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Reading enthusiast finds volunteer home at Habitat

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By Jonathan Dermid

If the Asheville Habitat ReStore has a hidden gem, it would be the used bookstore. Tucked away in the back of the upper showroom, it may seem to be just another thrifty book corner. But as soon as you enter, you feel how it is different from other used bookstores.

Our bookstore is meticulously organized and operated through the care of several staff members and volunteers, who provide a warm and welcoming atmosphere which can be felt throughout the upper showroom.

One such volunteer is Katie Caron, who has been volunteering with Habitat for five years now. A former English teacher, Katie retired to Asheville and almost immediately found a place within Habitat.

“I went to an orientation at an organization called Land of Sky and they had different representatives from different organizations, and Habitat interested me,” she said. “I really believe in the purpose of the Habitat program and the way that it’s carried out.”

A self-proclaimed “book nut”, Katie gravitated towards the bookstore, where she volunteers on both Tuesdays and Thursdays. She chose to volunteer two days a week because she loves the idea of donating her time to the cause.

“It’s nice to donate your time instead of just writing a check,” she said, “and that time is equally donated by the people you’re helping.” Katie is referring to the Sweat Equity, or volunteer hours, that Habitat homeowners contribute on their path to Habitat homeownership.

She attributes her passion for volunteering to a sort of team mentality. “I like that idea of everyone working together,” she said, “it’s like a team, and that’s what this place is all about.”

As a team player, Katie will jump in when and where she is needed. Early in her tenure as a volunteer she helped our Communications department by cleaning and painting donated windows and doors which now comprise the “Habitat mission wall” in the lower showroom – a display that explains what Asheville Area Habitat for Humanity, and the Asheville Habitat ReStore, is all about.

It’s the teamwork and the end result for the partner families (homeownership) that make volunteering so satisfying for Katie.

“When I see all the people around me that work so hard for this purpose, and when I see a family that we’ve helped, it makes me think ‘wow, that’s why I go in there and do that’,” she said. “It’s very fulfilling for me.”

If you’d like to learn about becoming a Habitat volunteer (in the ReStore or another area of the organization), please click here.

 

Volunteering to fix things, for the fun of it

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Spotlight on the ReStore’s Wednesday Small Appliance Repair Crew

By Jonathan Dermid

At the Asheville Habitat ReStore, we take great pride in our staff and volunteers. Not only are they the backbone of the store and its functionality, but their individual characters and personalities provide an energetic and welcoming atmosphere.

In the area of small appliance repair, “the Wednesday crew” is a particularly lively and affable group, who all shared the same notion about their volunteer work. They do it for the fun of the work and for the enjoyment of the company they share as they repair the appliances.

“I really like volunteering here because I get to interact with people that I get along with and have fun with,” Marty Toren said. “The work becomes secondary if you have that.”

Marty (pictured, center) came to Asheville from Salem, Oregon, where he volunteered on Habitat job sites until a back injury made him unable to do so. Upon moving to Asheville, he discovered that he could volunteer in the ReStore instead of having to do a great deal of physical work.

“I had a part-time job, so I had time to volunteer, and I thought I should volunteer for Habitat again,” he said. “I love being able to contribute to the buildings of homes for families who would be otherwise unable to afford them, just by volunteering here in the store.”

One of his team mates in the small appliances area is Bill Kalavorich (pictured, R), a retired physical therapist, who has been volunteering with Asheville Area Habitat for seven years now.

“I was exposed to Habitat through the United Way Day of Caring, Bill said. “Through that experience, I saw what a worthwhile organization Habitat is, and what they care about in their core business; so I wanted to do stuff with them.”

Both Bill and Wally Lee (another small appliance repair volunteer) echo Marty’s sentiment of how much fun volunteering at the ReStore can be.

“I started volunteering in the ReStore while I was still working, so I could only contribute one day a month,” said Wally (pictured, L). “When I retired, I moved to volunteering at the construction site weekly, but kept my position in the ReStore because it’s just so much fun.”

Wally is an Air Force veteran of four and a half years, and with his background in mechanical engineering, he has found a niche at the ReStore doing what he is both skilled at, and loves.

“Ever since I can remember, I’ve loved taking things apart and putting them back together, so that also makes this kind of work really fun for me,” he said. “Plus, Habitat is one of the premier organizations, in my opinion, because they do so much between the ReStore and the building of homes and everything else.  It’s really rewarding to volunteer here every week.”

If you’d like to learn about volunteering in the Asheville Habitat ReStore, click here to learn more and sign up for a volunteer orientation session.

Working on a Dream

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by Jonathan Dermid

Some might consider “The American Dream” a bygone ambition, the idea of owning one’s own home a pipe dream. Thanks to perseverance, hard work, and a caring community, the Ender family will soon realize their dream and purchase a home of their own.

“The American dream is to have a house of your own. Over the years, and coming out of a place of poverty, to try to get to that has been a struggle,” Michelle Ender said. “We’ve moved from New Jersey to Leicester to Weaverville to West Asheville. Not because we couldn’t pay rent, but something would happen where the landlord would be selling the home or something like that.”

After hearing about Habitat’s homeownership program through their church, the Ender family began the application process and was absolutely thrilled to be approved. “We know it’s not a giveaway; we have to pay a mortgage and work (do sweat equity). But thank God the house will be in our name and Habitat makes it possible to have affordable housing,” noted Michelle.

More than anything, Michelle looks forward to the sense of permanence that her own home will provide.

“With the kids now, we’ve moved 6 times, so just having a place to call our own, to decorate on our own, is wonderful,” she said. “It’s a place to call home, a place the kids can come back to when they’re older.” Adequate space is also desired, as they currently live in an overcrowded situation. Their youngest child sleeps on the couch.

On their journey towards homeownership, they are spending a good bit of time at the ReStore earning sweat equity hours and getting to know volunteers. “Becoming a homeowner through Habitat also shows you what it’s like to volunteer here…everyone is so positive and nice and welcoming and they obviously care.”

Eric Ender, Michelle’s husband, a handyman by nature, has found a niche in the appliance and electronics repair area. One of their (3) children, Eric Jr, is also volunteering in the ReStore alongside his dad. Sharing a passion for music and the technology involved, the father-son duo was very excited to learn of a sweat equity opportunity in the repair area. Brian Haynes, a ReStore Assistant Manager, is equally excited. “This is a big help to the ReStore as electronics had been piling up because we did not have anyone to test them.”

In addition to volunteering at the ReStore, the Enders have spent many hours helping to build their home and the homes of their neighbors. Echoing his wife’s sentiments about the hard work that goes into Habitat homeownership, Eric Sr. adds “Habitat houses are built with love, and you can feel that.”

The Enders 4-bedroom/2-bath home in West Asheville is the 17th Interfaith House, sponsored by a diverse coalition of local faith congregations.

Earth Day Incentive – Get Cleaning!

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Clear the clutter, empty your attic and take back your garage! There is no better time than now to start your spring cleaning. To help motivate Buncombe County residents, during the month of March the Habitat ReStore will give merchandise donors a coupon for 25% off their total purchase during the week of Earth Day (April 18-26, 2015). Donations are accepted at the Habitat ReStore Monday through Saturday between 9am and 6pm. Or, for larger items, call 828-254-6706 to schedule a free pick-up (within Buncombe County).

In addition to feeling good about giving usable items a new lease on life by donating them, you can also feel good about supporting affordable housing; because that’s exactly what you do when you donate to (or shop at) the Habitat ReStore. Proceeds from ReStore sales help fund Asheville Area Habitat for Humanity’s building programs (new home construction and home repair) and cover administrative and fundraising expenses.

Since 1990, the Asheville Habitat ReStore has provided the community with a source for affordable, gently used—and sometimes new—building materials, furniture, appliances, housewares, books, art and much more. And thanks to this community’s strong commitment to reuse, the ReStore diverts 1,500 tons of usable materials from landfills annually. Please read the Donation Guidelines and drop off your donations or schedule a pick-up today!

Setting a Good Example

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What makes the current Silent Auction so special? Every item in it was donated by Brian and Susan Haynes! Looking to be a model for other families who are downsizing, cleaning out an estate, or simply pairing down their possessions, the Haynes family donated a collection of items to the ReStore specifically for the Silent Auction. Items include vintage toys and lunchboxes, a mid-century Drexel chest, instruments handmade in Black Mountain, NC, vintage barware, a collection of Beatles memorabilia, and much more. Brian and Susan are life-long area residents, they are the former owners of Almost Blue, and they also happen to be Habitat employees. Now with grown children, they recently down-sized and donated a collection of unique items to the Silent Auction. You can also find many unique albums, posters and music memorabilia in the ReStore’s Book and Music area, thanks to the Haynes family. To see photos of just some of the items in this auction, click here. Auction ends January 21 at 2pm.

Winner Reveal! 3D Printed Ornament Contest

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On Wednesday, December 17th Habitat and Spectra 3D Technologies announced the winning design of the first “Habitat for the Holidays: 3D Printed Ornament Contest”. After the reveal, multiples of the winning 3D ornament became available for sale at $4.99 each. The ornaments will remain for sale in the store until they are sold out. All proceeds will benefit Asheville Area Habitat for Humanity.

The winning design was created by Roger Gauthier. He received a $100 ReStore gift card and a free print of his ornament. Congratulations, Roger!

Also, from noon to 6pm that same day Spectra 3D Technologies held a live 3D printing demonstration. Both events were open to the public.

Roger Gauthier stands next to a display of his winning 3D ornament.

Roger Gauthier stands next to a display of his winning 3D ornament.

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The digital submission of Gauthier’s winning ornament.

ReUse Contest Winners Announced!

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We are pleased to announce the winners of the third annual ReStore ReUse Contest. The forty entries ranging from furniture to houses and everything in between, were built using predominantly reused materials. The judges selected winners in five categories: Furniture, Homesteading, Live/Work Space, Best in Show and the add-on category Most Unique. And for the first time, voting was also open to the public. Public voting in the ReStore and on Pinterest generated the winner in the People’s Choice category.

The winners are:

Homesteading – Tim and Amanda Sorrill

Furniture – Ana Medina

Live and/or Work Space – Wayne Ruth

Best in Show – John and Diane Vogt

Most Unique – Jeff Tallman

People’s Choice – Doug Parris

Photos of  these and all entries, can be viewed in this FlickR album.

The purpose of the contest is to showcase innovative projects constructed predominantly of used building materials. Entries were judged on quality of design and execution; replicability of concept; clarity of description; and quality of photos. “We really saw a lot of ingenuity and complexity this year,” said judge and ReStore General Manager Scott Stetson. “We even decided to add a Most Unique category to more fairly judge the entries that did not necessarily fit neatly into one of the other pre-established categories.”

In addition to Stetson, the judging panel included:

Joel Johnson, Asheville Habitat’s Home Repair Project Supervisor

Linda Keep, 2013 winner in the Furniture category

David Earl Tomlinson, local metalworker/metal artist and musician

Brigitte Bassham, Habitat homeowner, teacher, and reuse enthusiast

Keep, who won the Furniture category in 2013, especially loved this year’s winning entry in that category. “The door and bathroom vanity cabinet transformed into a mudroom bench is completely replicable – one of the criteria for judging. I could find a vintage door and old cabinet at the ReStore and make this project myself. And I think I might!”

 

ReUse Contest: People’s Choice voting 9/5 – 9/15

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Voting is now open for the People’s Choice award in the 2014 ReStore ReUse Contest! Vote in the Asheville ReStore (lower level showroom, on the wall) and/or on Pinterest between 9/5 and 9/15. One vote per person, per location. Our panel of judges will be convening next week to select the winners in the three main categories: Furniture, Homesteading and Live/Work Space. Winners of those categories as well as People’s Choice, will be announced later this month (September). Check out the 40 entries, vote, and be inspired to take on your own creative reuse project!

3rd Annual ReStore ReUse Contest

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The 2014 contest has ended. Winners will be announced later this month (September).

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The purpose of the contest is to showcase innovative building projects constructed predominantly of used building materials. “Our customers often tell us about the projects they make using materials purchased at the ReStore. This contest is a great way to showcase their projects and inspire others to reuse, recycle and repurpose usable building materials and supplies,” said Scott Stetson, ReStore Manager. “In the first two years of the contest, we had about 30 entries (each year), and this year we hope to see at least 50.”

Five judges will select winners in the following categories: Furniture, Homesteading, Live/Work Space, and Best in Show. New this year will be the People’s Choice Award. The public will be encouraged to vote for their favorite entry in the ReStore and on Pinterest from September 1-15, with details announced later this summer.

Need inspiration? View photos from the 2013 and 2012 contests.

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