About Us

We Do More Than Build Homes. We Build Possibilities.
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Our History

Helping Families Become Homeowners Since 1991

Habitat for Humanity was founded by Millard and Linda Fuller in 1976. Its mission has always remained the same—to improve our communities and the lives of others by eradicating substandard housing and homelessness by providing safe and affordable housing. Since 1976 Habitat for Humanity has built over 400,000 homes in countries around the world and provided over 1,000,000 people with safe and affordable housing.

The Greater Florence affiliate of Habitat for Humanity received its charter in 1991 and has since partnered with 40 families and 52 children to help them become homeowners and give them the opportunity for a better life.

Total Homes Built

Annual Volunteers

Annual Sponsors

Annual Volunteer Hours

Why Habitat is Needed

Lack of affordable housing can seep into every aspect of life. It forces families with low income to live in substandard rentals that consume much of their income for rent and energy costs. This leaves little money for food, healthcare, transportation and education. Families often move from rental to rental seeking lower housing costs, which triggers educational instability for children.
Habitat brings families, community partners and volunteers together to construct affordable, energy-efficient homes that help families build stability, strength and self-reliance. In fact, the stability provided by homeownership is recognized as the leading factor in children’s academic success.

The Habitat Model

The Habitat program has been carefully designed to ensure successful outcomes. This success is based on the following model.

  • Select families for homeowner partnership
  • Educate prospective homeowner families
  • Engage families through education and the performance of “sweat equity” in order to better themselves
  • Insist on personal responsibility by each homeowner family

Proof that Habitat Works

Our foreclosure rate is less than 0.4%. As families pay their mortgage, they develop equity in their home, which changes their financial trajectory and helps break the generational cycle of poverty. In turn, families are more stable, and neighborhoods and whole communities are strengthened.

Our Vision

A world where everyone has a decent place to live.

Our Guiding Principles

  • Demonstrate the love of Jesus Christ
  • Focus on shelter
  • Advocate for affordable housing
  • Promote dignity and hope
  • Support sustainable and transformational development

Our Non-proselytizing Policy

Habitat for Humanity International and its affiliated organizations will not proselytize. Nor will HFH work with entities or individuals who insist on proselytizing as part of their work with HFH.  This means that HFH will not offer assistance on the expressed or implied condition that people must adhere to or convert to a particular faith or listen and respond to messaging designed to induce conversion to a particular faith.

What Drives Us

Our Mission

Seeking to put God’s love into action, Greater Florence Habitat for Humanity brings people together to build homes, communities and hope.

Our organization will not proselytize, nor will we work with entities or individuals who insist on proselytizing as part of their work with us. Our vision is simply to create a world where everyone has a decent place to live.

Our Leadership

Greater Florence Habitat for Humanity staff members provide professional coordination, facilitation, financial, and administrative functions for Habitat partners, volunteers and homeowner families.

Debbie Edwards
Executive Director
dedwards@florencehabitat.com

In 2016, Debbie Edwards came on board as the Executive Director for Greater Florence Habitat for Humanity where she oversees the daily operations for both the affiliate and the Habitat Restore. She provides professional coordination all for Habitat partners, volunteers and homeowner families.  Prior to she was the Director of Sales and Marketing for Methodist Manor Retirement Community for 10 years. 

Debbie has served on various profit and non-profit boards to include Florence Rotary and the Professional Pee Dee Women’s Group in the Florence area. Her love of serving and helping people is her drive. She has chaired fund raising events to include the annual American Heart Association Annual Ball for two years, the Florence Rotary Alzheimer’s Fun 5K Run and the annual fundraiser for the Greater Florence Habitat for Humanity Cinco De Mayo Downtown event. 

Accomplishments include a graduate of the 2011-2012 Greater Florence Chamber Leadership class, in 2017 The Fred R. Sheheen Non Profit Leadership at FMU and received the 2008 Paul Harris Fellow from the Rotary Foundation. She is very involved with the Florence community and has served on various committees for the Florence Downtown Redevelopment projects. 

