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Monday, April 8, 2013

[Earth Day Edition] Be Green, Shop at a Habitat for Humanity ReStore

Truck that took away repurposed items.
Giving products a second life is the concept behind a Habitat for Humanity store in Omaha, NE. This isn't a one-of-a-kind store because there are 825 Habitat ReStores in the U.S. and Canada; however, you can happen upon original products. ReStores provide a socially and environmentally responsible way to keep good, reusable materials out of landfills.

Brian and I got introduced to the store when the new northwest location was in the demo stage. We both were in charge of the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) crew in conjunction with UNO’s 7 Days of Service. Since its inception in 2003, UNO students have chosen to forgo their spring break plans and donate their time serving their community as part of UNO’s 7 Days of Service project. Brian & I didn't just participate, we both served as the job site coordinators. To qualify, we attended an hour debriefing before the event and received instructions the day of.

Upon arriving at the future site of the Habitat Restore, we could tell it was going to be a total team effort. This was a day of hard labor and a lot of drywall dust; but we had a small army of volunteers to accomplish our task. Among the volunteers, Brian's best friend from first grade, Brian Orme. He took a day off from TD Ameritrade to join our volunteer crew. The six-hour day consisted of packing up insulation, tearing down drywall, cutting down beams and sorting out metals for the future site of the Habitat ReStore. All day our crew worked alongside a Habitat family. This family, recipients of a Habitat house of their very own, were putting in "sweat equity" this day.

"Like you saw today, each family has to work 350 hours of sweat equity. A 100 of those we try to get them to work on their own house that way they build pride of ownership," said Marshall Vernon, construction crew leader for Habitat. "We offer workshops where they learn home maintenance and lawn maintenance, as well as financial stuff. Pretty much anything you can think of you need to know as a homeowner they get taught in a workshop."

Brian and his best friend repurposing drywall during demo.
The mission of 7 Days of Service is to facilitate the building and strengthening of the Omaha community by actively engaging with the community and responding to the urban need. The feeling of accomplishment working together to get this site ready for a future ReStore is something Brian & I will never forget. We both recommend getting your hands dirty with this wonderful service project.

Months later Brian and I would attend the Grand Opening of the ReStore. At the event, Mr. Brown purchased repurposed lights for our basement and I found a framed movie poster. The feeling of buying repurposed items at a store we helped create was amazing.

Don't have time to donate your time? If so, each Habitat ReStore accepts donations of home goods, furniture, appliances and building materials (contact your local ReStore for donation drop-off or pick-up information). Better yet, shop at a ReStore and you'll love it!

In celebration of the 43rd anniversary of Earth Day population-we™ staffers will celebrate our love for planet earth with green posts this month! Thanks for reading our first Earth Day post. 

- population-we blog post by Becky Bohan Brown 
© 2013 population-we, LLC
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  2. We appreciate you stopping by our blog for a visit! Glad you enjoyed the Habitat for Humanity ReStore post & even happier that you’re considering re-purposing furniture. Our virtual welcome mat is always here – stop by again soon!