Meet Mark - One Helping Hand Making a Huge Impact

A location known for its blight; afflicted with vacant homes, poverty and crime, Sandtown was once home to jazz greats Cab Calloway and Billie Holliday and groundbreaking Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall. Despite its challenges, it remains  one of the most resilient communities in Baltimore City - thanks to the dedication of longtime residents and local organizations.

 

Habitat for Humanity has been an integral part of the West Baltimore neighborhood for over three decades. Since 1982, first as Sandtown Habitat and later, after a merger, as Habitat Chesapeake, we  have built over 300 homes and helped hundreds of families start new lives as homeowners. But Habitat’s existence in Sandtown extends far beyond just building houses.

 

The ReStore, Habitat for Humanity’s discount home-improvement store, has also breathed new life into the Sandtown community.  Since its grand opening in 2009, the ReStore has provided affordable prices on hardware and furniture alongside unconditional warmth and kindness from staff and volunteers. Staff like Mark Lange, the Manager of the Sandtown ReStore and a dedicated member of the Sandtown community.

 

In 2005, Mark and his wife decided to move to Sandtown where he became a Deacon at New Song Community Church. Mark was quickly introduced to Habitat and began volunteering  during Build Weeks while also lending a hand on IT and computer-related issues before being hired as a full time store manager in 2011.

 

Over the years, Mark has noted many changes in the community including the development of New Song Academy, the neighborhoods’ Pre-k through 8th  grade school, and the construction of home-after-beautiful home in an area that was once overflowing with high-priced, unkempt rentals and vacant properties. His time with Habitat has fostered many fond memories, including home dedications, ribbon cuttings and seeing the joy on the faces of new homeowners as they received the keys to their new homes.

 

Today, Mark is the only staff member working in the store, and relies on dedicated volunteers to support operations. Asked what else was needed, Mark’s plea was for more individuals to lend a hand in the Sandtown ReStore store and give back to the community as he humbly did so many years ago.

 

Mark’s service is a glaring example of the impact a single individual can have in a community. Today, Mark is the top referral of partner families to Habitat Chesapeake homeownership program. The Sandtown ReStore has become a vital gateway to new lives for over 740 families and counting.

 

To make an impact of your own, consider volunteering with Chesapeake ReStore. Habitat Chesapeake operates six ReStores across Central Maryland and all rely on volunteers to process donations and help customers. Volunteering is a perfect opportunity for students and retired individuals alike, and all proceeds help to build more homes for families in need.

 

If you would like to help Habitat for Humanity of the Chesapeake continue to uplift and rebuild the Sandtown community, and others in Central Maryland through volunteerism, please call 443-297-5226 or email us at volunteer@chesapeakerestore.org.

 

 

 

 


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