Building Homes! Rebuilding Lives! ReStore Volunteers Needed!

Building Homes! Rebuilding Lives!
ReStore Volunteers Needed!

Last October, my column asked for action-minded persons looking for a new venture...something to keep their minds and hands busy. This was for the formation of a task force to plan for the start-up of a Habitat ReStore. Thanks to those of you who responded.
Because of your response a Habitat ReStore is being planned to open this fall in Washington County. The Habitat ReStore is a retail outlet selling surplus new and used building materials, and previously owned, like new, appliances at prices from 10-percent to 50-percent of their original retail price. ReStores help save money, neighborhoods, community and the earth! These building materials are being used for homes and not headed for a landfill. The Habitat for Humanity of Washington County's Restore will provide a place where homeowners will get quality construction materials at bargain prices. Well-kept homes make safer neighborhoods.
Our local Habitat ReStore Task Force has made great strides, but much work still lies ahead before the fall opening. More volunteers are needed. Many of you reading this column may have experience working in one or more of the areas needed by Habitat's various ReStore committees.
The profits from ReStore sales will help many people in many ways. The sales of the items will help Habitat build simple, decent, affordable housing in Washington County. It will also provide a source of reduced price building materials for local residents to use in maintenance of homes for low-income owners, renters and do-it-your-selfers. Please review the committees, and the areas where they need volunteers, listed below:
Preparation of Store: Renovate facility. Establish store layout. Solicit donations for renovation.
Retail Issues: Obtain licenses. Determine inventory to be sold. Purchase cash register (or get donation). Receive and pick-up donated materials. Stock the store.
Human Resources: Recruit store manager based on Habitat's job description. Recruit and train volunteers and staff in proper retail procedures. Help prepare training materials.
PR/Marketing: Market project to donors. Advertise grand opening. Develop advertising material including flyers, signs, door hangers, and ads. Develop relationships with local businesses, i.e. hardware stores, builders, plumbers, electricians, etc. Web site. Trade shows.
This phase of the Habitat operation is long overdue for this community. It will help Habitat with critical local housing needs...those of the low-income families raising their families in inadequate housing.
The goal of Habitat for Humanity is to assist low-income families in building their own decent, affordable homes. Habitat for Humanity teaches families how to manage their income and become self-sufficient, responsible homeowners.
Habitat families put in 500 hours of "sweat equity" helping to build their house, and other Habitat houses, giving them knowledge about the construction and a greater sense of pride in their home.
Families pay no-interest mortgage payments to Habitat. Habitat's Family Services Committee has aided families in obtaining better paying jobs with medical insurance. Habitat homeowners have been successful and some have gone on to take college courses. Children of Habitat families benefit the most, with improved health, better grades, and higher likelihood of college and successful careers.
Please volunteer where you can! A few hours a week can make a great impact on this project. Call the Habitat office, 301-791-9009.

William L. Bulla is a freelance writer residing in Washington County.