True Value Donation 2020

In February 2020, months of hard work paid off. True Value Hardware stores, convention logistics company GES, and the ReStore coordinated a five-day, 200-volunteer event that saw 13 trailers of materials from 100 vendors donated to the ReStores. With the funds raised from the event, New Orleans Habitat expects to be able to build two homes for hard-working local families.

At the True Value Spring Reunion convention, vendors and True Value store operators, managers, and owners come together each year; the convention is an opportunity for vendors to make new connections, sell new products, or renew old ones. After the convention, vendors who were given the option to donate their goods to Habitat. Because it saves them money on shipping or elimination fees, most vendors are happy to make the donation. But for many vendors, it’s also about giving back.

“We’ve supported of Habitat for Humanity for years,” said Pat Tinker of Panacea Products. “When I talk to people who go to the ReStore, it’s a good feeling to say, ‘you know what? I donated that.'”

In New Orleans, the cost of housing can take up more than half a family’s paycheck. By supporting Habitat, vendors also help address the need for affordable housing.

Fred, Freud Tools and Diablo Blades: “We recognize that housing prices, they’re not going down,” said Fred Skoba of Freud Tools and Diablo Blades. “The need for Habitat to be able to support folks and give them the opportunity to have a lifetime home, we’re proud to be partnered with that.”

His colleague Bill Baumann added, “Habitat just does great work, right in line with what we do. They build homes. Our slogan is ‘We’re not only good for the worker, we’re good for the world.’ Our tools help bring workers home safe.”

“We always look for opportunities to donate product that we bring to these shows,” said vendor Stephanie Cates with Rescue Pest Control. “It’s great to have Habitat here. We support their mission, and we’re happy to have our products benefit the organization.”

The products donated are being sold in both ReStore locations. In order to process the 13 trailers of materials, Habitat turned to long-time volunteers for support. They got a sneak peak of what would be on the shelves.

“It feels like a giant shopping spree,” said Andrew Howell from Tulane Medical School. Rishawn Dindial, another med student, added, “It’s been good so far. We can see all the products that are going to the store. There’s so many good products here. It’s a lot of good for a lot of people.”

The medical school volunteers multiple times every year. Volunteering on the build site is so popular among them that there’s a wait list. Some students took the opportunity to volunteer at True Value instead of waiting for the opportunity to build.

“We’re busy with school,” said Mitchell Ta. “We don’t get to see a lot of New Orleans. We didn’t even know the convention center hosted these kinds of events. It’s a great way to help the community and take a break from all classes. It’s good to be able to do something with your hands.”

The purpose of the work, though, was always on their minds.

“It’s cool doing this because you get to understand how this helps fund building more homes,” said Tulane team leader Joshua Dickerson. “It’s the work that needs to be done beforehand, and that’s the ultimate goal: building more homes.”