driven organization to a global nonprofit powerhouse. I think my first words to President Jimmy Carter may just be "thank you".

May 16 -9 a.m.

As we board the bus and head to Plains, GA to meet President and Mrs Carter, there is an excitement in the air.  Thirty individuals, representing 7 counties and 12 states, are ready for the three-hour bus trip.

I've met a gentleman and his wife from the Dominican Republic who are here because of their passion to bring Habitat to their county. They feel President Carter has been a great advocate for human & social rights in their country and have traveled to meet him.

I'm sitting with a couple on the bus from Massachusetts, who despite being Red Sox fans, are here because of their long standing commitment to the Carter Center, yet are new to Habitat. I can't help but listen in on the conversation between Jonathan Reckford, Habitat International CEO, and HSN's Bill Brand about the work Habitat is doing. To hear Bill speak so highly of Habitat Pinellas brings a sense of pride to my heart knowing our mission is making an impact of this caliber on our local leaders.

May 16 - 1:58 p.m.

We arrived at 11:15 and after about 45 minutes of touring Jimmy Carter's boyhood farm, they asked our group to line up as President Carter would be arriving shortly. Individual photos would be taken with each guest (in a very quick manner, might I add). In the quiet rural area of Plains, a large pickup truck and black SVU come speeding down the road and out pops former President Jimmy Carter...from the back seat of the pick-up truck.

He proceeds to the porch of his boyhood farm as everyone claps and he immediately starts photos. I was about tenth in line and as I approached, I shook his hand and simply said "thank you" as I had planned. His response, "no, thank you young man".  We snapped a quick photo and I was on my way outside to the lunch.

Listening to a 90-year-old man give a 20 minute speech with no notes and staying on point was a very impressive sight. As everyone was full from the fried chicken, collard greens and cornbread, he answered questions from the crowd before everyone gathered for a large group photo. 

After the snap of the photo, he turned and thanked everyone before walking off with his Secret Service agent.  We all watched him walk off. He waved to bystanders who happened to be at the farm with no idea he would be there today.  He stopped to say hello to a small girl and took a quick photo with her.  As he patted her on the head and walked away, I thought to myself, he is the man who put Habitat on the map.

May 17 11:15 a.m.

When told we would have to board the bus by 7 a.m. (on a Sunday morning!), I knew I would be struggling a bit this morning. We arrived at Maranatha Baptist Church in Plains around 7:45 and the line had already started forming.

It was strange arriving to church 2+ hours before start time, but then again, this wasn't an ordinary Sunday.  Hats off to Maranatha Baptist for building a culture focused on God, when they could easily profit or exploit Mr. and Mrs. Carter as members. 

Soon after 8 a.m., about six Secret Service agents arrived and organized the line for entrance into the church. Talk about organized! We were ushered into the church and we found our seats in the center of the small, modest sanctuary. Around 9:30, a volunteer with the church provided instructions to everyone about President Carter and the "rules" of attending their service. She provided so much laughter, I felt like we were at a comedy show.

Listening to President Carter, I couldn't help but think "this man was the leader of the United States at one time and is now leading Sunday school class for about 200 people."  It again amazed me how organized he was...no notes...yet stayed on point with the handouts we were provided.  I actually turned around at one point to see if there was a TelePrompTer.

President Carter's message was simple.  He read from the book of John, chapter 14, verses 1-19 and 26. He spoke about Jesus as the way to the Father God and God's promise of the Holy Spirit.

As he wrapped up, I leaned over to the women next to me and said, 90 years of knowledge in his mind and he is as sharp as can be! Time to start church service! 

May 17 - 1:00 p.m.

We've boarded the bus after a full weekend and now time to head back to Atlanta. The weekend has been one of education and rejuvenation. 

I've met some amazing folks on this journey.  I was able to connect with some HfHI staff members. I was able to watch a number of people come into the weekend curious about Habitat and leaving asking how they can help more. I met a gentleman who served as the housing minister in Mexico...a gentleman who serves on the board of directors of the bank that Habitat Pinellas banks with...a woman who grew up in a Habitat home and now serves as the DA in Denver....I even overheard a gentleman make a seven-figure commitment to Habitat International's work.

I'm not sure of Habitat's goal for the weekend, but I would assume the idea was to leverage the excitement of the individuals who attended to further advance the mission of Habitat. If that was the goal, mission accomplished. 

My final thoughts on former President Jimmy Carter is that any preconceived judgments I had made based on his politics or the jokes on being a peanut farmer really do not matter. He is a kind man. A man who truly believes each one of us can make a difference and impact the world and community we live in. A man who was driven since he was six-years-old and holds a busier calendar than I have ever seen. A man that puts his God, family and community first.  And a man that we should all strive to be.

I'm honored and thankful for this amazing three-day trip.

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Double the fun at the Cady and Cotto home dedications!

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Check back soon for the link to our Picasa album!

They are new homeowners and they are also next door neighbors! Congrats to the Cady and Cotto families whose homes were dedicated Tuesday afternoon at our Stevens Creek neighborhood in Clearwater.

We had double the fun as each family received the key to their new home and several gifts from dedication participants. Special thanks to U.S. Congressman David Jolly, Valpak, Duke Energy, Anona United Methodist Church, and Random Acts of Flowers for the welcome gifts you provide for all of our home dedications.

Special thanks to Clearwater Toyota, sponsor of the Cotto home, and to Catalina Marketing, sponsor of the Cady home. And a huge thank you to the students of Collegiate Challenge who spent their spring break here to help us build the Cady home.

Many thanks to all the volunteers who helped us build these two homes!

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Home dedication in Oldsmar for the Isaac family!

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Check more pics in our Picasa album!

Saturday morning started with a flurry of activity as a team of 15 enthusiastic volunteers from Nielsen scrambled to lay the sod and plant the landscaping at the Isaac home in Oldsmar. And just in time for the 12:30 p.m. dedication, the home was completely finished!

And they all stuck around to watch Shantaye Isaac receive the key to her family's new Habitat home from Nielson's Amy Rettig. Many thanks to Nielsen for sponsoring this home for the Isaac family, and to their amazing employees who volunteered over 200 hours to help us with the build!

Thanks also go to our dedication participants including Stephani Lavely of U.S. Congressman David Jolly's office, Oldsmar Mayor Doug Bevis, County Commissioner Dave Eggers, Joe Triolo of Duke Energy, Dave Gerald and Rev. Laura Ice of Anona United Methodist Church.

And thank you to each and every volunteer who helped us build the Isaac home!

Photos: Top, Shantaye receives flowers from her mom, courtesy of Random Acts of Flowers. Below, Nielsen volunteers with the Isaac family.

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