Originally from Greenville, S.C. she moved to Florence, S.C. in 2002 with her husband Phil.  Her passion for Habitat’s mission is above all in her world. The most exciting times is when a partner family is announced and handing over the keys to a forever home on the home dedication day. The smiles and relief on the faces of the partner families says it all and she sleeps better at night knowing one more family has stepped closer in beating the odds. A partner family deserves an affordable place to call home to remain safe and secure and that is the best feeling of all.

 

Wanda Fields

Family Services & Volunteer Director
wfields@florencehabitat.com

Sandi Herron

Financial Director
info@florencehabitat.com

Board of Directors Executive Commitee

Leadership for the Greater Florence Habitat for Humanity is provided by our Board of Directors Executive Committee and Board Members  — individuals from diverse backgrounds, offering varied experience and expertise. Our board members are selected for their demonstrated involvement with Habitat and their commitment to the organization’s mission and vision.

Robbie Timms

President

I am a lifelong Florence resident and have been in the Financial Services industry for 20 years.  I have been with Truist Wealth for the last 7 years serving as a Wealth Advisor.  In this role, I help affluent families and business owners take a comprehensive, strategic approach to financial planning and asset management.  I utilize an in-depth financial needs analysis, and partner with specialists in Banking, Strategic Credit, Investments, Risk Management, and Trust and Estate Planning.  I develop recommendations that are tailored to my client’s needs, priorities, and preferences. 

I have been a Board Member of Greater Florence Habitat for Humanity since 2014 serving in various roles including Treasurer and Vice President.  I’m currently serving as President of our Board.  I’m an avid golfer and serve on the Board at Florence Country Club.  I’ve also been Chairman of the McLeod Children’s Hospital Golf Tournament for the past 6 years.  I’m married to my wife Grace and have two sons, Carson and James Wade.  I enjoy coaching their various sports teams and staying active in the community. 

I’m passionate about Habitat for Humanity because we really make an impact for our family partners by providing them with a house of their own.  Many times it’s not only a house, but a fresh start for their lives and their families.  We may only assist 2 to 3 families per year, but we are making a lifetime impact on the partner families that we assist.  They then become a part of our family, the Habitat family.

Brendan Barth

Vice-President

Born and raised in Florence, I am currently a partner in the law firm of Barth, Ballenger & Lewis, LLP.  My practice focuses on personal injury, family court, and criminal defense.  Before joining the law firm, I clerked for the Honorable R. Bryan Harwell, United States District Court Judge.  I have served on the Habitat Board since 2014, having previously held the positions of Treasurer and Secretary.  My wife (Mallory) and I are the proud parents of two kids, Taylor and Marshall.    

It is an absolute honor to serve on the Greater Florence Habitat for Humanity Board.  My favorite part of serving is the very real and very meaningful impact that Habitat has on the lives of each and every partner family.  The feeling you get when watching a partner family learn that they are getting a new home is indescribable.

 

Tom Carringer

Secretary

I have spent my life assisting churches and organizations that serve churches across the United States in strategy development and ministry/business development. Since 2104, I have been fortunate to serve on the Greater Florence Habitat Board as Development Director for several years and now on the Executive level as Board Secretary. During this time, in addition to changing people’s lives by providing adequate housing, we have established a strategic partnership with the City of Florence to provide properties for building homes and subsidies to improve them. We also launched one of the most famous street festivals in Florence, Cinco de Mayo, to raise money and increase awareness for this invaluable ministry to so many.

I am passionate about Greater Florence Habitat for Humanity because when we put someone in a home, we completely change many lives for generations to come! And by offering a hand up instead of a handout, any gift to Habitat is perpetual. You donate to build a home; the partner families pay off a reduced mortgage they can afford due to sweat equity and volunteer assistance; the mortgages’ monies go back into building homes for others. It never stops! I cannot see a better ROI on my investment than that! Join us! Be part of providing everyone in Greater Florence a decent place to live!

Megan Gioldasis

Treasurer

Megan is a graduate of Clemson University and the Graduate School of Banking at LSU. She and her husband, Pete, grew up in Florence and have deep roots in the community. Megan is the Branch Manager of CB&T Wealth Management, a division of Carolina Bank. She has served in many leadership roles in the Florence community and is a past board member of the Greater Florence Chamber of Commerce as well as Young Professionals. She is a graduated the Leadership Florence program in 2012 and was awarded the Chamber Champion in 2013. Serving on the Habitat Board since 2014, she has been chair of Family Services for the past 3 years. She is now Treasurer.
To have the privilege to be a part of an organization that can bring amazing change the lives of such deserving families has been one of the great joys of my life!

