Milton's Habitat for Humanity ReStore held its first Fresh Farm Market on Wednesday as a way to connect with the community and allow local producers to sell their items.
European pastries, sausages, fresh milk, honey and kettle corn were a few items for sale. The market will be held every Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Although the market was held on the side-yard of ReStore, the staff said an additional goal is to bring foot traffic into the shop because money spent in the store is given right back to the community.
More than 1,000 homes have been built or renovated locally through Habitat for Humanity, which makes the Pensacola Habitat affiliate one of top 10 in the nation.
"We're showing God's love through the community," said Connie Bryars, Restore Director.
Bryars said the mission of Habitat for Humanity is to eliminate poverty by making housing affordable. Habitat doesn't give away homes, they help people buy homes.
"It's a hand up, not a hand out," she said.
Those who want to purchase a Habitat home must meet three criteria: they must demonstrate a need, be able to pay and be willing to partner. The homes have a no-interest mortgage and the aim is for a $400 to $500 a month payment for the families.
The new family partners then put in 200 "sweat equity hours" with Habitat, according to Bryars, which can be done by volunteering at ReStore or helping construct Habitat homes. They also go through a "financial fitness" class to learn about the responsibilities of being a homeowner.
The Milton ReStore shop opened in 2006 but closed in December 2011. It reopened with a new concept in October 2012 featuring "vintage and shabby-chic furniture."
Habitat for Humanity is an international nonprofit Christian organization that builds affordable houses for those in need.
It was founded in 1976 and has built or repaired more than 600,000 homes and served more than 3 million people around the world, according to their website, habitat.org. To help fund the construction of community houses, Habitat opens ReStore shops that sell home improvement goods, accessories and building materials, at reduced prices.
"It's all home improvement, for those who are renting and need items to fill their home or for the "do-it-yourselfer," Bryars said. In turn, in the Pensacola and Santa Rosa County area, more than 1,800 tons of cabinets, sinks and other home items have been diverted from landfills.
ReStores take donations and the profits are put back into the community. There are a total 825 ReStores in the U.S. and Canada.
Through Habitat's disaster response program they also addressed the housing needs after natural disasters, such as the 2010 earthquake in Haiti that left 1.5 million people displaced or homeless, Hurricane Katrina and Rita in 2005 and super storm Sandy that hit the east coast of the United States in last year - to name a few.
"We've realized if a family has a home it's much more than a place to live," Bryars said.