ReStore Volunteer Profile of Ellen Prokopow

As part of our #MeetOurVolunteers feature, we would like to introduce Ellen Prokopow. Originally from Michigan, she has been living in Winchester for the past 27 years. She is retired from a career as an IT systems project manager and HR consultant. 

Ellen began building with Merrimack Valley Habitat for Humanity (MVHFH) in the early 1990’s with the Unitarian Universalist Congregation in Andover. Later on, she participated in corporate build days with her “then-employer”, and following her retirement, Ellen served on our Board of Directors. Ellen recalls working on the 2014 Builders’ Blitz where we built a duplex home on Acton Street in Lawrence, in one week! Since the Blitz, she fondly recalls volunteering for our ReStore’s big move from the downtown location to the current one located on Andover Street. Both Ellen and her husband Zane are now regular weekday volunteers at the ReStore, proving that you don’t need to hold a hammer to help us build affordable homes.

When we asked her what motivated her to sign up as a volunteer with MVHFH, Ellen, who has been an active participant in social justice initiatives at her congregation for many years, describes her congregations work as covering three components: Community, Justice, and Charity. Justice is working at fixing root causes that lead to inequality:  that can be helping immigrants improve their English language skills, link people’s job opportunities and help them with resumes and interview skills, or promote legislative changes to invest in people and communities.  Charity is keeping the wolf from the door:  working food banks, supporting homeless shelters, managing clothing drives, or collecting furniture when victims are recovery from weather events, earthquakes or a building fire.  Community is the bridge between those two:  building links among people, government, businesses, non-profit agencies, and faith organizations to improve people’s lives. Ellen believes that building houses for Habitat results in a better economic life for the homeowner families, but also changes the tax base for the neighborhoods, builds stability for the neighborhood, and creates relationships among the people who build, who raise funds, who select and coach families through the homeownership journey.  “It’s the total package!”

Ellen feels like she has found her niche in volunteering at the Merrimack Valley ReStore. It allows her to best fit with the time that she has to offer, and she “really enjoys the staff and other volunteer regulars.” Over the years, she has learned a ton of construction skills – she has done “demolition, cleaned trash from vacant lots, bagged leaves from the roof of the Bixby Building on Parker Street. Glued kitchen flooring, staged scaffolding, put exterior siding on two stories up, installed insulation foam boards, mounted firewall ceiling board, dug porch post holes, hammered subflooring, nailed joist hangers, moved equipment and supplies and yes, even piles of crushed stone from the staging area to the construction area . . . and sometimes her job was just to sweep the sawdust and debris from the construction site and prep for the next crew.  

When reminiscing about the 2014 Builders Blitz, Ellen mentions that seeing a building site go from foundation to occupancy permit in 5 days blew her away.  Her time on the Board helped her learn so much about the behind-the-scenes workings of the affiliate.  She hadn’t been aware that some of the fundraising goes for paying for insurance on the tools, building materials, and houses themselves before they are sold to future homeowners.  And never was that importance more apparent than following the Market Street fires in January 2008, a property that Ellen helped build.  Having insurance helped get those buildings rebuilt in as short a time as possible, so even though there was a delay, the families still were able to get their homes in a surprisingly fast time.

She appreciates that there are many, many ways to contribute as a volunteer with Habitat, and whatever skills and time availability one has, there is going to be a role that fits.

Ellen’s wish is that “every person, every family can get a safe and affordable roof over their head.  But not only that but that they feel connected to the community in which they live.   Habitat for Humanity addresses both of these. 

We like to find out new and interesting tidbits about our volunteers and we were delighted to hear that Ellen was a French major and lived in France for a year as a college student, and is now learning Spanish, in part inspired by her interactions with the people who shop at the Habitat ReStore in Lawrence… so she can be a better resource to shoppers.  Ellen also volunteers with MIRA Coalition to register voters in conjunction with new citizen naturalization ceremonies in Boston that take place almost once a week, and she volunteers with another group that works with people seeking political asylum.  I coach those clients on writing a resume suitable for a US job search and then work with them on mock interviews.  Ellen also loves to cook and she has over 400 cookbooks in her collection. WOW!

