When Neumont University students are on break, staff and faculty volunteer to support their community, and Friday, August 26 was no exception. This summer’s service project was held at Habitat for Humanity's ReStore: a retail outlet where donated goods are sold at below retails prices to pay for administration and labor fees for the Salt Lake Valley Habitat for Humanity. The organization works toward eliminating poverty housing.
While there were a variety of tasks that needed to be worked on, Neumont Marketing Associate Krista Smith said she and many other Neumont volunteers spent the majority of their time helping to organize and clean the store. The experience gave her a unique insight into the donations that came in.
“It was astonishing to see how much stuff people donated,” Krista said, “but disheartening to realize how much of it was unusable or junk. If you would like to donate something to ReStore (or any organization for that matter), please ask yourself if that is something you would buy. If not, the dump may be a better home.”
Matt Brown, Enrollment Coordinator at Neumont explained, “By the time we finished our shift (roughly three and a half hours), the areas we’d worked in had transformed from scattered, cluttered shelves of miscellaneous items into well-organized, neat, tidy rows with clearly marked and categorized products and items filling the aisles like a well-stocked hardware store. The blinds, while suffering a constant in-out flow of people buying and dropping off, were tightly lined up and categorized. Several trucks—and thousands of pounds of donations—came and went, unloaded by the Neumont team, items put in their proper places or discarded if necessary.”
Krists added, “I was surprised by the level of need in the community. Prior to this project, I didn’t really understand what ReStore did. However in the short time we were there, I saw several people purchasing furniture, cabinets, insulation, paint and other home supplies that it hadn’t occurred to me were often out of reach for people. It’s always nice to have an opportunity to give back to the community,” she added, “especially at an organization that does so much good in our area.”
And Matt may have summed up the entire experience best in four words: “We made a difference.”