Kaaren and Lynn: A Meaningful Connection
By Marty Steinberg
“The art wall is the first thing you see when walking into the upper showroom and Lynn and Kaaren keep it looking amazing,” according to ReStore Upper Showroom Assistant Manager Brian Haynes.
The proof is in the pictures. Or the paintings, or the movie posters or the occasional metallic wall sculpture. If it’s hanging on the ReStore art wall, ReStore volunteers Kaaren McNulty and Lynn Kirby probably put it there.
“I was looking for something meaningful to do so I offered to help with the art wall,” said McNulty, a longtime ReStore volunteer and an artist who also donates original paintings to be sold at the ReStore. “This is my first volunteer job and I love it. I feel a connection to the people I work with.”
Kirby, a glass artist, says she has made lasting friendships by volunteering at the ReStore. “I look forward to coming in to meet people and do something meaningful that helps the community.”
They both have personalized aprons that were embroidered by Kirby to wear for their volunteer shifts. Both women also have suffered a recent loss and they say that volunteering at the ReStore helps them personally.
McNulty, originally from Detroit, worked as a corporate meeting planner in Atlanta before retiring to Western North Carolina with her husband. “He died a year ago and volunteering at the ReStore has been even more helpful to me since that happened,” McNulty said.
Kirby, who spent a 20-year career with IBM, is from upstate New York and received a job transfer to Texas where she lived with her husband before they lost everything in their home to a wildfire. “We heard about Asheville and I came out in 2012 with my husband, three dogs and a cat,” she said.
Both volunteers agree that ReStore Volunteer Coordinator Carrie Burgin helps make volunteering at the ReStore a positive experience. “Being on a set schedule helps as well because you know when you’re expected and you can plan around it,” said Kirby. Both women generally put in two four-hour shifts each week.
They both enjoy engaging with shoppers, staff, and other volunteers when they work behind the counter, after the art wall has been neatened and replenished.
“When you talk with someone who is doing sweat equity and they tell you what a difference a new home will make for their family, it’s incredible.” Kirby said. “And what a blessing it is to hear that people will be able to stay in their homes because of Habitat’s home repair program.” added McNulty.
For now, both of them plan to continue “hanging” around the ReStore.
If you’re interested in volunteering at the ReStore, please email Carrie Burgin.