In 2015, members of the Ontario ARC Pathways program began volunteering for Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore location in Canandaigua, which celebrated its 5th anniversary in December. That partnership has blossomed into a synergy between Pathways and Habitat for Humanity, one that reaches out to fulfill needs in the community.
Individuals in the program gain prevocational skills by spending two days a week at the nonprofit home improvement store cleaning donated items, moving merchandise, and keeping the shop tidy. They have also built relationships at ReStore. “It’s been a really wonderful partnership with Ontario ARC,” says Dale Reed, ReStore manager. “They do great work while they are here, and we enjoy their camaraderie.”
ReStore in turn has donated mason jars, wine bottles, and lampshades to Pathways for their handmade items initiative. Participants turned those donations into repurposed products—centerpieces, lamps, and scented jars—that were sold to make purchases for donations to a number of causes, including diapers for a local charity, and Adopt-A-Platoon care packages.
An opportunity to bring these meaningful activities full circle presented itself during last year’s Geneva Habitat build. Pathways participants purchased supplies to cater lunch, then delivered the meal to the volunteer homebuilders. “It is a very reciprocal relationship,” says Nash Bock, Executive Director of Habitat for Humanity of Ontario County. “They got to see the full picture of the work they do at ReStore and how those items for sale benefit the Habitat houses being built in Ontario County. That aspect of sharing benefits everyone, and we are happy to be a part of it.”