Bob Prentiss has been helping Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity for decades. When he ran his own firm of investment advisors, he volunteered as a fundraiser.
"I was involved in planning campaigns, and talking to individuals, and sending out thank you notes. You know, inviting people to various fundraising activities," he explains. "I've always supported their mission of providing housing for people who really need it, and also the concept that people have some stake in providing that housing. Habitat home buyers need to work 200 hours, either on the house themselves, or on other habitat activities."
Volunteering after Retiring
After he retired, Bob wanted to do even more to help. "I tried working on a building site," he laughs, "but the supervisor kept saying 'don't let that guy touch any machinery.' So I thought maybe working at the ReStore would be more fun."
In fact, it's been a perfect fit. He's become a regular at the Twin Cities Habitat ReStore in New Brighton, putting out products on the sales floor, assisting customers, and organizing different sections of the store as needed.
"I appreciate that he is someone we can count on to be here, he knows what he is doing, and he is able to self-direct throughout his shift," says ReStore Manager Jill Carmody.
"Like a lot of guys, I've always thought going to the hardware store was the coolest place to shop," Bob says.
Value of Regular Volunteers
Regulars like Bob are essential to our operation. There are a lot of different things happening all at the same time – receiving donations, running the register, helping customers, and pricing merchandise – and the volunteers help us do it all smoothly and efficiently.
"Having volunteers like Bob that understand the work that needs to be done and how to do it helps the store maximize revenue for Habitat for Humanity," Jill says.
For his part, Bob enjoys the work and says the flexible schedule is ideal for his retirement lifestyle.
Enjoying the Flexible Schedule
"Sometimes I might work two or three half-days in a week, but sometimes when I'm really busy, I won't work at all," he says. "If I have the opportunity to go in, that's great, but if something comes up with the grandchildren or something else, I'm not required to go in."
Asked if he would recommend working at the ReStore to other retirees, Bob said he already does – both for shopping and volunteering.
"I have a number of friends that come in here to shop. You never know what you'll find here. And I've encouraged one to two to come in and volunteer here," he says. "I certainly enjoy doing that."