By Shannon Benson and Ariel Yarrish
Many Habitat for Humanity of Orange County (Habitat OC) volunteers, with a hammer in hand, bask and sweat in the sun out on the construction site. Often what comes to mind when thinking about Habitat OC is home building and having the chance to volunteer on the construction site, but where does it all begin?
When you take a step back for a moment and think about what it takes to build a home, you may list materials—wood, nails, paint—and consider specialists—electrician, plumber, carpenter—or may say that building a Habitat OC home takes heart, hands and a tool belt. Volunteers at the Habitat for Humanity of Orange County ReStore (Habitat OC ReStore)—the home improvement store that builds homes—may tell you that building a Habitat OC home begins by unloading a donation truck and stocking the sales floor with clean, priced and assembled home improvement products.
Volunteering at the Habitat OC ReStores—organizing the paint department or holding the other end of the tape measure for a shopper considering a bathroom vanity or a kitchen cabinet set—makes a huge difference in the atmosphere of the store, the experience of the shopper, and ultimately in the funds raised by the Habitat OC ReStores.
Building a home, returning hope to a family and benefiting the community starts not on the construction site physically building a home, but in efforts to fund the build of the homes at the Habitat OC ReStores. With every volunteer hour at the Habitat OC ReStores, Habitat OC is one step closer to building a home for a family in need of a hand-up. So re-imagine that hard hat and hammer in exchange for a work apron and friendly smile at the Habitat OC ReStores alongside other volunteers.
Missionaries from the Church of God in Christ Mennonite support Habitat OC by volunteering at the Habitat OC ReStore in Anaheim and construction warehouse in Santa Ana. Their volunteer work, carrying out the everyday behind-the-scenes operations, helps raise funds to build Habitat OC homes.
The Church of God in Christ Mennonite owns a home in Orange County where missionaries stay for six months out of the year to serve at various local organizations. Carston, Cordell and Shelton are three of many missionaries serving with Habitat OC.
Habitat OC relies on volunteers to build homes, community and hope in Orange County and around the world. “I serve because I just want a chance to give other people hope,” said Shelton, who is 20 years old from Mississippi. “I believe God is using me as an instrument to help in the community,” said Carston, who is 21 years old from Idaho. He feels that serving is the least that he can do, knowing all that God has done for him. “Our missionary volunteers are amazing; they volunteer consistently and are some of the hardest working volunteers I have ever seen,” said Kate, the Anaheim ReStore Assistant Manager.
Habitat OC ReStore volunteers help with tasks such as customer service and organizing donations. Missionaries believe in hard work and real world experience. “We look forward to coming to the ReStore because we like working hard,” said Cordell who is 22 from Manitoba Canada. “I am very happy with the work I do here,” he said. Cordell has been volunteering with Habitat OC for five months and feels that by serving others, he serves God.
To learn more about volunteering as an individual or group at the Habitat OC ReStores, please contact Habitat OC’s Faith Relations Manager at (714) 434-6200 ext. 226 or FaithRelations@HabitatOC.org. Help build homes and transform lives one volunteer shift at a time at the Habitat OC ReStores.