Next week, Matthew’s family is coming to Nashville to celebrate the holidays with us. We are beyond excited. Being together in our home, cooking in the kitchen and dining around our table is a joy. Time together with family is one that we don’t take for granted.
Making memories over food is a commonality shared by many families, which is why when Matthew and I heard about a woman named Netana whose Habitat for Humanity home was burned in a fire, and Rutherford County Area Habitat for Humanity and Pillsbury came together to help her rebuild, we wanted to tell her story. With so much heartbreak in the news, it is nice to read some good, isn’t it?
Pillsbury, which has a plant near our home, reached out to me and asked if we would like to be there when Netana saw her new kitchen for the first time. Matthew got to experience the unveiling and wrote about it below.
It is a privilege to share Netana’s story here and partner with Pillsbury on this sponsored post.
Netana Smith stood beside her car, surrounded by family, occasionally glancing up at the quaint rancher house just a few feet away. As friends, neighbors, and Rutherford County Area Habitat for Humanity volunteers started gathering in front of the Murfreesboro, Tennessee residence, a loved one wrapped her arms around Tanya and as they embraced, she whispered, “you’re home.” Netana nodded, and smiled slightly. “Home,” she mouthed, “finally.”
Unlike the usual Rutherford County Area Habitat for Humanity unveilings, when first time homeowners often can’t contain their excitement about getting a first glimpse of their new home, this ceremony was different. The house that was about to be unveiled for Netana was already her home. In 2008, the Rutherford County Area Habitat for Humanity had built this house for Netana and her family. However, in July, a fire almost took it away. Though the good men and women of the Murfreesboro Fire Department were able to save the house structurally, the damage was bad and Netana couldn’t afford the repairs that her home needed.
But that’s when Rutherford County Area Habitat for Humanity stepped in once again to help make Netana’s house a home.
Meanwhile, Pillsbury—the well-known and well-loved General Mills brand that’s manufactured locally in Murfreesboro—was looking for an opportunity to serve alongside Rutherford County Area Habitat for Humanity. When the employees at Pillsbury heard about Netana’s story, they jumped at the chance to help so that her family back into their home to continue making homemade memories – something that is at the core of Pillsbury’s values. For more than three decades, General Mills and its Foundation have supported the work of Habitat for Humanity, including over $3.5 million in grants and the volunteerism of hundreds of employees across the country.
Not only did Pillsbury provide the necessary funds to completely remodel Netana’s kitchen with new cabinets, flooring, and appliances, they also provided numerous volunteers to help with the construction and installation. In addition to Pillsbury’s support for Netana’s home renovation, the brand will be donating baking equipment to the Rutherford County Area Habitat for Humanity ReStores, along with ReStores in the Houston area to support those impacted by Hurricane Harvey.
Upon seeing their brand new remodeled kitchen, Netana and her family were overjoyed with surprise and gratitude and relief to be once again home, and just in time for the holidays.
Amid the ceremony, Netana was able to meet and thank several of the firemen who had helped save her home. She was also shocked to learn that Pillsbury and General Mills had stocked her kitchen cabinets with not only brand new kitchen accessories but also a host of their most popular food items. They also provided her family with enough coupons to cover a year’s worth of free Pillsbury/General Mills products. It was beautiful to see how Pillsbury looked to help someone in their own community.
Prior to closing the ceremony, Regina Harvey, a friend of the family who works at Rutherford County Area Habitat for Humanity, blessed Netana’s home with a prayer of providence, protection, and happy memories.
“Visit O Lord this home,” she prayed, “Guide, comfort, strengthen, and preserve them in peace.”
At the end of the prayer, Netana lifted her hands toward heaven and said “Amen.”
Watch Netana’s story here: