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Friendship: Just One Reason to Volunteer

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By Madeline McIntyre

Betty Jo Readling started volunteering at the ReStore in the same way many others start: a friend asked. And we are fortunate enough that Betty Jo said yes. For ten years now, she has been a true leader among the volunteers, assisting in trainings and helping with anything and everything. “I love working that front desk right there, and getting to greet people, and going out on the floor, you know, just whatever anybody needs,” Betty Jo said.

Before her retirement, Betty Jo worked the front desk at Asheville Pediatrics. This experience made her well-equipped to work the ReStore register. We soon realized her talents and recruited her as the Volunteer Manager. “I’ve trained everybody who has worked with me and some others too,” Betty Jo said. Her favorite part of volunteer training is seeing the growth in others. “Just seeing how quickly some people can pick it up or how you have to maybe help some a little bit more,” she said.

And Betty Jo truly loves to help out. She spent some time during her last shift making sure an elderly couple would be able to back into the loading dock and load their purchases into their car. “That’s a big thing – just helping other people. And I get to see all of that,” Betty Jo said.

Her commitment to others makes her a favorite among the volunteers. “I adore her,” a fellow Wednesday volunteer, Debbie Rogers said. “She’s just a wonderful person.” Other volunteers feel the same way, making sure Betty Jo has a ride to Habitat events, helping her celebrate birthdays, and going out for the occasional lunch date. “There are three of us who meet every so often and go out to lunch,” Betty Jo said. “We just have a good time.”

These friendships are simply another part of the many reasons why Betty Jo has continued her service to Habitat for Humanity for so many years. “It is a nice way to make friends,” she said. “And the interaction that we have with customers, with staff, with volunteers. It’s just all good.”

Betty Jo plans on continuing to volunteer with Habitat for as long as she can, showing her dedication to our mission and values. And even though she has seen the ReStore change over the years, from system overhauls to building overhauls, she cannot imagine being anywhere else.
“It is just a great place. I love being here, and I’ll stay as long as I can,” Betty Jo said. “That pretty much sums it up.”

We are grateful to that friend who first asked her to volunteer, and so appreciate of all the volunteer service hours that Betty Jo has provided to Asheville Area Habitat over the past decade. Thank you, Betty Jo!

Photo: Betty Jo is pictured Left with fellow volunteers in 2006 (L) and 2016 (R).

It’s time again for “Before the Jam, Lend a Hand”!

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Saturday, December 12 will mark the 27th Annual Christmas Jam, presented by Warren Haynes. To date, the Christmas Jam has raised more than $1.8m for Asheville Area Habitat for Humanity, building houses and neighborhoods for hard-working low income Buncombe County families in need of safe, decent and affordable homes.

As in previous years, Habitat will again host local and out-of-town volunteers for Before the Jam, Lend a Hand. In the days leading up to the benefit concert, fans get involved – in a hands on way – with the cause that the Jam supports. Volunteers help both in the ReStore and on the construction site; on site, the volunteers help on various houses under construction, but some help to prepare the floor system and build the walls that will be raised at the Christmas Jam House wall-raising event on December 11th.

In our ReStore, we had Bryan Prim, Rich Granaas and Shawn Crisholm volunteering all day to make improvements to our well-worn conference room. They painted the room and removed carpet in preparation for new laminate flooring. Over a catered lunch from Village Wayside Bar & Grille, one of the lunch sponsors of the event, Shawn explained what led her and Rich to volunteer.

“We have been fans of Warren Haynes’ music forever, and we came to Asheville for the music,” she said (they recently moved here from Virginia). “This is our first time getting to volunteer with Habitat, though.”

It was this love of the music that led them to volunteering, and they even have a block on an online radio station dedicated solely to the music of Warren Haynes.

“We’ve been to the Jam before and we love the show and it’s for such a great cause,” Shawn said. “We’re really thankful that Habitat does this.”

The event is not just a way for music fans to get involved, but also a means for potentially new volunteers to begin with us at Asheville Area Habitat. Bryan Prim, while new to the area, has volunteered with another Habitat for Humanity affiliate in Pensacola, FL, where he racked up over 100 hours with them.

“When I moved, I looked to continue volunteering here,” Bryan said. “I believe in the cause.”

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