Our work, providing affordable homes to local families in need, is only possible thanks to the commitment and dedication of volunteers like Ellen!

Interested in Volunteering?

Whether you’re an individual, small business, a corporation, a community group, a faith congregation, or just a handful of friends – every volunteer increases our impact. Help us with pricing, organizing merchandise, accepting donations, and displays. We’re bursting at the studs with contributions, and we need YOU to help make sense of it all!

The biggest perk is you get to see all new items before they hit the sales floor!

If you are interested in volunteering with us, please email info@mvrestore.org.

Volunteer Profile of Margo Loomis

This week, for #MeetOurVolunteers, we are featuring another one of our wonderful and dedicated ReStore volunteers, Margot.

A resident of Haverhill, MA, Margot has been volunteering with us for 8 years…but maybe more. “Who remembers the length of time when you’re having fun, right?” When not at the ReStore, Margot works with a Certified Financial Planner as her “day job”.

She found her way to us, thanks to an article in a local newspaper, talking about a women build day, which we host every May. According to Margot, “she signed up right away”. The first site she recalls was Roxanna’s house. For those of you who don’t know, Roxanna is our lovely office and family services manager, and a Habitat homeowner herself. When Margot received an email about Merrimack Valley Habitat for Humanity possibly opening a ReStore, she “jumped at the opportunity to help there, and traded hammering nails for banging out sales.”

Margot volunteers because she has “fun at the ReStore and likes that the money raised, stays local.” In the store, she enjoys helping shoppers and attempting to make the sales floor more inviting. Margot helps run a monthly folk music venue, the New Moon Coffeehouse, in Haverhill, which is also a nonprofit. She enjoys bringing great live music to the Merrimack Valley. When she is not volunteering her time, Margot makes delicious chocolate truffles and folds origami boxes to put the truffles in, for friends and family. Wow, aren’t they lucky!? In an ideal world, Margot wishes every person would have a safe place to live and food in their belly.

Our work, providing affordable homes to local families in need, is only possible thanks to the commitment and dedication of volunteers like Margot. As you can see, you don’t need to wear a hard-hat to help us build homes for deserving families in need.

Interested in Volunteering?

Whether you’re an individual, small business, a corporation, a community group, a faith congregation, or just a handful of friends – every volunteer increases our impact. Help us with pricing, organizing merchandise, accepting donations, and displays. We’re bursting at the studs with contributions, and we need YOU to help make sense of it all!

The biggest perk is you get to see all new items before they hit the sales floor!

If you are interested in volunteering with us, please email info@mvrestore.org.

We are Hiring

Merrimack Valley Habitat for Humanity ReStore is looking to hire a full-time Driver.

New ReStore Truck Driver Side Wrap

We are now hiring for a full -time driver and Donation Ambassador

If you are dedicated, hard-working, a team player and customer service minded, please read the full job description below and apply today!

 

 

 

Job Description

ReStore Driver/Donation Ambassador
Merrimack Valley Habitat for Humanity ReStore
647 Andover Street
Lawrence, MA 01843

Reports to: ReStore Manager

Employee Status: Full Time.

Description: This position is responsible for the pick-up of merchandise from donors, safely packing the merchandise in the ReStore truck, returning to ReStore, unpacking merchandise and general ReStore help.

Responsibilities:
1. General Duties

  • Load and unload all donated materials.
  • Communicating with ReStore Management regarding incoming donations.
  • Occasionally supervising volunteers, making their experience meaningful.
  • Drive MVHFH vehicles to pick-up and deliver donated goods.
  • Maintain an effective working relationship with ReStore staff, volunteers, Habitat homeowners and ReStore customers.
  • Daily cleaning and straightening of ReStore receiving area.
  • Screen for product usability when donors call or bring in donations.
  • Direct pricing and operations inquires to ReStore Management.

