BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore on Amherst Street is back open after being closed for 13 months due to the pandemic.
The store- which sells donated building materials, furniture, home goods and appliances at discounted rates- served as space to quarantine and sanitize items for the other ReStore location on South Park Avenue.
The store at 501 Amherst St. reopened on May 4.
“We had people waiting outside the day we reopened,” said Stephanie Lawson, director of development and communications for Habitat Buffalo, said. “We really are an asset to the community- neighbors know they can come here to buy affordable building materials to rebuild their homes, and when you think of all the costs of things that have gone up this year, the community really relies on the ReStore.”
The ReStore is one of the ways Habitat Buffalo funds house build projects.
“Each year, the revenue from the ReStore generates funds for about three houses,” Lawson added. “We really count on this program.”
With the price of lumber and other building materials up nationwide due to issues caused by the pandemic, that money is more important than ever.
During the first months of the pandemic, the Habitat Buffalo program was closed to volunteers- from March to July 2020. That’s the first time in 35 years that Habitat Buffalo has run the program without volunteers, Lawson said.
Habitat Buffalo staff was still able to move six families into new houses during that time.
“What people don’t realize is, when you’re told to stay home and quarantine, for some families that really is a nightmare,” Lawson said. “They’re living in crowded conditions, mold, lead.”
Now that the program is up and running, there’s a log jam of families waiting, eager to finish their sweat equity hours and purchase their homes through Habitat.
“We can’t do that unless we have people come out and volunteer with us again,” Lawson added.
You can click here to learn about volunteer opportunities with Habitat for Humanity Buffalo. You can also volunteer to work at the ReStore, or make a donation.
“If you’re spring cleaning, give us a call- we’re eager to accept those donated items,” Lawson said. “If you can drop it off, that’s great, and if it’s a bigger item we’ll come pick it up for free.”
Kaley Lynch is a digital reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 2017. See more of her work here.