A Day on the Road with ReStore
“We got enough to paint the inside of six average houses,” Don tells me.
It’s a clear April morning and I’m riding along with Don Gustafson, the ReStore Donations Receiving Assistant, as he makes his rounds. We’ve just picked up several pallets of paint at a local Sherwin Williams retail store.
Next, we’re headed to a Warners’ Stellian warehouse to load up a downdraft unit (used to ventilate stoves that are built into kitchen islands). Of course, many of ReStore’s donations come from average folks looking to clear some space in their garage. Among this year’s more unusual donations are an antique, ornate copper birdcage for a very large bird, a number of lawnmowers (donated in November) and snow blowers (donated in April).
“Some people give us things and some people buy things from us. We have to keep both groups happy,” Don explains. On pickup, he shares Habitat’s mission with the donor and explains how their donations will be used. Then, he gives them a coupon for their next trip to the ReStore.
Don hasn’t always been a truck driver – he enrolled in truck driving school to better his chances of employment. He wasn’t interested in driving long distances as an over-the-road driver, so he earned his Class B license and joined the ReStore team in November. Before heading out for a day of pickups, he checks the truck’s fluids, belts and tires. Don picks up donations from across an 11-county area, driving an average of 125 miles each day. He usually makes a morning trip; returns to the ReStore where volunteers help unload the truck, then heads out for his afternoon pickups.
If you’d like to meet Don (and donate items to help build more Habitat homes), you can schedule a pickup online.
Barb Machowski, ReStore Communications Intern