All posts by Habitat for Humanity

Habitat WDG ReStores Now Feature Donation Bins

Habitat for Humanity Wellington Dufferin Guelph donation bins sit in front of the Guelph ReStore
Habitat WDG donation bins in from of the Guelph ReStore

ReStores now bringing in additional service to the Wellington, Dufferin, and Guelph communities

Guelph, Wellington County, and Dufferin, ON — If you haven’t been to a Habitat for Humanity Wellington Dufferin Guelph ReStore lately, now is the time to see what’s new. While it’s always a good idea to stop in often and find the hidden treasures before they’re gone, there is one new permanent addition that will be there whenever you visit…donation bins!

The installation of bins at the Guelph, Fergus and Orangeville ReStores came about because the community spoke and they listened!  certain items were not previously accepted under the ReStore model, but they recognized that this needed to change. The community wanted a ‘one-stop-shop’ for donating, and that’s what Habitat WDG created.  Director of Retail Operations, Tanja Zoric, explored available options that would allow ReStores to accept a greater array of donations and thus increase the donor experience as well as the ReStore revenues which ultimately help put more families in homes. Habitat ReStores accept donations of new and gently used items that are sold to raise money to support the vision of a world where everyone has a decent and affordable place to live. The ReStore provides an affordable avenue for improvement projects while keeping tons of perfectly good items from ending up in landfills.

“Nobody wants to turn away donations, especially when we are turning those donations into affordable housing”, says Zoric. “People come to our ReStores with the intention of supporting the community and helping to reduce waste – so it’s our job to make that as easy as possible for them. We want to be every donor’s first choice!”.

The Guelph and Orangeville ReStores have two bins each, located  just in front of the store. The Fergus ReStore has one bin located inside the rear donation drop off door.

These safe and easy to spot metal bins mean visitors to the ReStore can not only donate furniture, lighting, plumbing and other ReStore staples, they can also contribute items such as clothing, shoes, bedding, toys, books, jewelry, kitchenware, drapery – and even purses.

Customers are happy that they can do one-stop donations and no longer have to visit multiple donation sites

Deb Stanson, Fergus ReStore Manager.

The bins, secured in partnership with Recycling Rewards, come with multiple benefits.

In 2017 alone, the Recycling Rewards program helped divert approximately 20 million pounds of textiles from landfills. The bins can also help to increase foot traffic to ReStores and create a new donor stream – while optimizing the donor experience for existing supporters.


Our customers are happy that the donation bins now mean we can accept small household items, dishes, linens, clothing and even books. These were things that we previously did not accept. Now we can offer our community a truly complete donation centre, and that allows Habitat to be the first thought on a person’s mind when clearing out items that may not be useful to them anymore, but still useful for others.”

Vanessa Ward, Orangeville ReStore Manager

About Habitat for Humanity Wellington Dufferin Guelph

Founded in 2000, Habitat for Humanity Wellington Dufferin Guelph (Habitat WDG) is a non-profit organization working towards a world where everyone has a safe and decent place to live. Our mission is to mobilize volunteers and community partners in building affordable housing and promoting home ownership as a means to breaking the cycle of poverty.

DIY tips to make what’s old new again

picHome décor stores have great items in vivid colours and interesting shapes, but that unique custom-made look often comes with a hefty price tag. Fortunately, Habitat for Humanity’s ReStores sell new and gently used home décor, furnishings, and building supplies at a fraction of the retail costs.

Don’t settle for drab instead of fab. Save hundreds of dollars on a new or gently used piece of accent furniture by repurposing them with some paint, a healthy sense of adventure, and these easy-to-follow tips.

  1. Consider the piece, not colour: If you’re checking out old furniture that’s collecting dust in your basement, keep an eye out for shapes that would work for you. Changing the colour of an end table is easy, but you can’t change its bones.
  2. Get out that sandpaper: If you want to paint anything that’s wood, always lightly sand it first. This allows the paint to stick better to that vintage chair or table.
  3. A little detail goes a long way: Making small changes, like replacing doorknobs, can instantly freshen up any item. Get as funky as you want for just a few dollars by checking out Habitat’s ReStores, garage sales, and vintage shops for one-of-a-kind finds.
  4. Think outside the box (and your own stuff): Don’t have something you can transform? Consider picking up a new-to you vintage treasure that may not need as much work as that dresser you’ve had since elementary school.

Giving Tuesday

GivingChangesEverythingYou’ve heard of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, but now there is Giving Tuesday. Giving Tuesday is a day where charities, businesses, and individuals come together to celebrate giving. On Tuesday, December 1st, how will you take part?

Our #Giving4Habitat initiative for Giving Tuesday has a goal to raise $18,000 to support a build & create a pass it 4-ward movement! From November 17th through Giving Tuesday and until December 7th, give the gift that keeps #Giving4Habitat! DONATE ONLINE BY CLICKING HERE or tell a friend to pass it 4-ward! Online donations will receive a tax receipt issued to them through email within 24 hours via Canada Helps. TIP: INTERACT will match up to $25 of your donation if paying online with INTERACT on December 1st!

