ReStore Volunteers Turn Tables and Chairs into Affordable Homes
Each year, Milwaukee’s ReStores raise hundreds of thousands of dollars to build safe, affordable homes in our community through the resale of donated items. After shopping at the ReStores for years and learning about the mission, Nancy decided she wanted to become more involved. Now she volunteers at ReStore Franklin every Friday.
“I think it’s an important thing to do and a great way to spend your time,” Nancy said. “It’s not just a chair – you’re donating towards somebody’s home.”
Volunteers like Nancy are part of the reason that ReStores are able to help fund the Habitat mission. When volunteering, Nancy spends time working at the register, displaying items on the floor, and helping customers find the perfect item. Her favorite part of volunteering at ReStore is the people.
“I have volunteered for probably 40 years at different places and I’d say this is probably the best group of people just in general,” Nancy said. “It’s a great atmosphere. I feel like everybody is customer focused but also very much aware of why we’re doing this.”
Milwaukee Habitat’s mission is Nancy’s first reason for volunteering at ReStore.
“Think of how many people in our country would never think they would get their own home. But because of places like ReStore, they can do that. It’s amazing,” Nancy said.
The impact that safe, affordable housing has on children is a large influence for Nancy’s volunteer work. Milwaukee Habitat homeowners’ children have an 87% high school graduation rate. That’s more than 25% higher than the average graduation rate of Milwaukee Public Schools.
“This [nonprofit] is so clearly building into people’s lives. And for not just now,” Nancy said. “You’re building into future generations by, it can sound silly, putting couches and chairs out here that people can buy… and then for that money to go to another family so that they can have a home for their children that’s safe, I think that’s huge.”
Nancy feels very fortunate that she has time to spend volunteering. She acknowledges that there are many people who don’t have the time and have to work multiple jobs.
“I have the time… I get to choose where I want to spend my time. I feel like this is just a good place,” Nancy said. “It just makes sense for our communities. For people.”
Nancy encourages other people who have time, to volunteer at a ReStore.
“You’re expanding your world. You’re making new friends. You’re working with very kind people towards a good mission,” Nancy said.