Volume 16, Number 7
It went unnoticed at the time, but the beginning of Habitat for Humanity of Wake County began at the Corner Ice Cream Shop in Wake Forest in early 1985.
According to the article by Ilyasah N. Shabazz in Habitat Wake’s website, Chris Fuller, son of Habitat founder Millard Fuller, met with Jack VandenHengel and three others to discuss forming an affiliate group in Wake Forest. Shabazz wrote, “Around the same time, Dennis Gabriel, John Wilson and Fred Johnson, were meeting to discuss organizing an affiliate in Raleigh.
The two groups came together and formed the Heart of Carolina Habitat for Humanity. Jack VandenHengel was selected as acting executive director, and Rick Beech served as his assistant. A year later, Beech was named executive director. John Wilson was elected as chairperson of the board. Shortly after the initial board meeting, Habitat Wake received offers of three parcels of land at no cost.
In early June 1986, the first construction project commenced on East Hargett Street. Volunteer Fred Johnson successfully recruited the building trades to donate skilled labor and associated equipment and materials. Volunteers completed construction in December. The Lennon Family purchased this home, becoming the first Habitat Wake homeowner.
Edenton Street United Methodist Church, with Sid Gulledge Sr. leading the effort, became Habitat Wake’s first sponsor in 1987. With the support of Edenton Street, Habitat Wake broke ground on Jubilee Court in Wake Forest, which led to the development of the first Habitat Wake neighborhood.
In 1990, a charter was approved to change the organization’s name to Habitat for Humanity of Wake County. For more than 30 years, Habitat Wake has partnered with thousands of individuals, corporations, and churches to build homes, communities, andhope with hardworking families.”
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Since that beginning Habitat has built 630 homes in Wake County, 38 of them in Wake Forest. Eight of the Wake Forest homes have been built in the past three years, Nancy Bromhal, the director for the annual fund and communications with Habitat, said last week. And Habitat opened its ReStore in the Market shopping center in 2015.
“We have done extensive Neighborhood Revitalization work with the Northeast End residents in the past few years, including exterior repair projects and building the Pavilion at Hope House. The coordinator of the Northeast End Neighborhood Revitalization efforts is Tilda Caudle who can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org,” Bromhal wrote last week.