Board of Directors

Keon J. Aldrich

Keon J Aldrich is the Owner/Broker-in Charge of Pee Dee Elite Realty here in Florence. She has been in real estate for over 15 years and in 2018 was voted by the association membership for the position as
the President of the board of Realtors for the Pee Dee Realtor Association, which has over 400 members and covers 7 counties. Keon has held many positions throughout her career in Real Estate, on the local
and state level and now she can add national to her title as well, she was appointed in 2020 to serve as a director for the National Association of Realtors. She is well known throughout her community as a
supporter of local nonprofits, in which she has been a board member for many years. When she has spare time, she enjoys spending it with her husband, Brad and their children, a daughter, a junior in college and their son, who attends public school in the Pee Dee.

“Habitat for Humanity has helped so many families in the community that when the opportunity came for me to serve, there was no way I was going to turn it down. I serve because I enjoy being a part of such an amazing experience and to see the smiles on the families faces when you tell them they are the next deserving family to get a new house is a feeling that you cannot describe. It warms my heart to see how much the entire family, even down to the little kids appreciate what Habitat has done for them.”

Meggie Baker
A native of Florence, I serve as General Counsel for HopeHealth, Inc, exhibiting expertise in compliance and transactional law matters. Prior to returning to Florence in 2013, I clerked for Justice Kaye G. Hearn on the SC Supreme Court and co-authored a book with Chief Justice of the SC Supreme Court Jean H. Toal. Outside of proudly serving on the Habitat Board since 2016, I also serve on The School Foundation, and have proudly participated heavily in the arts when able.

Habitat brings a much needed service to our community and being able to watch a family realize what often seems like an unattainable goal fills my spirit with strength. I serve to be able to give these families the tools to step across the threshold into their new home and into a much brighter future.

Rev. Derrick Cattenhead

I am an Ordained Elder in the South Carolina Conference of the United Methodist Church. I am currently serving as the Associate Pastor of Central United Methodist Church in downtown Florence. Also, I am in my third year as a Member of the Board of Directors for Greater Florence Habitat. Additionally, I am actively involved in various community initiatives such as: The Delta Kappa Lambda Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc, Boys & Girls Club of the Pee Dee Area, Concerned Clergy of Florence, and others. In addition to my vocation, time served on the Board of GFHH, and my community affiliations, I am a skilled orator, community activist, advocate for outreach efforts, mentor, etc., and most importantly, a servant for the common good of humanity.

I am passionate about Greater Florence Habitat for Humanity because I have seen the incredible impact this organization has made on countless people’s lives. I serve on the Board of Directors because year after year, I have seen how each member gives themselves tireless to help the Executive Director and her staff receive as well as utilize feasible resources to help the organization continue its success.

Sam Gibson
I moved to the Florence area in 2008 after growing up in Auburn, Alabama. My wife (Leigh Anne) and I have a deep love for the Florence area. We are blessed to be apart of this community. I’ve served as the pastor at NewSpring Church in Florence for 10 years. Along with serving on the habitat board, I serve on the board with ‘Helping Helping Florence Flourish”. I serve with Habitat for Humanity because of the generational impact that happens for families. It isn’t that someone gets into a new house, but what that house represents. That house represents an opportunity for future generations for that family in a massive way.
Matt Goodstein
I’ve been on the board for 20 + years, married with 2 teenage children. I work at Dilmar Oil and the Grove Luxury Townhome companies.

I appreciate and admire Habitat’s mission of providing affordable home ownership for deserving families. It not only improves the lives of a specific family, but can also positively impact that family’s future generations. It’s a blessing to be involved with such an outstanding organization centered on Christian values.

Mathew Herod
Matthew Herod is the Community Banking Branch Manager leading the Florence Mall Wells Fargo branch in Florence, South Carolina. He is responsible for leading all Retail, Small Business, and Affluent efforts while fostering a diverse and positive environment for his twenty team members. He has held this position for the past 5 years.
Herod started his banking career with Wells Fargo nearly 7 years ago as a banker. During that time, he supported the branch as a business advocate and Licensed Brokerage Associate holding his FINRA Series 6 and 63. Prior to joining Wells Fargo, he was an educator with the Sumter School District for 7 years.

