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Habitat for Humanity of Spartanburg is committed to empowering deserving, hardworking families. Seeking to put God's love into action, Habitat Spartanburg brings people together to build homes, communities and hope.
Habitat was founded on the conviction that every man, woman and child should have a simple, decent and affordable home to live in dignity and safety.
The story of Elmer and Ana Servando and their two daughters is one of faith, perseverance and true grit.
Elmer and Ana Servando were born in El Salvador, but met when they were in school in California. After they married and had two children, Amy and Natalie, they decided to move to South Carolina to be closer to family and to escape high living costs in California.
“At that time, we were living in a one bedroom mobile home in California, and wanted to make the move to South Carolina,” Elmer said. “Looking back now, it was the best move we ever made.”
With their children in tow, Elmer and Ana moved to South Carolina and lived with Ana’s brother and family in a small, older home in Spartanburg.
Tenisha Parks remembers the moment she let go of fear and turned her family’s future over to God.
“If you want something different, you have to do something different,” Rev. Walter Belton told his congregation late last year. As she sat in the pew, the single mother of two boys, ages 11 and 14, clung to those words.
For seven years, Tenisha and her two sons lived in government housing where the boys shared a bedroom and went to sleep with sounds of neighbors fighting and on some nights, gunshots in the background. Beer cans and drug needles were strewn throughout the complex.
When she was growing up, Tenisha said her family moved at least six times during her elementary school years. Stability, she said, was not a priority, but a goal she had for her own sons.
“I decided in that church to let go of the fear I had,” Tenisha said. “I had a $700 title loan hanging over my head, I was working two jobs and I was letting doubt control me.”
Charlene Lyle is the epitome of dedication - one of Habitat Spartanburg's most dedicated volunteers who has worked 3,408 hours building Habitat homes. In total, Charlene has worked on 45 Habitat Spartanburg homes!
Charlene is a member of an elite group - our regular volunteers who faithfully give one, usually two, days weekly to building homes for deserving families.
"After retirement I was looking for something to do and Habitat seemed like a good fit," Charlene said. "I look back now and think of all that I've learned, all of the people -- now friends who I met and I'm so thankful for the experience."
Joe Mattison -- the leader of the Monday Volunteer Group -- is humble about the work and time the group devotes to the Habitat Spartanburg ReStore.
"We work hard -- we do whatever needs to be done, but we enjoy each other's company, too," Joe said. "We all see it as a way to give back to the ministry -- and to Spartanburg -- and we have these bonds now with one another."
"I can't say enough about the volunteers and the donors who make owning a home possible. For years, I've had a dream of owning my own home in a safe neighborhood and now my dream is a reality, thanks to Habitat Spartanburg."