Betsy Murphy, Bob Marshall & Paul Thompton at annual awards


In February, one of the founding forces behind the local Habitat for Humanity chapter passed away. Bob Marshall filled his 96+ years with a commitment to his community and its most vulnerable members fueled by a Quaker-infused sense of justice. From redeveloping a block of old houses in Philadelphia, to leading Self-Help Enterprises through its emergence as a leading community development organization in the Central Valley, to making the dream of a Habitat for Humanity chapter in Visalia a reality.

Bob always “walked his talk”. He was part of the Habitat board that hired Betsy Murphy, the organization’s first executive director. She reflected that Bob’s persistence and leadership was a key driver to those first years of building homes with an all-volunteer team. He, together with Mary Lou Burbery, Bill Decker and many others, brought this crazy idea of “no profit/no interest” affordable homeownership to Visalia. As the organization grew to encompass all of Tulare County and Kings County, Bob and Joy were always there to encourage subsequent generations of leaders.

Recognized by the Visalia Chamber of Commerce as “Man of the Year” in 1993, those of us who knew Bob can only hope to have a fraction of the influence that he had on the lives of so many. He was a leader to be emulated by all.

Malcolm Dutch


In Memoriam – Malcolm Dutch

The last 12 months have been an extremely difficult time for many of us and the community that we share. As Habitat deals with the uncertainties of our current health and economic challenges, we rely on the guidance of thoughtful leaders, particularly the Habitat Board of Directors. Earlier this month, we lost one of those guides when our friend Malcolm Dutch passed away following a heart attack. Malcolm was a hard-working man who was often the last person to arrive at the board meetings after putting in another long day as owner of GJ Gardner Homes in Visalia. Yet, he showed up prepared to contribute insightful questions and practical suggestions. He was always ready to literally roll up his sleeves and make a difference to our organization and the families we serve. He was committed to Habitat’s mission of a “hand up” to those needing a decent place to live.

I am still trying to wrap my mind around the fact that Malcolm will not be at the next meeting of the Board of Directors. While we celebrate everything Malcolm was to each of us, I will miss his infectious laugh and distinctive New Zealand accent. Most of all, I will miss his friendship.

Dirk Holkeboer, Executive Director

Hanford ReStore-Hanford Sentinel


HANFORD — Habitat for Humanity of Tulare/Kings Counties ReStore in Hanford is helping build communities in more ways than one.

The ReStore, located at 415 W. Lacey Blvd., is essentially a home improvement thrift store, where donations of new and used items related to the home, including appliances, furniture, windows and doors, cabinets, flooring, light fixtures, ceiling fans, electrical supplies, tools and many other items are sold.

Beyond this, the ReStore is so much more.

The reason the ReStore was originally created was to fill a need that Habitat staff members saw over the course of their work, said Deanna Saldana, resource development director at Habitat for Humanity of Tulare/Kings Counties. Saldana said construction companies would buy more than they needed for a project and would end up throwing the material and items away in landfills.

Habitat for Humanity formed relationships with these construction companies and contractors to eliminate that practice, with the idea to resell the items and use the funds to support the organization’s mission, which includes affordable home ownership and home repair programs.

“It just kind of snowballed from there until now, with ReStores located across the United States and Canada,” Saldana said.

In addition to being environmentally friendly, Habitat saw the ReStores as an opportunity to support a mission that helps the community on so many levels.

Right now especially, Saldana said, so many people are sheltering at home and are taking the time to do remodeling projects. She said not only can they check out what restore has to offer, but at the end of the project, as long as the items are functional, they can donate leftover items and get a tax break. In turn, those perfectly good older items could be resold to someone who could reuse them.

“It’s just a win-win-win for everybody,” she said.

A lot of items, like furniture or cabinetry, don’t get worn out, they just go out of fashion, Saldana said. However, as the saying goes, “beauty is in the eye of the beholder”, and someone may see that item as a one-of-a-kind find that they can give new life to through repurposing or upcycling.

“You can find some really unique items,” Saldana said.

Habitat for Humanity of Tulare County — before it officially incorporated Kings County into its service area in 2016 — opened its first ReStore in Visalia in 2004 and that location continues to grow, Saldana said.

The organization believed so strongly in the ReStore and its mission that it decided to open the Hanford location in 2018, Saldana said. While many people may not know about it yet, she said the ReStore is truly a gem that helps the community in many ways.

Undoubtedly the pandemic has impacted the business like many others, but Saldana said the ReStore is also an important place where the community can learn about Habitat for Humanity and get involved in its efforts.