A native of Sumter, South Carolina, Herod earned his Bachelors of Arts Degree in Elementary Education from the University of South Carolina.

Herod is a member of the Wells Fargo Eastern South Carolina President’s Council and 2019 Golden Spoke recipient. He was recognized as Teacher of the Year for High Hills Elementary and a District finalist for Sumter School District 2 Teacher of the Year in 2011. He has served on the Greater Florence Habitat for Humanity Board since 2020.

Based in Florence, South Carolina, Herod is married with two daughters and enjoys sports and spending time with his family.

“Habitat is a great organization that has a direct impact on the local community. There is nothing like seeing the pride and happiness of a family on the day they are able to cut the ribbon on their new home.”

Marvin James
Hi, I am Marvin James, a native of Florence who loves people and the outdoors. From grilling on the back porch to fishing in the open sea to hiking waterfalls in the mountains to landscaping, which is what I do professionally, I just simply want to be outside in nature!! I have a passion for seeing projects go from a simple idea to a tangible reality. Coming from a farm & construction family, I enjoy swinging a hammer and cutting some wood as a way to clear my mind. In 2004, I graduated from Francis Marion University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration.
And, over the years since graduating I have seen people, restaurants, industry, and culture disappear from the community. One thing I have not seen leave this community is the willingness, eagerness and commitment to help those in need from Habitat For Humanity.
It has been an eye opening experience volunteering with various organizations in efforts to build homes for families in need. The joy, relief, excitement on the faces of partner families when they receive the news they have been chosen for a Habitat build is priceless and is what keeps me driven to be a part of this great organization. There is something special at the end of each build when we get to hand the keys over to the partner family and welcome them home, it pulls at the heartstrings and proves your efforts weren’t in vain.
Hank Leeke

Born and raised in upstate South Carolina near Greenville. Graduated from University of South Carolina with a Bachelor of Science in Engineering and Master of Business Administration. Retired in 2019 after thirty five years in business. Hobbies include home repair for those in need and woodworking.

I serve on the board because I feel called to help those in need of assistance. HFH is a way of giving back a small portion of the blessings I have received. I love our motto : Giving a hand up rather than a hand out.

Rob Lewis
Rob Lewis is a leader in the custom home building industry of the Pee Dee region. Lewis Construction Company Inc is celebrating its 50th year in business this year with emphasis on quality custom built homes as well as commercial projects including luxury town homes.

At a very young age he always had a desire to follow in his father’s footsteps. As a fourth-generation contractor his passion and gifted talents clearly shine through. Rob has always strived to maintain excellence in building while providing solid customer satisfaction.

Community involvement is important to Rob. He has enjoyed being a supporter of several non-profit organizations and local charities. Rob was extremely instrumental in the success of the annual oyster roast for the Florence Museum for over ten years. He also spent over a decade volunteering and coaching at McLeod Baseball Park. Spending time on the baseball field with his two sons and coaching other children are memories he will always cherish. He is quick to step in and help where his talents are needed. In years past, as a member of First Presbyterian Church of Florence, he enjoyed participating in their “Christmas in April” program where many local families needed home repairs. He has served as a board member since 2017 for Greater Florence Habitat for Humanity. Rob has been the project manager and is currently serving on the construction committee. Being on this board has been a natural fit for Rob and very rewarding. To be able to implement his talents through his passion for helping others plays right into the mission of the Habitat for Humanity.

Rob is a native of Florence, South Carolina. He earned a business degree from Presbyterian College in Clinton, South Carolina. Rob is married to his wife Meg and has two sons, Weston, and Hayden. When Rob is not working, you would probably find him on a boat or saltwater fishing spending time with family and friends.

