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Building a Better Community with

Habitat for Humanity

We sat down with Dan Stezenko from Habitat for Humanity Thunder Bay to learn more about the relationships between local businesses and the charities operating in our community, and were treated to an uplifting story about a complex organization supported in an amazing variety of ways by a long list of businesses.  Here’s what we learned:

TBay Businesses Support the TBay ReStore.  The Habitat ReStore sells used building supplies, furniture and even appliances, and in addition to giving these items a second life – instead of a trip to the landfill –the store pays for all of Habitat for Humanity Thunder Bay’s administrative costs.  The major business connections we learned about will come as no surprise to regular ReStore shoppers, who avidly watch for donations of scratched, dented, mis-tinted and mis-ordered products from the Home Depot, Lowe’s and other retailers.  All the product sold in the ReStore is donated, either privately or by businesses.

TBay Businesses Support TBay Builds.  Habitat Thunder Bay’s amazing success – they’ve been able to give a hand up to 35 local families since 1994 – is largely due to the generosity of TBay’s business community.  Although the administrative overhead is covered by the proceeds from the ReStore, Habitat depends on donations to build homes.

For every home Habitat builds, businesses like FORM Architecture, Clow Darling, Skyway Canada, Equipment World and Signs Now discount their services while others like Lafarge, Chimo Building Supplies and North American Lumber, sell Habitat their products at big discounts to help out.  We were really excited to learn that iconic Thunder Bay employer Resolute Forest Products is one of Habitat’s biggest build donors, supplying free lumber for every build.

TBay Businesses Fundraise for TBay Charities.  Not every business has the capacity to donate thousands and thousands of dollars to our local charities, but they help in lots of other ways.  A great example is Habitat’s seventh annual Gingerbread Build fundraiser, coming up on November 25.  Teams raise a minimum of $500 in pledges to purchase their “build permit” for this event, and on build day they’ll gather at the Victoria Inn to build a tasty little Habitat Home and compete for the Building Inspector’s approval.  The teams are all supplied with the same building materials, including gingerbread walls, icing mortar and the Bulk Zone’s annual donation of build candies – some of which may actually make it onto the building project.

Anyone can form a team and enter, and we hear that four businesses have already entered ringers, including LTL Group, Equipment World, Acadia Broadcasting and TBT Engineering, who has issued a challenge to area engineering firms to beat their unbeatable building design this year.  Anyone looking to enter a team and show them up  – and the event is open to the public as well as businesses and not-for-profit organizations – can contact Tessa in the Habitat offices @ 345-5520 for more information or to register a team.

Choose the Businesses That Choose TBay.  Dan told us that he chooses TBay first because the businesses that operate in our community are the ones that help to make our community better.

This holiday season, #ChooseTBayFirst when you’re making your purchases, and support the business community that helps Habitat build homes!

Learn more about the amazing people and businesses among our Members:

Support community good works with the Charity Connect program.  Learn more.

Participants in the 100 People Who Care campaign donate, nominate and vote for their favourite Member charity to receive a quarterly group donation.  Sign up.

Upcoming Chamber Events

YQT: Charity Edition
CEDC Board Room
Leaders Luncheon – Greater Toronto Airports Authority
Best Western Plus NorWester Hotel & Conference Centre

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