When Not Building Homes, Habitat Helps Furnish Them

By Beacon Staff

Less than a stones throw north over the railroad tracks in Kalispell, Habitat for Humanity ReStore is making use of building materials and things otherwise rendered useless. Reselling anything with life left to give and providing the community with, not only a cheap alternative to buying something new, but more space at the dump for things that really are lifeless.

“Our reach is a little more than just building homes,” Habitat for Humanity executive director Patti Gregerson said. “This is a great resource for everyone, high income or low.”

Across the country there are 200 such ReStores, which take donated home furnishings, appliances, paint, “basically anything that could still benefit someone,” says volunteer manager Char Terry. “Volunteers are also welcome.”

The promise of better weather had Kalispell resident Jo Roberts out looking for a variety of things to renovate her home. “You can find just about anything here: a vanity, doors, lights,” Roberts said. “All you have to do is clean it up and it is as good as new.”

Roberts stumbled on carpet remnants, a door, strike plates, cabinets and she got them for next to nothing, “We come all the time; this place is just perfect.”

The non-profit Habitat for Humanity seeks to provide affordable housing for low-income Flathead Valley residents, through monies both donated and made at the ReStore. Through the generosity – of an unnamed party – Habitat for Humanities is able to operate the ReStore rent free in the back of the Kalispell Medical Equipment building on Third Avenue East.

“One-hundred percent of the donations and money made goes to supporting Habitat for Humanity,” Gregerson said. “We do not have an overhead cost right now.”

She says that Kalispell’s store, which used to operate out of storage units near Happy Valley, could easily be inundated with items because of limited space. But the solution of finding a larger buildingto house its operation for a reasonable price is not that easy.

“Compared to the other ReStores in the country, our space is fairly small, but we believe the Flathead Valley could support a bigger space,” Gergerson said. “There are things that go to the landfill that are better than what we have here. We just don’t have the room.”

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