NeighborLink Porter County to open resale home improvement store
BY DONNA KUHN Post-Tribune correspondent August 8, 2014 8:00PM
Judy Alders holds a NeighborLink T-shirt as she stands beside a donated couch and chair. | Donna Kuhn/For Sun-Times Media
If you go
102 Beverly Drive, Chesterton
Donations accepted by appointment by calling (219) 617-2077
For more information
NeighborLink Porter County
P.O. Box 2071
Chesterton, IN 46305
Updated: September 10, 2014 6:18AM
Since 2008, about 400 individuals and Porter County families suffering hardships have gotten help with basic home improvements and repairs at no cost to them.
Now NeighborLink Porter County is about to expand with the opening of RePurpose Place, a home improvement resale shop to benefit those in need.
Donations of new or gently used building materials, doors, windows, furniture, appliances and tools are being accepted at the store on Beverly Drive in Chesterton.
Since its inception, NeighborLink volunteers have done everything from raking leaves and shoveling snow to painting, cleaning, plumbing, heating and air conditioning, roofing and providing transportation, among other tasks.
Executive director Judy Alders, of Chesterton, said the building, located a block behind Round the Clock restaurant in Chesterton, will expand on those services.
“We have had a storage unit for a number of years,” she said. “People would donate building materials and appliances to us and we would turn around and use them for projects or give them to people in need. The storage unit was filling up, so we decided to open a store to help move some of that inventory. The Beverly Drive building seemed like a perfect fit.
“We called the owners to inquire about its use and they didn’t have any immediate plans for it and said we could rent it for a while. It’s in a great location and will help bring awareness to the important work that the NeighborLink Porter County volunteers do.”
Items that can be found at RePurpose Place include building materials such as cabinets, countertops, sinks, doors, windows, roofing materials, plumbing fixtures, flooring, tools and drywall, as well as nuts, bolts and screws. Large appliances and furniture are also available.
NeighborLink grew out of a desire to help those in need, according to Alders.
“Larry (her husband) and I had been involved with ShareFest for a couple of years. ShareFest is a one-day work event done annually by Porter County churches. It was my job to find the projects that would be completed,” she said. “We really enjoyed being a part of ShareFest but wanted to be able to continue the mission throughout the rest of the year. There are many people in need here in Porter County. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, in 2013, the population of Porter County was 166,557. Almost 10 percent are reported as having incomes below poverty level.”
Alders said they shared their thoughts with their church pastor, who directed them to NeighborLink Fort Wayne, the first website launched in 2003.
“We got in touch with them and seven months later launched Neighborlink Porter County,” she said.
Alders said NeighborLink is most concerned with helping those who have difficulties or simply cannot help themselves. Those typically served include the unemployed or disabled, those on welfare, those who are widowed or are single parents, or who are suffering from some other hardship.
“NeighborLink is a Christian community organization with a website that allows volunteers to connect directly to needy homeowners who are requesting help for basic home maintenance and repairs. Our mission is practical neighbor-to-neighbor expressions of God’s love,” she said.
One client from Chesterton was so encouraged by the help she received that she now wants to volunteer.
“NeighborLink is a wonderful program,” she said. “A few years ago I had a group of excellent people redo the roof on our mobile home. All the caring in their hearts overwhelmed me and my children with nothing but positivity. I would like to help our community as much as me and my children can possibly do.”
Although disabled, the woman said she can complete small tasks.
“I would love to be a part of this to uplift people’s spirits like you did for my family. Everyone involved in this program (is) wonderful and have changed so many people’s lives, including my family’s. Without you, we wouldn’t be in our home anymore because the roof would’ve caved in eventually,” she said. “I can’t wait to volunteer for NeighborLink. I was always told to give back to the community and have always wanted to, so here’s my chance.”
Alders said her group is waiting on some more donations and finalizing the paperwork before planning the grand opening. All profits from the store will be used to help fund the projects completed for NeighborLink clients.
An anonymous $5,000 donation recently kicked-started the effort to buy a $7,500 truck for the new store. That goal has been reached. Donations can be made to the general fund by visiting www.neighborlinkpc.org/donate.