2. Other Duties as Assigned by the ReStore Manager
3. Required Skills / Experience

  • Knowledge and experience in retail sales.
  • Team building a real plus.
  • Must be a good listener and be able to engage in well-considered discussions.
  • Must be willing to understand the big picture of the MVHFH and know that ReStore is only a part of the larger goal.
  • Must pass Criminal Background Check.
  • Work is performed in a retail/warehouse environment.
  • Ability to lift 75 pounds repeatedly.
  • Ability to spend the majority of the day standing or moving about. Work may require climbing ladders, considerable standing, bending, kneeling, and reaching in awkward and tiring positions.
  • High school diploma or equivalent. Must have a drivers license and maintain a good driving record.
  • Sense of humor a must!

The Merrimack Valley Habitat for Humanity is an equal opportunity employer.

Job Type: Full-time

Salary: $16.50 to $17.00 /hour

Apply with cover letter and resume by emailing us at info@mvrestore.org

Art Tucker Profile

ReStore Volunteer Profile of Art Tucker

This week, for #MeetOurVolunteers, we introduce to you, Art Tucker. Art has been volunteering at the Merrimack Valley Habitat for Humanity ReStore since 2016.

With family roots in Pennsylvania and North Carolina, Art has been an Andover, MA and Northshore resident since 1983.  A Veteran who served as an officer in the US Navy during the Vietnam war, we thank Art for his service!

Art retired after 32 years at ICP, a World Wide operation that manufactures coatings for Tennis Courts and Running Tracks, where he went on to become Vice President of Recreational Products division.

Arts decision to volunteer at the Merrimack Valley ReStore was influenced by the example of President Jimmy Carter. Additionally, Art appreciates the concept of Habitat homeowners helping themselves through “Sweat Equity” to achieve a better life. He also enjoys the Habitat ReStore clientele and that ReStore is a “combination of flea market and good old fashioned hardware store.” Our local Latino community provides an interesting perspective that Art enjoys. The opportunity to suggest and influence the operation through Customer Service brings an intellectual component that Art appreciates.

Art believes that “homeownership for all economic segments is a worthy goal.” His opinion is that, when it comes to affordable housing, “the efforts of private organizations can serve as a model for others, including government.

Volunteering with us for two days a week leaves Art time for his other passions, which are traveling, visiting with family, and pursuing small home improvement projects.

Our work, providing affordable homes to local families in need, is only possible thanks to the commitment and dedication of volunteers like Art!

Interested in Volunteering?

Whether you’re an individual, small business, a corporation, a community group, a faith congregation, or just a handful of friends – every volunteer increases our impact. Help us with pricing, organizing merchandise, accepting donations, and displays. We’re bursting at the studs with contributions, and we need YOU to help make sense of it all!

The biggest perk is you get to see all new items before they hit the sales floor!

If you are interested in Volunteering with us, please email info@mvrestore.org.

 

Everything Old Is New Again

Pam Leonard of Boxford, MA knows how to repurpose and recycle. In her shop, B Cheeky, she works on and sells furnishings and home décor that has been upcycled. One of her go-to places to find less-than-loved pieces to refurbish is Merrimack Valley ReStore. 

Read about Pam and get some tips on how to DIY your own furnishings here

ReStore Will Take What Doesn’t Spark Joy

Marie Kondo has been THE name that comes to mind when you think about organizing and decluttering your home. Her books have become best sellers, and now she has a Netflix show called “Tidying Up” that helps homeowners walk through decluttering and cleaning up their homes.

If you’re following the simple process in your own home that Marie has laid out for her clients, don’t forget to contact Merrimack Valley ReStore to donate what doesn’t “spark joy” for you.

By donating your unwanted furnishings, we are able to raise funds to build homes for deserving families. It’s a win-win! 

