Build a home, build a community.

Habitat for Humanity of Forsyth County has been transforming local residents into new homeowners for decades and also transforming lives throughout the process. An organization that encourages future homeowner participation during builds, Habitat also relies on a multigenerational group of volunteers to fulfill its vision of “a world where everyone has a decent place to live,” and one subset — the Habitat Young Professionals — recently reinforced its commitment to the cause via a fundraising event at The Roller Mill.

The 2017 Habitat House Party brought dozens of HYP members to The Roller Mill on March 10 for an evening of bidding, bites and camaraderie. The rustic ambiance of the restored venue encouraged casual attire versus black tie, and guests enjoyed a choice of beverages from Hoots Beer Co. and Raffaldini Vineyard along with a menu from The Porch Kitchen and Cantina that featured steak, sweet potato and chicken tacos, barbecue pork and Mimi’s Queso.

“This night is put on by an important group of Habitat supporters,” said Joanne Davidson, development manager for Habitat. “This is the next generation of Habitat volunteers, and we couldn’t do what we do without them.”

Since its founding in 2009, Habitat officials note that HYP has raised more than $125,000 for Habitat Forsyth and built three homes. HYP members can participate in regular social engagements, priority volunteer assignments, interactive fundraising opportunities, and exclusive member appreciation events — all while supporting the organization’s mission.

“We do a great job of working with retired and older volunteers,” said Mike Campbell, executive director for Habitat, attending with his wife, Missy. “Habitat Young Professionals is our attempt to bring a younger generation of supporters into the organization; we have a need for that young energy and benefit from their enthusiasm.”

In 2017, Habitat for Humanity of Forsyth County is projected to build 15 new homes and provide 20 to 25 renovated homes for veterans and the elderly. The Hammerbird Run, a 5K fundraising run that takes place on April 22, follows a route through several of the communities where Habitat homes are located.

At the House Party, Roller Mill owner Jennifer Evansjoined her husband, Jonjo, daughter, Haney, and family friend, Michael Merlo. Evans said that the renovation to the 1930s flour mill is a growing part of the West End Mill Works community.

“We are big believers in repurpose, recycle and reuse, and we’ve incorporated original materials into the renovation,” she said. “For example, an old grain hopper was recreated into a chandelier that I describe as industrial rustic with a dab of disco.”

The Roller Mill will host its first wedding in a couple of weeks, and Evans said that there are dozens of scheduled events on the calendar. For the House Party, The Porch’s Beth Spieler joined Charles Hall and Sara McGarty to set up the buffet while Alli Schaner prepped the wine bar. In the auction room, Zach Ashburn, Staci Hepler, Nicole Swann, Tyler Burrows and Jennifer de Guzmanprepped the auction items.

Pam Anglin took a quick break from her set-up duties to talk about the synergy between the Habitat mission and The Roller Mill.

“The Roller Mill promotes sustainability and recycling and reuse, which is what we do at Habitat,” Anglin said. “Having this event here tonight automatically makes everyone think about Habitat and what we do. Our volunteers and our homeowners are all local folks, and we’re working together to create hope.”


Article originally published in the Winston-Salem Journal.