The pandemic situation is improving but it’s far from over. Therefore, for the second year in a row, Asheville Habitat is again honoring volunteers during National Volunteer Appreciation Week (April 18-24) virtually and with limited in-person appreciation. Though the number of volunteers and volunteer hours were down in 2020 due to Covid-19, Asheville Habitat’s core volunteers remained engaged, even if in non-traditional ways.
From joining virtual coffee breaks and assisting Asheville Habitat in new ways, to supporting partner agencies addressing critical community needs. And in some cases, volunteering from home, core volunteers remained core to Habitat’s work. Later, some returned to restricted roles following rigid safety protocols, providing some relief to the over-taxed staff.
“While we always recognize our volunteers’ significant contributions, never was their time, talent, and energy so evident than when it was missing. They truly are an extension of our staff and we look forward to the time when we can welcome all volunteers back,” shared Andy Barnett, Executive Director.
With core volunteers providing the foundation, Asheville Habitat has helped nearly 2,000 adults and children through its homeownership and home repair programs since 1983.
Speaking of core volunteers, eight reached noteworthy service milestones in 2020.
• The 15-year service anniversary was reached by Construction volunteers Jerry Ray, Kerney McNeil, and Bill Winkler, and ReStore volunteer Denise Goodson. (pictured left to right below)
• Construction volunteers Bob Swartz and Bill Kantonen celebrated their 20th and 25th Habitat anniversaries, respectively. (pictured left to right below)
• ReStore volunteers Allen Laws and Jan Wright met the 30-year volunteer service mark! As some of the very first volunteers, they started not long after the ReStore opened in its original Biltmore Avenue location in 1990.
• Additionally, 40 volunteers celebrated 5 and 10-year service anniversaries last year!
Some fun facts about Asheville Habitat’s volunteer program:
• It takes 1,650 hours of volunteer labor to build one Habitat house.
• When operating at full volunteer capacity, the Asheville Habitat utilize around 175 volunteers each week between the Asheville and Weaverville ReStores.
• A team of Asheville volunteers traveled to Ethiopia in February 2020. This was Asheville Habitat’s first trip to this country (one of its Global Engagement partners), and it turned out to be one of the very last Habitat Global Village Builds before the pandemic.