A typical day for Habitat ReStore Associate, Josemar Barrett, includes processing donations, assembling furniture, and preparing the McGregor store for customers. “For me, it’s all about getting as many customers in the store, so we can build homes and help out our community,” said Josemar.
With the recent developments surrounding the coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic, Habitat for Humanity of Lee and Hendry Counties has closed all four ReStore locations until conditions are safer. “When I heard the ReStores were closing—my first reaction was, what do we do after this?” For Josemar, he needed to continue his mission-focused work and to ensure no ReStore employee missed a pay-check, Habitat for Humanity opened construction worksite opportunities for ReStore staff members.
Adhering to CDC recommendations and practicing social distancing, ReStore staff have been working diligently on Habitat homes throughout Lee County. This week, Josemar and fellow ReStore employee, Emanuel Thomas, are paired with the jovial and energetic Construction Site Supervisor known as “Duck.” Emanuel cracks a smile as he jokes… “I think Duck use to be a comedian in his past life—he must have been a court jester or something.”
Kidding aside, the three-person team works hard painting walls, applying laminate flooring, and installing vinyl siding on the Fort Myers Habitat home. “It’s hot, and there’s no AC, but I’m enjoying it,” said Josemar with a shrug. For Emanuel, he believes that working on the homes can help ReStore staff deepen their connection to Habitat’s mission to bring people together to build homes, communities, and hope.
“Working in the retail stores, you don’t really see outside of your bubble,” he said. “You know why you’re doing the work, but you don’t actually have the hands-on experience of what that work goes towards…It’s much easier for me to explain now what goes on at both ends.”
Habitat for Humanity ReStores are a key funding mechanism for our affordable homeownership program that has empowered 1,600+ local families to break the cycle of poverty. Though all ReStore operations are currently suspended, we will urgently need donated items upon re-opening. If you were planning on making a donation, we ask you to hold onto those items until the ReStores open again.