Habitat for Humanity and their volunteers – including President Jimmy Carter, Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt and other notables – have built, rehabilitated or restored over 1/2 million homes, for families around the world and have helped 2.5 million people finance those homes.
But, in addition to those well-known activities, Habitat for Humanity also operates ReStores, where they accept donations of “gently-used” or surplus building, electrical and lighting materials, furniture, appliances and just about everything you can find in a home, and then sell those items at a fraction of the retail price.
Habitat for Humanity then uses the profits from these stores to work toward their mission to “build homes, communities and hope.” There have been several projects in Vancouver and Clark County in addition to homes being built in every state of the union and many countries around the world.
In addition to raising funds for their work, the stores provide an environmentally- and socially-responsible way to keep good, reusable materials out of dumps and landfills. Over the years, these stores have literally kept hundreds of tons of materials in use, plus have provided thousands of dollars for the cause.
The ReStores accept donations from companies, builders, contractors and homeowners who are restoring, remodeling or wishing to recycle used goods. They are also great places for people who want to volunteer, who want to donate material, or who want to shop for one-of-a-kind items for their homes.
Just about everything that is in a home that you can think of is available at these stores. Walking through the ReStore in Vancouver, this reporter was amazed at what could be purchased there. Aisles in the 14,000-foot store display everything from doors and windows, to lumber and paneling, floor and bath tiles to carpet, toilets and tubs and sinks, furniture of every description, paint and plumbing supplies, doorknobs to cabinets, washers, dryers and ovens, skylights and birdhouses, tools and building hardware, tables and chairs, and even a doghouse big enough for a Great Dane.
Situated in a former grocery store on Fourth Plain, Vancouver’s ReStore has been open three years but, as Steven Donovan, the store’s assistant manager says, “There still are lots of people who don’t know about us, have no idea we exist, and could be either taking advantage of what we sell or bringing donations of used things to us.”
“We do have a truck to send out to pick up donations, a couple of stops everyday all over Clark County,’’ Donavan added. “The largest majority comes from individual households, but some from contractors and businesses.”
When asked how their prices are compared to other used furniture or appliance stores Donovan answered, “Generally we’re selling for about 50 percent of regular retail prices, but sometimes we have special deals.”
There are four staff workers, but an average of 10 volunteers come in each day, some days there can be more or less. Donovan says, “Most of our volunteers want to help out of the goodness of their heart, some are from workforce, and some must do community service for their school, so they fulfill those hours here with us.”
Habitat for Humanity ReStore is located at 5000 East 4th Plain, Vancouver, phone (360) 213-1313, e-mail: www.pdxrestore.org. The ReStore is open Tuesday through Saturday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m., but will take donations up to 4:30 p.m.