Jammie J. McDonald

I have proudly worked for First Citizens Bank for 13 years. I have been a member of the Florence West Rotary Club for 12 years, serving in several capacities; President 2013-2014; Assistant District Governor for 3 years. Chamber Ambassador, Former Chair Florence Leadership, served for 4 years.  I thankfully serve on the Habitat board for almost a year now, where the year has had lots of challenges, we have pulled together and made differences to so many lives in the Florence Community. Being able to do what we do from donations that local organizations contribute makes my heart smile. I am proud to be a part of such a great organization.

Donald Nance
Jason Newton

Jason is Vice President-Investments and a founding partner of Crescent Advisory Partners of Raymond James. He has dedicated his career to helping clients build, manage, preserve and transition their wealth, through his work as a Financial Advisor. He has more than 20 years of financial industry experience and is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional.

Jason has been a member of the Greater Florence Habitat for Humanity board of directors since 2012.

He served as President and Chairman of the Board from 2017-2020. Jason says that his initial interest in serving on the board originated when he learned of the life-changing work done by Greater Florence Habitat for Humanity and the Habitat motto: “giving a hand up, not a handout”.

Jason has been involved in the community throughout his life. In addition to serving on the Greater Florence Habitat for Humanity board, he is also a longtime member and past president of the Kiwanis Club of Florence, a youth sporting clays coach for the South Carolina Youth Shooting Foundation, a past board member of the Pee Dee Chapter of the American Red Cross, and a member and youth basketball coach of First Presbyterian Church of Florence.

Jason is originally from Andrews, South Carolina. He now lives in Florence with his wife, Tara, and their children, Jayce and Jules.

“Unlike many other human service non-profit organizations, at Greater Florence Habitat for Humanity we don’t help a tremendous amount of individuals each year. However, when we help a family to realize the dream of homeownership, it becomes a life-altering event that reshapes the standard of living for multiple generations within that family. We are truly putting God’s love into action while building homes, communities and hope! This is why I serve through Greater Florence Habitat for Humanity.” – Jason Newton

Marvin Owen

Marvin Owen is the President Emeritus of ACS Technologies and serves on the ACS Board of Directors. Marvin holds a Math/Computer Science degree from Furman University and an MBA from Wake Forest University. He serves on the boards for the McLeod Hospital Foundation and the Methodist Manor. Marvin and his wife Beth Ann enjoy time with their six grandchildren and are very active in Central UMC of Florence SC.

Habitat is a great organization and I am happy to be a part of the board of directors.  The mission of providing homes for people in need is to me an active way to be the hands of God as taught by his son Jesus Christ.

William Schofield
Habitat for Humanity means to me being able to help give someone a hand up with improving their quality of life by helping them improve and secure a safe and healthy living environment. Being able to be apart of this organization is not only humbling but rewarding. Knowing that we’ve been able to help turn someone’s life around by helping them remove the anxiety and burden of living in or raising a family in subpar living environment brings me great joy and promise in our future generations. It all boils down to donations and having such a giving community we have been able to help so many. It doesn’t matter where you live, you have to give back more than you take.
Mandy Simpson
Mandy is a Florence native, and has over 15 years’ experience in the financial services industry. She is the owner of Mandy Simpson State Farm and opened her office in January 2017. Mandy has a Master’s in Business Administration and a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from Francis Marion University. In addition to serving on the Greater Florence Habitat for Humanity board, Mandy is a member of the Palmetto Business Referrals BNI Chapter, and she founded and leads the SC Agent Aspirant Program.

Serving on the board for GFHFH has enabled me to impact the lives of local families in such a profound way. A family’s home should be a place of solitude, happiness, and safety. And yet so many local families in Florence find themselves in terrible conditions, with no affordable housing, and no way to change their situation. This board is full of caring, compassionate people, who are willing to roll up their sleeves, and get stuff done. And that’s the kind of board I want to serve on – one that makes a difference, and changes people’s lives for the better.

Our ReStore Staff

We are grateful for our staff and volunteers who maintain, accept donations, stock the shelves and help us run the retail side of our ReStore. Every contribution received from the sale of each donated item goes to help another Greater Florence family achieve the dream of owning their own home.

Glinda Ellisor
Restore Manager
restore@florencehabitat.com
James Howard
Warehouse Manager
Zack Altman
Warehouse Associate
Joyce McDougal
ReStore Associate
Sydney Edmund
ReStore Associate
Carson Strawn
ReStore Associate