A worthy upgrade
HBA Remodelers Council enhances kitchen at Raleigh shelter
by Lara P. Wilson
The Home Builders Association of Raleigh-Wake County is committed to various charity and community service events as a way to support homeownership. So when the opportunity arose for the organization’s Remodelers Council to contribute to a worthy cause — upgrading the kitchen at the New Bern House, part of the Helping Hand Mission — the choice was an easy one.
The New Bern House is a 9,200-square-foot transitional home and food shelter that serves an average of 100 to 300 meals per day to both its residents and those hurt by economic conditions. Time and years had left its kitchen with holes in the floors and walls, minimal working appliances, limited storage, and an uncomfortable work space. So last fall, the council gave the mission house a significant kitchen upgrade.
“The New Bern House provides a family with stability during times of uncertain transition,” says Nathan “Doc” Harley, Ph.D., assistant director of Helping Hand Mission. “We can house up to 65 residents, where most are small families, so the kitchen plays a vital role in this facility both for our residents and the homeless, who we also serve.”
Lending a hand
Helping Hand Mission purchased the 1920s house in 1995 using money it had collected through donations. As a safe haven, the house helps resident families transition back into the mainstream with clothing assistance, counseling and a range of programs. On a regular basis, the New Bern House receives food donations from area restaurants and food organizations. On a daily basis, volunteers serve nutritional meals to residents and deliver food baskets to others who are handicapped or disabled.
“The entire reason for the remodel was to deliver functionality, regardless of style,” says Harold Glazer, president and CEO of H Glazer Builder Inc., who brought the project to the council and oversaw it last fall. “During a holiday season, the house will serve around 7,500 meals, so the kitchen needs to work well for its volunteers.”
The Remodelers Council, which embraces an annual community service project, knew the urgency to complete the kitchen remodel before the end of November but was thrown a curveball before the project could be scheduled. Last February, the council was invited by NBC’s “Today Show” and “George to the Rescue,” a home improvement television show, to serve as certified experts for a special volunteer project. It later was recognized by the Wake County Board of Commissioners for its rescue remodel, which created handicap-accessible living space to benefit a bride who was paralyzed during a tragic accident.
In August, the council finally was able to begin organizing volunteers for the New Bern House kitchen remodel. Glazer — along with Rick Parker of The Renovation Specialists LLC, Deveraux Hamilton of Envision Built LLC, Eddie Casanave of Distinctive Remodeling LLC and another 20 companies — dedicated three weeks for the project.
“We basically created two kitchens for the house,” Glazer says. “The front part of the kitchen is now more for residents of the house to use, and the larger back part is a working commercial kitchen for large service.”
Because there were two range ovens but only one that worked, remodelers donated four new oven ranges, eight gas burners, three refrigerators, and four microwaves. Because the kitchen had limited storage, remodelers enclosed the back porch off of the kitchen and created a 200-square-foot storage room.
The original space had only one small sink, so remodelers added two commercial sinks for volunteers to efficiently wash large pots and pans. The remodel also included adding new cabinets and flooring, as well as repairing the walls and adding a backsplash.
One of the project’s challenges was the lack of heat or air conditioning in the kitchen. Before the council could install an HVAC system, it first had to upgrade the house’s entire electrical system to meet both energy demands and building code regulations.
“Often, the Remodelers Council does community projects that benefit one individual or family,” Glazer says. “For the New Bern House, we had the opportunity to complete a project that impacted the lives of an entire community.”
Lara P. Wilson is director of public relations for the Home Builders Association of Raleigh-Wake County. To learn more about the organization and the New Bern House project, visit www.hbawake.com.