Today I finally found and took some of my free time to volunteer again for the Habitat for Humanity of Eastern CT's Plainfield ReStore. They do need volunteers.
"Habitat for Humanity of Eastern CT".
Although Habitat is a worldwide organization, we have our own Habitat right here in Eastern CT. That means that what we do here impacts people here.
Somehow people still do not understand this whole concept. So, education is a good thing. Let's teach folks who may not know about Habitat, particularly our own Habitat!
Habitat's simple mission is to provide safe and affordable homes to those who need it.
It is not a hand out. Habitat does not give out free houses.
It is a hand UP. People apply to Habitat, much like they would a bank or mortgage company. These are people who are working, but just can't get enough for a down payment or can't afford the interest stacked mortgages. So they are working their tails off and living in sub-par situations. Probably most of them would not mind that situation if it were just them, but - and this is a big but - they have children, and they do not want their children to have to live unsafely.
So, Habitat chooses folks.
These folks, their families and friends must put in a lot of "sweat equity" hours. That means they must spend a number of hours working on building or rehabbing their house along with all the Habitat volunteers. They must also pay a mortgage. It is not for free. It is not a hand out. It is just the break that they need. Thank goodness.
One of Habitat's major fund raisers are their ReStores. People and businesses donate EVERYTHING that you see in a ReStore. The store's rent, utilities and a very few & small salaries are paid, then the monies go into another new or rehabbed home. MOST of the work done in a ReStore is by volunteers.
Now, let me reflect and share with you what I witnessed today at the Plainfield ReStore, one of two ReStores that serve Habitat of Eastern CT.
A "gentleman" pulls up to the donation door, immediately sarcastic and caustic that the ReStore was not open when he had stopped by the other day to drop off his donation. He admitted that he had no clue when the ReStore was open, nor did he try to find out.
Sadly, the ReStore continues to get a lot of non-quality items as donations, and it appears to me as a lack of respect for their end goal. Of course, they get a lot of wonderful donations, but let's face it, some folks are using ReStores as their dumping ground. This fellow today dropped off 4 items. 2 were marginal, 2 were less than marginal.
The volunteer that was with me, a long retired man, of questionable health, donates his time 3 days a week. He works hard. He instructs the younger guys about mechanics. He is invaluable. He kindly apologized to the donor that he was a volunteer, and then apologized again to this fellow for having to make 2 trips in order to drop off his donation. He offered a slip for tax purposes. You could see that the donor finally felt a bit of embarrassment for his initial rudeness.
I ask that you learn a little about Habitat for Humanity of Eastern CT and the ReStores.
I ask that you share that information with someone you know.
I ask that you think about donating to something once in a while, whether it is Habitat of Eastern CT, a food bank, a medical cause.... Whether it is your money, your time, your material items.
Whatever it is you choose, learn about it.
Respect their mission.
Respect their volunteers.
Don't act like you are doing the world a favor unless you truly are.