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Last updated: Mon. Mar. 24, 2014 - 06:17 am EDT

Fort Wayne Habitat for Humanity ReStore relies on volunteers to help sell used items (with VIDEO)

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Fort Wayne Habitat for Humanity ReStore:

Hours: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday. The store is closed Sunday and Monday.

Location: 3837 N. Wells St, Fort Wayne

-For more information on the Fort Wayne Habitat for Humanity ReStore, visit the website at www.fortwaynehabitat.org/restore or visit the Facebook page at www.facebook.com/FortWayneHabitat.

-Want to be a volunteer, contact volunteer coordinator Victoria McCallister by calling the office at (260) 422-4828 or visit the website at www.fortwaynehabitat.volunteerhub.com/Events/Index.

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Walking into the large aluminum warehouse at Fort Wayne Habitat for Humanity ReStore is like walking into a pickers' paradise.

From someone working on yet another home renovation project to the Pinterest project person who needs some inspiration, ReStore has everything from hardware and plumbing to furniture and kitchen cabinets.

The Fort Wayne Habitat for Humanity ReStore, 3837 N. Wells St, has a constant rotation of items being donated from local businesses and residents.

The store is hardly low on stock, but if there's one thing the store could use, it's more volunteers. It's not all lifting heavy objects either, even though they could use some strong folks, too.

ReStore needs people for customer service, answering phones, helping with deliveries and organizing items in the store.

While the positions are not difficult, the hardest part of volunteering is taking that first step. For 10 year volunteer Diann Getty, she was intimidated at first, but now she refers to the staff and volunteers as family.

“When I first started it was overwhelming. You don't know quite what to do yet or what this stuff is unless you're a mechanic or engineer, but you do learn it and you're better for it,” she said.

The purpose of the store is to not only provide affordable materials to residents, but to also raise money for the mission of Fort Wayne Habitat for Humanity, to instill Christian principles using volunteer labor to build simple, affordable homes for qualified families in the community.

Pam Lochner, director of ReStore, said it relies on those faithful volunteers who stick around over the years, and since the store has been growing, they're even more important.

“All of our volunteers are important, but we really love those people that volunteer regularly. We develop a relationship with them. They become a part of the family here. It's different than other areas of volunteers; our volunteers are a community,” she said.

The store has moved three times, coming to its current 15,000 square-foot location since 2009.

“It's ever-changing here. We are getting donations every day. Every day there's something different or new. It's constantly revolving. Kitchen cabinets is a big seller for us. Many people redoing cottages or garages or adding to their homes. We sell those a lot when they are donated. Furniture is something we just started getting into,” she said.

Since the Great Recession and with the growing popularity of vintage and Pinterest project, Lochner said the store has a wide array of customers.

“Pinterest people really like to come in because we have all those little pieces that they can remake. We have a corner made by one of our volunteers, Diann, and she will take items and re-purpose them for inspiration for our customers,” she said.

Getty is quite proud of her Pinterest corner, too. She took a regular volunteer experience and made it meaningful for her.

“My husband said to me one morning, 'Oh, you have to go to work, don't you?' I said, 'Yeah,' then I replied, 'No, I don't have to go to work. I get to go to work.' They are just that nice to work with,” she said.

For more information on the Fort Wayne Habitat for Humanity ReStore, visit the website at www.fortwaynehabitat.org/restore or visit the Facebook page at www.facebook.com/FortWayneHabitat.

Want to be a volunteer? Contact volunteer coordinator Victoria McCallister by calling the office at (260) 422-4828 or visit the website at www.fortwaynehabitat.volunteerhub.com/Events/Index.

jgoldsborough@news-sentinel.com


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