“Once you realize that it’s there and what it has to offer, you can discover all kinds of opportunities,” she said.

The reporter can be reached at

Broken tool box from Christmas Break-in 2020


Habitat had a Christmas break-in! Thieves abound this time of year and they didn’t mind breaking in and taking much needed tools from Habitat for Humanity. Monday morning, December 14th, Habitat staff discovered that one of our construction trucks had been broken into. The metal tool box was broken and much needed construction tools were stolen. Missing are cordless power drills, skill saws, circular saws, drill bits and sawblades. In total about $1,000 in stolen or broken tools. These items are vital in helping local families with home repairs.

The Grinch arrived!

Everything is replaceable, of course, however the $1000 cost hurt Habitat for Humanity and the mission of building homes and hope. Despite the negative impact of the theft, local Christmas elves donated to a fund that will replace the tools. The positive always outweighs the negative. Thank you to everyone who supported Habitat.

If you would like to help Habitat please contact our office at 559-734-4040 ext 106 or donate directly at

Habitat is moving forward. We believe in our mission of building homes, communities and hope and know that 2021 will be a wonderful year for Habitat and our community.

Blessings from the staff a Habitat for Humanity.

Check out the Times Delta article!

Thrivent supports Habitat homeowners

Thrivent and Habitat for Humanity of Tulare/Kings Counties partner to help families stay in their homes during the COVID-19 pandemic

Visalia, CA (Dec. 14, 2020) – Thrivent is awarding Habitat for Humanity of Tulare/Kings Counties a contribution of $5,000 to help families in Tulare and Kings counties stay in their homes. Thrivent’s donation will allow Habitat to provide mortgage relief to Habitat homeowners who need temporary assistance making their mortgage payments during the COVID-19 pandemic. With Thrivent’s support, Habitat for Humanity of Tulare/Kings Counties will help keep homeownership costs affordable for 4-6 families in Tulare/Kings Counties who are experiencing financial hardship due to COVID.

Prior to the spread of the novel coronavirus, more than 18 million households across the U.S. were paying half or more of their income on a place to live. As the pandemic continues to cause job disruption and economic fallout, many households are enduring lay-offs, unemployment, and pay cuts. This wage loss has amplified the financial burden on households to maintain essential payments and can result in families having to trade-off between bills, mortgage, or medical care.

“As we deal with the fall-out from COVID, it is crucial to continue to work to provide stable and affordable homes for our neighbors.” said Executive Director Dirk Holkeboer. “Our community will recover when everyone has the solid foundation of a secure place to call “home”.

Habitat for Humanity of Tulare/Kings Counties is one of 100 local Habitat organizations across the nation partnering with Thrivent to help families stay in their homes during the COVID-19 pandemic. In total, Thrivent is donating $750,000 to Habitat for Humanity to assist with mortgage-related relief and prevent foreclosures across the U.S.

“This year has been incredibly difficult for many people as financial hardship has added stress and anxiety to daily lives,” said Nikki Sorum, senior vice president of Thrivent Advisors at Thrivent. “This pandemic has underscored how important it is for people to have safe, affordable homes. Given all we have endured in 2020, we are especially honored to provide financial support to Habitat for Humanity to help people stay in their homes so they can continue to build toward financial stability.”


Habitat for Humanity and Thrivent began their partnership in 2005. Over the past 15 years, Thrivent and their clients have contributed more than $275 million to Habitat and have partnered with families to build safe, affordable homes across the U.S. and around the world. Locally, Thrivent members participated in several home-building projects in Visalia.

About Habitat for Humanity of Tulare/Kings Counties
Habitat for Humanity of Tulare/Kings Counties has been working with local families since 1994. With more than 40% of the area’s population considered cost burdened when it comes to housing (i.e., spending more than 30% of household income on housing costs), the need for affordable housing is great. Because of the continued support of the businesses, congregations, the local community, service organizations and individuals, Habitat for Humanity has been able to make homeownership a reality for 68 families in Tulare and Kings counties while helping hundreds of other lower income homeowners with needed home repairs.

About Thrivent

Thrivent is a diversified financial services organization that helps people achieve financial clarity, enabling lives full of meaning and gratitude. As a mission-driven, membership-owned organization, it offers its more than 2 million members and customers a broad range of financial products, services and guidance. Thrivent and its subsidiary and affiliate companies offer insurance, investments, banking and advice over the phone, online as well as through financial professionals and independent agents nationwide. Thrivent is a Fortune 500 company with $152 billion in assets under management/advisement (as of 12/31/19). Thrivent carries an A++ (Superior) rating from AM Best, a credit rating agency; this is the highest of the agency’s 16 ratings categories and was affirmed in May of 2019. For more information, visit You can also find us on Facebook and Twitter.

