FORT HOOD, Texas - More than 400 beds and wall lockers from North Fort Hood, the post's center for mobilizing and demobilizing troops here, were donated to Habitat for Humanity, July 5-9.
It took volunteers nearly a week to move the wooden furniture that will soon be replaced with metal furniture.
Habitat for Humanity is a nonprofit organization that operates in all 50 states and in 70 countries to build affordable housing for those in need. They also sell some housewares in their ReStores, where the proceeds go toward their builds.
“When construction or contractors have extra materials, instead of bringing them to the dump, they donate to us or our trucks go out and pick it up,” Ken Cates, Fort Hood Area Habitat for Humanity chief executive officer, said. “We set it aside if it’s still quality grade. We set it aside for our future builds. If it’s not inspectable quality grade, then we sell it in the ReStore.”
This is the third year that Habitat for Humanity has received barracks furniture from North Fort Hood barracks and this donation was one of the largest the nonprofit has received since the COVID-19 pandemic hit last year.
“This is the second largest donation we’ve received since COVID,” Cates said. “This donation is valued at about $300,000. This helps us in our ReStore and helps out our other nonprofit partners we have.”
Much of the furniture is in like new condition and can still be used, so instead of putting it all in a landfill, it was decided it would be best to donate it.
“A lot of our products, especially our metal products, have a 25-year life cycle and a lot of these military facilities process their furniture out before that. It’s still very good quality furniture that we just want to make sure if there’s a way we can make it useful to other, especially people in need, we’re certainly all ears and willing to help any way we can do that,” Matt Johnson, program manager for University Loft Company, said
Habitat for Humanity, who usually cannot accept mattress donations, can accept the mattresses from the barracks because of how they’re made.
“It’s the medical grade that they use in the hospitals also. They’re sealed and reusable. Legally, we can’t even accept a mattress unless it’s less than 30 days old. But these are that hygienic sealed mattress that we can use and sell in the ReStore,” Cates said.
Bob Reister, chief of mobilization for Fort Hood's Directorate of Plans, Training, Mobilization and Security, admitted the timing was perfect for the furniture to be donated, because there was a lull in the number of Soldiers in the barracks.
“We had to program it to where we weren’t interfering with the mobilization or demobilization. We just had the Expeditionary Combat Aviation Brigade, about 1,500 folks, pull out,” he said.