Lawrence Students Raise Money for Community

Lawrence public school art students used their talents to support the community through their Have A Heart Charity Art Auction last month. Over 100 K-12 students participated in the creation of artwork for this very successful event and raised money for the community, including the Merrimack Valley Habitat for Humanity.

Merrimack Valley ReStore donated approximately 40 chairs to students and teachers for their creative touch. The chairs were painted in the theme of writers and illustrators and were auctioned off at the Have A Heart event at the Essex Art Center in Lawrence. Ticket proceeds will benefit the Lawrence High School scholarship fund and proceeds from the sale of the chairs was donated to the Merrimack Valley Habitat.

Merrimack Valley Habitat for Humanity shares a global vision where everyone has a decent place to live. We bring people together to build homes, communities and hope. We are building in Lawrence, Andover and Salisbury.

Working together we can make a difference.

Lawrence Public School ARTS Have a Heart Charity Art Auction to benefit MVHH


https://www.lawrence.k12.ma.us/index.php/district-events/1340-have-a-heart-art-auction-2018
https://www.essexartcenter.org/

 

Lawrence Public Schools Have A Heart charity auction

Hotel Management Company Donates Furnishings

Recently, Merrimack Valley ReStore was happy to accept a large shipment of furnishings from a hotel management company who is remodeling its properties. The donation included 37 desks, 79 headboards (king and queen), 119 mirrors of various sizes, and 36 lights, all in excellent condition. 

We are so grateful to have been the charity of choice for CorePoint Lodging LLC and its properties. Their donation is greatly appreciated and has been a wonderful addition to our inventory on the floor.

CorePoint Lodging owns a portfolio of 315 hotels and more than 40,000 rooms in attractive locations throughout the U.S. Properties in the CorePoint portfolio are primarily in or near employment centers, airports and major travel thoroughfares.

Meegan O’Neil joins Merrimack Valley Habitat for Humanity as Executive Director

Written by Merrimack Valley Habitat for Humanity

 
Meegan O'Neil - Executive Director

Meegan O’Neil – Executive Director

We are excited to welcome Meegan O’Neil as our new Executive Director.

“On behalf of the Merrimack Valley Habitat for Humanity [MVHH] board of directors and staff, I am happy to announce that Meegan O’Neil is our new executive director as of November 26, 2018” beamed MVHH board president, Richard Sumberg.  “We are happy to have found a candidate who connects so well with Habitat’s mission, knows our network of Merrimack Valley communities, and shares our culture of accomplishment and creativity.” O’Neil can be reached at 978-681-8858 or meegan@merrimackvalleyhabitat.org.

O’Neil succeeds Randy Larson, who is retiring after a six-year tenure.

O’Neil’s talents as a values-based strategic leader were crafted in managing a broad range of executive leadership positions at YMCA of the North Shore, most recently, as its Chief Strategy Officer.

In 2019, with O’Neil’s leadership, Merrimack Valley Habitat for Humanity will complete its 100th home and continue the construction projects in Lawrence and the new projects in Andover and Salisbury. These homes will be made affordable to qualified low-income home buyers.

For 33 years and counting, Merrimack Valley Habitat for Humanity continues to partner with first-time home owners to build better lives for themselves and their families, helping them become successful home owners, caring neighbors, and contributing members of their Merrimack Valley community.

Merrimack Valley Habitat for Humanity is self-sustaining affiliate of Habitat for Humanity International. The Merrimack Valley affiliate shares a vision where everyone has a decent place to live. We bring people together to build homes, communities and hope.

Merrimack Valley Habitat for Humanity shares a global vision where everyone has a decent place to live.

We have been able to build 87 homes, rehab 11 homes and serve nearly 100 families since our founding in 1985.  thanks to the generosity of local supporters.

Join us.

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    647 Andover Street     |     Lawrence, MA 01843    |    978-686-3323