You can support Habitat Tulare/Kings. Find out how!

Marie Kondo-tidying up


‘Spark joy’ & ‘tidying up’ have become coin phrases for organizing & decluttering your home, thanks to Marie Kondo.

Her Netflix series Tidying Up With Marie Kondo & most recent book entitled The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying have swept the world by storm & has everyone wanting to tidy, clean-up & declutter their homes.

The basic premise of Marie Kondo’s tidying tips is to test your stuff by determining if an item ‘sparks joy’. If something in your home is no longer bringing joy, you thank it for its service & get rid of it.

While her ‘Tidying Up’ series focuses more on organizing tips for smaller items in your home like clothes, kitchen utensils & other miscellaneous items; the same decluttering process can be used for larger items in your home as well.

It is easy to hold on to bigger home items like furniture, appliances & home décor. Most were either expensive, useful, seemingly essential or brought you joy in an earlier season of life. That’s why learning to let go is an important skill to develop & one that can bring even more joy to your home.

Applying the KonMarie Method of tidying to home décor can be a bit tricky, but the following is an easy, modified guide for applying similar Marie Kondo tidying tips to the larger items in your home.


The same basic rules hold up: you’re better off without it if it serves you no purpose or is no longer making you happy.

tidy all at once

Once you have decided to tidy up the larger items in your home, try to do it in one fell swoop. Clear out a long weekend & try to make it in one shot. This is helpful for remembering what items you have in every room & better managing your home inventory if you decide to rearrange or move items around.

visualize your home

Envision the tidy home goals you have always dreamed of or maybe you have organization inspiration you found on Pinterest. Having a clear picture in mind for your space will keep you motivated to tidy up.

Tip: Start by tidying up. If you have home projects you want to complete, set them aside for now. Decluttering & getting rid of the items that no longer bring joy to your home should be viewed as the first step of your remodeling project.

try to tidy by category (not location)

It can be hard not to tidy by location, as you often separate your home by rooms, but tidying up will be more successful if you look at the furniture & décor in your space by category. It may be helpful to make a list or take photos of the items in each room by category before moving onto another space.

determine what stays & what goes

One by one look at or pick up each item. If it has a purpose or ‘sparks joy’ put it in a (metaphoric or literal) ‘keep’ pile. If the item does neither, put it in the ‘donate’ pile. The more you practice the process the easier it becomes to decipher what you want to keep & what you want to depart with.

Tip: Don’t feel bad about letting go. At one point that item brought you joy! Whether it was the person who gave it to you, the way you felt when you first bought it, or the potential you saw in it at one point, you can be grateful for the happiness in brought to you. Hold onto those memories (maybe snap a photo) and simply move on.

donate, discard or recycle

Donating items to organizations with a good cause might make letting go of an item a little easier. Donating items to the ReStore gives items an opportunity to ‘spark joy’ & purpose to another family’s home & all sales profit the local community & provides sufficient housing to those who need it. Find similar donation or recycling spots for all of the items in your home so you save the landfill & can feel even better about your decluttering process.

organize what you have left

Now that everything in your home serves a purpose & brings you joy, organize it in a way that does as well. If your decluttering process has left your home bare take the time to find new items to replace them. (Shopping second-hand is a great way to do this on a budget.)

Tip: Don’t feel like you have to replace anything or everything all at once. Spend time in your newly tidied space to discover what next item might bring joy. Take the time to browse inspiration as well. Now that your home is tidy you can finally tackle those renovations, remodeling or DIY projects you have been waiting for.

Hopefully, this modified KonMarie Method to tidying your home will give you the confidence to tackle a decluttering project & will leave you with joy.

Remember that the ReStore can be a great resource for many of your decluttering needs. We can pick up items you want to donate, we offer gently used items that can spark joy & serve a purpose in your home, and sell supplies you may need for any remodeling, renovation or DIY project you want to complete now that your home is tidied!

Contact the ReStore

Winter Women Build 2020-group photo



Nearly 30 women (and a few good men) from the local community joined habitat staff at the first Winter Women Build on December 4th & 5th in Hanford. Construction staff took time to demonstrate the skills needed for each task and make sure that the volunteers were comfortable with the tools and the tasks for the day.

Teams tackled building a fence while others hung drywall and painted the eves on the house exterior. There was even a lesson on how to use a circular saw!

Women Build is designed to take women out of their comfort zone and give them the opportunity to learn new construction skills that they can then use at home for their own projects.

Check out a video of the women in action.

Thank you the Winter Women Build Sponsors.

SoCalGas, Pacific Western Bank, The Hanford Rotary Community Foundation

Tackett Marketing, Griswold, LaSalle, Cobb, Dowd & Gin LLP, Family Health Care Network, Kings County Board of Realtors.

Lowe’s Porterville & Grocery Outlet.
Victor-future homeowner in Hanford-Winter Women Build 2020



HANFORD — Some say it takes a village to raise a child, but in the case of Habitat for Humanity of Tulare/Kings Counties, it takes a village to build a house.

“We’re very appreciative that during such a stressful time, we’ve got such great community support and volunteers,” said Deanna Saldana, resource development director for Habitat for Humanity of Tulare/Kings Counties.

Friday marked the first day of a two-day Winter Women Build event at the organization’s first big project in the county, a four-bedroom, two-bathroom house at 403 W. Cameron St. in Hanford.

Saldana said being able to provide a decent and affordable place for a family to live is important, especially with many families struggling right now.

Volunteers like Anastasia Ochoa know the difference a home can make for a family.

Ochoa and her family were living in terrible conditions until 2013, when she and her husband were chosen to become Habitat homeowners in Visalia.

“Habitat has changed our life so much,” Ochoa said. “Because of Habitat, we were able to get out of that environment and now we have our forever home.”

Ochoa said she has so much to be thankful for — including a job at the organization — that she has taken every opportunity to volunteer at events like Winter Women Build. With all the negativity going on in the world, she said it feels good to be a part of an organization that likes to give back.

“When we became habitat owners, we gained another family,” she said.

A soon-to-be member of that Habitat family is Victor Gray, who was chosen with his wife to be the homeowners of the house on Cameron Street.

Gray said one day while visiting the ReStore, he took a chance and signed up to be a possible future homeowner, never thinking they would actually be chosen.

After a few interviews with the organization, Gray said he and his family were called into the ReStore for a third interview. What they didn’t know, however, was that they had actually been chosen as the future homeowners and were surprised with the news that day.

“It was kind of unbelievable,” Gray said. “I’d won small things before, but this is something that would change our future.”

Gray said he’s been at the home for every workday since the project started. He said it’s awesome to be able to work with professionals and build a house from the ground up.

“It makes me appreciate the house that I’m going to live in a lot more,” he said.

Gray said owning this home will give him a foundation to build financial stability and strengthen his family. He said by not having to worry about living month to month, he can focus on finishing college and starting his own business.

“Habitat for Humanity is really a blessing,” Gray said. “They are actively changing peoples’ lives for the better.”


Barns Family-Visalia remodel project


In late 2016, Ernie worked with his sister to remodel a house for his mother and step-father . As a 14-year-old, it was more work than he expected, and the volunteers who helped his family build their future home, created a mixture of excitement & fear. Would this be a “forever” home, or just another stop along the way?

Five years later he looks back at that time as a true blessing and is grateful for everyone who helped build the Habitat home that would change his future. As Ernie prepares to go to Spartan College of Aeronautics and Technology in Tulsa, Oklahoma, he counts his blessings for the community support, and for Habitat for Humanity giving his family the opportunity to build strength, stability and self-reliance.

Recently, Ernie sat down and talked about his journey with Habitat. HEAR THE INTERVIEW

Donate to support other Habitat for Humanity projects. Ways to Give

Ginny & Jim with donated trailer


In a very special “God moment”, Habitat matched a donated travel trailer with Ginny & Jim, a couple who lost their home to the SQF Complex fire this summer. The story started with a couple in Utah wanting to help a family displaced by the large California fires and offered to donate their 24’ travel trailer. At the same time, Ginny & Jim were desperately looking for anyone to help them recover from the loss of their uninsured home. The Habitat California network connected their need with the trailer and Ginny and Jim now have temporary shelter during the slow process of rebuilding. While this is not part of Habitat’s regular activities, we were thrilled to offer a “hand up” to this family dealing with the loss of their home. Thanks to board member David Ochoa and Habitat staff member Ana Ochoa for transporting the trailer from Habitat for Humanity of Greater Sacramento to Tulare County.