From building homes to stocking shelves: why Elaine volunteers at ReStore

For the past 16 years, Elaine has spent her free time volunteering at Habitat Edmonton. She began volunteering when, after retiring as a teacher, she was looking for volunteer opportunities. She had heard of Habitat and decided to help on a build site in Edmonton’s Norwood community. She was impressed with the efficiency of the build, and so she continued to volunteer on build sites across Edmonton. After learning several interesting and unique skills, Elaine paused her volunteer work with Habitat until the South ReStore was opened in 2017.

Elaine was drawn to ReStore because she loves to organize. After attending a volunteer session, she was hooked, and has volunteered at ReStore ever since. She focuses most of her time on stocking and organizing shelves, so customers can more easily locate items. She likes to stand back and look at the many items available at ReStore, marveling at how many items are diverted from the landfill. She believes that we should walk gently on the earth, avoiding overconsumption and discarding items that are still useful. She values how ReStore provides well-loved items with a second life.

Helping others who need a hand-up is also important to Elaine, and she believes that we “all do better when we all do better.” She knows that when a parent has a safe and stable home, they can make positive, generational change in their family and community. Elaine says volunteering at ReStore is a symbiotic relationship, as she gets as much out of volunteering as families get out of Habitat’s affordable homeownership program. At the end of each day, Elaine feels happy knowing she is helping to provide a hand-up to families in her community.

Meeting people and getting to know them is another reason why Elaine volunteers at ReStore. After hitting it off with another volunteer, Elaine and her new friend spent time together outside of volunteering. Although her friend has since moved, Elaine keeps in touch with her. Elaine has also made friendships with some Habitat homeowners she volunteers alongside as well as ReStore staff.

Thanks to volunteers like Elaine, we continue to divert items from the landfill and empower families through affordable homeownership. Learn how you can volunteer at ReStore.