Better to Give

Its' Better to Give...May 2014 Blog
By Marianne Lynch

In those spare moments when I am not working to end poverty housing, being a mom and wife or dealing with some chore around the house, you can usually find me at the garden center at Lowe’s, Home Depot or anywhere else that the smell of flowers beckons me go.  This weekend was no exception.  I found myself wandering around Lowe’s looking at the varieties of annuals and vegetables.

As I stumbled upon the perennials, I noticed an elderly woman standing near me looking rather distressed. It was a busy weekend so even though they had plenty of sales associates, they were all tied up at the moment.   She clearly needed help moving a bag of dirt into her cart. Seeing her, I offered to get it for her. At first, she said that she thought it might be too heavy for me and that she would try to get some help from the associate.  I told her it was no problem and hoisted the bag into her cart.  As I did so, her face lit up with a huge smile. I think she thanked me at least ten times before leaving.

As I left Lowe’s (flowers in hand, of course!) I couldn’t help but feel good about this extremely small gesture that I made toward this woman. I didn’t know her, but for that brief second, I made her life easier.  That made me feel really good. Something so small – giving of a minute of my time, helped someone else’s load not be so great, even if for just a moment. 

And that good feeling carried me for the rest of the day – I let people into my lane of traffic, was a little more patient with my kids, took the time to let someone cross the street in front of my car…you know how it goes.  All from one small incident. 

I often find this to be true at Habitat. When I ask supporters why they give, overwhelmingly, they say that they like to know they’ve helped us in some small way.  They may not know the families who benefit, but that doesn’t seem to matter – knowing that their gesture could help change someone’s life is what motivates them to give.  Those who give of their time often say the same thing - it is the good feeling that they get from helping that inspires them. They like the feeling of being needed and that they had a skill or talent to give. 

Right now, as our Spring Matching Gift Appeal reaches mailboxes all over the county, I ask you not think of it as one more piece of junk mail, but as an opportunity to help (to hoist that dirt, if you will) families in your neighborhood, your community and your county achieve amazing goals.  I hope you’ll think about a gift to Habitat and the good feeling it brings not only to the families helped by it, but also to you, the giver.    

Happy Volunteer Week 2014!!!

Here are our Norristown Superstars Sean, Aldino and Ammar who faithfully volunteer
every week in ReStore Montco. We are so thankful for their help.

Happy National Volunteer Week 2014!! National Volunteer Week honors the people who dedicate themselves to actively solving problems within communities. Here, at Habitat for Humanity of Montgomery County, PA, and ReStore Montco, the value of volunteers is invaluable to ending poverty housing in our local communities and transforming lives of families, especially the children. I could cite the amount of money saved to help more families through volunteer participation or statistics about how volunteering translates into employability, but the value of a volunteer cannot be fully honored by traditional means, such as expressions of appreciation, refreshments, public recognition, or anything material. I asked numerous volunteers how else we, as an organization, could express appreciation, and no one wanted personal recognition. Perhaps, the best way to celebrate our volunteers is to share a glimpse into what inspired and really blessed me, what is in their hearts.

When asked “why do you volunteer?” Unaminously and quickly, every single person answered “because I believe in what we do.” Everyone referred to our mission. After witnessing volunteers exhibiting extreme physical exertion carrying heavy appliances up stairs backwards and the patience of individuals handling mobs of customer questions during the ReStore Anniversary, I knew there was more. “Even in the freezing cold out onsite or during a day working the ReStore register without a bathroom break?” Unanimously, they expressed a deeply-rooted gratefulness for their lives and a desire to pay it forward.  As one volunteer, under an oath of confidentiality shared, “I say thank you that I have a bed to sleep in before I go to sleep at night.  Take a minute and think about it.  Not everyone has a bed to sleep in at night.”  Wow…I did.  Humbled and inspired, I also re-read our mission statement, have been counting my blessings, and reminding myself it’s a matter of the heart. 

Habitat’s mission is to eliminate poverty housing. Partnering with caring individuals and organizations, Habitat for Humanity of Montgomery County (HFHMC) constructs simple, decent, affordable homes and empowers hardworking, low-income families to become homeowners by providing no-interest mortgages with which to buy them.


A Villanova Habitat Chapter leader shares her experience and a couple, who started volunteering by a memorial day in honor of their daughter, breathes new life into volunteering shares their insight.  

Katherine Boyarsky
Villanova University Habitat for Humanity Chapter, Student Relations Chair

“Working at the Habitat for Humanity Montgomery County ReStore was a great experience. Working with Lauren, the store manager, we were able to help customers get furniture and materials into their cars, sort through donations, and put items on the floor. Speaking with customers and community members showed me the kind of impact that these donations have on people, and how much new materials can change a home. All of the people who work at Habitat MontCo are so dedicated to the mission, and work hard to run an incredible ReStore. The volunteers from the community are so happy to help, and we had such a great day working with everyone. It's nice to have an impact, and helping Lauren to get donations onto the floor and bring in new donations was a very satisfying experience! We are looking forward to coming back!"


John and Carole Frock’s Love for HFHMC/ ReStore Montco

“Our daughter passed away suddenly at age 40 almost five years ago. We were looking to see what we could do in her memory on her birthday. John was a volunteer at Habitat in Bucks County so he contacted the volunteer coordinator at Habitat in Montgomery County. She was able to give us a date around our daughter's birthday and we have been having a group of friends and relatives work on Habitat projects for the past four years. The last two years the men have worked on construction projects and the ladies have been working at the Restore. Carole and the ladies decided that after having to jackhammer at Airy Street that they would prefer not to work construction.

We have found it a wonderful and rewarding experience and one that we feel is a tribute to our daughter.

We hope we can continue to do this memorial for many years to come. 

As an aside, because of John's involvement with the memorial he now is a regular weekly volunteer on the construction crews.”

It’s really a matter of heart.

Sara Haggerty

533 Foundry Road
West Norriton, PA 19403
Restore: 610-631-3149
Office: 610-278-7710
Fax: 610-278-1634


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