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Realtors unite to help homeowners, charities

Realtor volunteers Kelli Crigler, left, Nobie Thrasher, center, and Ian Leonard, right, work on exterior repairs at The Free Store on East 15th Street during Realtors Care Day. On Friday, more than 700 realtors participated in Realtors Care Day across Mecklenburg and Iredell counties, helping 25 homeowners and three Charlotte-area nonprofits with critical exterior repair needs.
Realtor volunteers Kelli Crigler, left, Nobie Thrasher, center, and Ian Leonard, right, work on exterior repairs at The Free Store on East 15th Street during Realtors Care Day. On Friday, more than 700 realtors participated in Realtors Care Day across Mecklenburg and Iredell counties, helping 25 homeowners and three Charlotte-area nonprofits with critical exterior repair needs. dlaird@charlotteobserver.com

Twenty-five homeowners and three charities in Mecklenburg and Iredell counties got badly needed structural repairs Friday as part of the annual Realtors Care Day event.

Up to 700 volunteers were expected to participate in the daylong affair, which has done repair jobs for 146 homeowners since launching in the community in 2009.

Nonprofits slated to get help included Serenity Comfort House of Huntersville, Thompson Child Development Center and the Free Store Charlotte, a small store in NoDa that offers free clothing and other goods to the homeless.

The Free Store – which is not affiliated with the Crisis Assistance Ministry Free Store – is based in an old home that was built around 1920, officials said.

Charlotte attorney Robert Forquer, who directs the store effort, says the site needed windows and siding replaced. It is work the nonprofit can’t afford, he said, noting the staff is volunteer and all merchandise is donated.

“It’s not just cosmetic work,” Forquer said. “We’re talking about rotten boards and windows that let water inside. What the Realtors are doing is important to keep the house from deteriorating further.”

Realtors Care Day was created to help families facing financial hardships, as well as people who have special needs or a terminal illness. One hundred local businesses and organizations gave financial support or in-kind donations to help the event this year.

The event is an initiative of the Housing Opportunity Foundation, a charitable arm of the Charlotte Regional Realtor Association.

Terri Marshall, who is among the event organizers, said this year would likely be the largest for the Realtors Care Day, based on the number of participants. The city and Habitat for Humanity help with finding homeowners in need to be part of the work.

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