Volunteer Spotlight: ReStore’s Ruth Powers
For Ruth Powers, volunteering is a way of life. As a young girl she would volunteer with her family. The strong volunteer ethic continued throughout her life and Habitat for Humanity Vail Valley is a recipient of her commitment to giving back.
It all started, here, about 20 years ago when she joined in a couple of Habitat build days at homes in Leadville and got to work alongside Habitat families. Next, she worked on a duplex in Eagle. When she started volunteering at the ReStore, she was hooked. For the next number of years she spent many Saturdays at the Gypsum store.
“Over the years I’ve done a ton of things, almost always with the store. I haven’t been back much with construction site—that’s how people think about Habitat when they volunteer,” Ruth says. “I’ve recruited a number of people who have ended up working at the store and they have a good time doing it.”
She was also involved with relocating the ReStore from Gypsum to its current location in Eagle. And once the wares were moved in, she started recruiting again. A crew of volunteer painters came in the get the space ready to go. “We can find volunteers for everything,” she says gleefully.
Part of volunteering was figuring out the pricing on the higher end items. After all, we live where there are some very nice donations of furniture, housewares and art.
“It is great to have Ruth volunteer at the ReStore. She always knows what to do and how to price different items. I hope that she enjoys volunteering as much as we enjoy having her here,” says Ann Carlin, ReStore manager.
Ruth reminisces about a time when an expensive sofa came through the ReStore doors and it was sold for a too-good-to-be-true price. The manager followed the buyer and let him know he got an amazing deal.
After that, he’d tell shoppers, “Remember all your money goes to Habitat; it’s a good thing you are doing here. Then he’d say, ‘If you found you got a bargain, enjoy it and remember you got it at Habitat.”
Seeing the quality donations, Ruth “trained everyone to look online, look under seats, under cushions,” to learn about pricing.
Why the ReStore?
According to Ruth, the ReStore is a win-win-win: it saves people from throwing decent things out, provides a tax incentive, employs locals, shoppers get great deals on unique items and all proceeds benefit Habitat for Humanity.
Ruth remembers a giant, tiered, custom-built chandelier that was donated from a Bachelor Gulch home. It was stunning but definitely needed the right buyer. After a few months, the right buyer came in. His new build had high ceilings—and he had a budget to follow. Right customer, right price, right time. He left, thrilled with his purchase.
Volunteers are an integral part of making the store welcoming. She urges people who are looking for a way to get involved to consider volunteering at the ReStore.
“I would say look to the ReStore if you like retail, shopping. It’s a good place to work. Sometimes when the (donation) truck comes in it’s sort of like Christmas, what did we get? It’s always fun, the actual activity of being there is general fun. Not every volunteer activity is fun, sometimes you volunteer because it’s the right thing to do. In this case, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed it.”
The ReStore builds the story home. We accept donations of furnishings, housewares, appliances and building supplies, and sell items at a fraction of the retail price. Proceeds are used to build Habitat homes, strength, stability, self-reliance and shelter — a good deal for you, the community and the environment.
Arrange a free pickup: 970.328.1119 or firstname.lastname@example.org. We’d love to have you volunteer! Email us, email@example.com.