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Habitat’s ReStore a ‘resounding success’

  • Sam Mello and Cloe Powell are part of Chubb’s Community Service Values Summer Programme, and have been paired up to work at the Habitat for Humanity of Bermuda ReStore on Front Street (Photograph supplied)
  • Cloe Powell and Sam Mello are part of Chubb’s Community Service Values Summer Programme, and have been paired up to work at the Habitat for Humanity of Bermuda ReStore on Front Street (Photograph supplied)

A combination of home clear-outs and redecorations may have been a boost to a new shop set up to raise funds for charity.

Barbara Belton-Brown, a board member at Habitat for Humanity of Bermuda, which opened its ReStore last month, said that the venture was a “resounding success” so far.

She explained: “The donations have been fantastic and people have been so incredibly generous.

“Maybe all of that sheltering in place has had folks looking around their houses and apartments and deciding to do some clearing out, while others are redoing rooms and coming in to purchase the great things — seems to be the perfect mix of things coming and going.”

The Habitat for Humanity ReStore is based in the former Bluck’s store on Front Street, Hamilton.

It sells new or slightly used items like furniture, beds, cabinets and artwork to help support struggling families.

Sheelagh Cooper, the chairwoman of the charity’s board, said: “It’s a perfect business plan. The location is free, the inventory is donated and the staff are all volunteers.”

She praised Cloe Powell and Sam Mello, both university students, who are working at the ReStore on “loan” from insurance company Chubb.

The firm was unable to take on interns because of the Covid-19 pandemic so it set up a Community Service Values Summer Programme to pair young people with non-profit organisations affected by the crisis.

The Chubb Charitable Foundation teamed up with the Ministry of Education, Bermuda College, Knowledge Quest and the Bermuda Business Development Agency to identify about 35 students on the island who needed summer employment to continue their studies in the autumn.

The foundation funds a salary for the students in return for 20 hours a week of community service for six weeks.

Lori Dunstan, vice-president for global corporate giving at the company, said: “We only really returned to offices about two weeks ago on a very limited basis.

“This allowed us to hire students to get them employed, get them working and get them paid.”

She added that many of the young people were able to choose non-profit organisations that matched their social or academic interests.

Ms Cooper said: “Every penny that we take in at the ReStore is going towards completing our biggest project yet — the Transformational Living Centre for Families.

“The TLC, as we are calling it, is a redevelopment of the old Pembroke Rest Home on Parson’s Road to become a shelter for homeless families.

“It is a joint venture between Habitat and the Women’s Resource Centre.

“Our objective is to provide more than just shelter ... to embrace families in a supportive, holistic, therapeutic and transformative community that enables them to grow, develop and ultimately sustain themselves when they transition into more permanent housing.”

Ms Cooper added that the ReStore was in receipt of fresh stock “almost daily”.

People can e-mail habitat.bermuda@gmail.com to make a request to be added to a mailing list to keep updated.

She said that residents can also visit the charity’s website Habitat.bm or search for the Habitat ReStore Bermuda Facebook or Instagram accounts.