“I really believe in our mission and that’s why I stay,” said Alicia Weagel, ReStore Associate at the Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity New Brighton ReStore.
Alicia graduated from the University of Minnesota Duluth in 2009 with a Bachelor’s degree in Fine arts and Art History. Alicia started this journey of volunteering with Habitat back in 2009 when she was an AmeriCorps member: “I had a friend who had done AmeriCorps and I wanted to do a year of service after school.” Alicia saw that the ReStore was an option through AmeriCorps, “I absolutely love thrift. That opportunity really spoke to me.”
That year of service turned into years of helping ReStores throughout Minnesota get on their feet. Alicia trained in Brainerd for two years, then did a year of service through A Brush With Kindness program. Her years of service focused on what support the Minnesota ReStore’s needed in order to have a well running store. Alicia began working for the New Brighton store in 2013.
“I didn’t see myself staying this long— A Brush With Kindness was such a natural fit, and the ReStore is great blend of my skill sets,” said Alicia. Her love for thrift, art, and working with others are just a few reasons she enjoys the ReStore.
If you've been to either of the ReStore locations, Minneapolis or New Brighton, you know they have the ability to get extremely busy. With that in mind, Alicia has to have a "game plan" going into the day: "I look around the store and see where the problems are; what needs to be fixed or moved?" Then she focuses on who will be the support staff, ReStore volunteers, during that day: "What if we have no volunteers? What if we have a ton? I have to base our projects off how many helpers we have. Then we focus on donations, the register, or putting items back together."
The ReStore is ran mainly by those who are volunteering their time. Some volunteers may be AmeriCorps alumni, student interns, Habitat Homebuyers, or community members. Volunteers are critical for making the stores operate. "What I really appreciate about folks who I've met at the ReStores is the ability for them to see that their impacting a local family and helping build homes by simply keeping the sales floor clean."
Volunteering at the ReStore is a great option for those who want to support Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity, but might feel uncomfortable on a build site. "That's what we are here for! We are another outlet for people."
Alicia is extremely thankful for all the people who take time out of their lives to spend helping at the ReStore, supporting Habitat and it's mission.
"The ReStore is a better place because Alicia's part of it," said Jill Carmody, ReStore Manager. "I have known Alicia for three years and she continues to impress me every day. She is kind, considerate, and welcoming to our volunteers, customers, and donors. She always ensures that each volunteer is engaged with the ReStore and the Habitat mission, plus she makes it fun for them!"
Alicia understands that the ReStore can be overwhelming, and this is her advice to interested shoppers: "Come prepared! Take pictures and take measurements, and of course we will be here to give you assistance. If you don't know what you're looking for — just come say hi!"
Thank you, Alicia, for your years of service, kindness, and upbeat attitude.