Countdown until Giving Tuesday:

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Brown Family

Amanda was a single parent, living in a “housing project” with her three sons when she was encouraged by some friends at Shelldale to apply to Habitat for Humanity Wellington Dufferin Guelph. “I was pretty desperate at that time”, remarks Amanda, “because the home was in pretty poor condition with no back yard and it wasn’t a nice place to bring up my sons.”

As a single mother bringing up three sons in ages ranging from 9 to 1, Amanda was not employed and had to be on family assistance. She quickly found full time employment and got herself out of debt. She was then approved as a partner family.“Habitat for Humanity gave me the chance to become an affordable homeowner”, says Amanda with a very large, effervescent smile on her face. “My mortgage payments were geared to my household income which, combined with a lovely home built with the support of Habitat’s volunteer network, I felt my life was turning around!”

Amanda Brown Boys
The 3 youngest boys and their dogs in 2014. The oldest son, shown here, is now 20 and off to college!

Immediately after moving into their new Habitat home, Amanda set up chore charts for her children who all seemed so much more content and proud of their new environment. According to Amanda, “we trusted our new neighbourhood, I let the boys go to the park and ride bikes near our home. Amanda goes on to say, “they began having friends over to play in the back yard and over a period of several years, we have rescued three dogs that have become so much a part of our family.”

Fast track a few years and our Habitat for Humanity homeowner and her new partner have two children, a son and daughter, to add to the family. Amanda is now attending school for computer sciences as well as volunteering. Her eldest son, now 20 is off to College while the other four are still at home. Her sons are so respectful and courteous – such a delight!

Amanda is using her skills and experiences as a Habitat homeowner to deliver workshops for Two Rivers Neighbourhood Group entitled Living Within your Means. Her courses revolve around topics like making a budget, shopping “smart”, following discounts, and price checking. She also helps with planning healthy and affordable menus and the importance of exercise for a positive life experience.

Amanda concludes, “I would never have been able to achieve my goals so far without the support from Habitat for Humanity – I have wonderful visions of the future for myself and my family.”

Gray Family

As you walk into the home of Mary and Gary Gray, our first Habitat Partner family, you have the immediate feeling of warmth, happiness and true “family”. We wanted to share this amazing story of their journey with Habitat and the extraordinary changes and opportunities that presented themselves after becoming Habitat for Humanity affordable homeowners.

It was in 1994 when Mary saw a Habitat brochure at a local bank, calling out for volunteers. Mary was an RN by profession but at that time was taking care of her nine children. Gary who had spent years in accounting made the move into the trucking industry and was a truck driver. They were renting a very small semi-detached with certainly not enough bedrooms to accommodate their family. The older boys, Gary Jr, Michael, David, and Daniel along with James shared a room. Lisa and Krista shared a room and Mary and Gary had John and Pearl, who were in cribs at the time, with them in the 3rd bedroom.
According to Gary, “we are a very close family and the thought of moving into a Habitat home meant we would have more room for our family to live fruitful lives.”Gary also said “at that time, rents were constantly increasing and we were never able to stay in one home long enough to let us become part of a community”.

2_gray family 1994_home dedication
The Gray family at their home dedication ceremony in 1994

After reading the brochure from the bank, Mary immediately contacted Habitat to volunteer and during the course of her interview, the volunteers meeting with her suggested she would be a strong candidate to become a Habitat partner family. And so this inspirational story begins.

Because Mary and Gary’s mortgage payments were calculated to make living “affordable”, the children had opportunities they could have never imagined. Gary Jr is an A-1 Mechanic, Michael is an Environmental Scientist, and David is a Health and Safety Specialist – all three now reside in Alberta. Daniel is a Landscape Architect currently working in Hamilton. The younger siblings (there are 20 years between Pearl and Gary Jr) have also done very well for themselves; James is an Electrical Engineer, Lisa is a stay-at-home mom (with two young children) and a budding artist, while Krista, an RN and her husband own their own business. John, who has Down Syndrome is currently working at Arc Industries and Torchlight Industries. John takes the bus to work everyday! Their youngest, Pearl, is attending Conestoga College. And “la piece de resistance”, Mary and Gary paid off their mortgage in 2008!

This happy family has fond memories and respect for Habitat for Humanity and they used the “hand up” they received to take their lives to the highest levels. Mary and Gary are proud of their nine children and twelve grandchildren.

April Volunteer Spotlight

Jan Muir

Jan Muir
Jan Muir

As a retired school principal, Jan Muir has witnessed first-hand the importance of safe and affordable housing. “Housing security is a big  issue, but programs like Habitat for  Humanity are a big help” remarks Muir. “Working with children and families on a daily basis, you really do see the merit in homeownership.” Muir began volunteering with Habitat during the 2012 Centre Wellington build and has been a great advocate for us ever since as a member of the Speakers Bureau. A natural public speaker, Muir has been wonderful in sharing Habitat’s message within the community. You may have seen Muir at the 2013 Home Depot Paper Hammer event flipping burgers, at World of Hot Tubs promoting the 2013 Ultimate Habitat House Party, or even leading volunteer training sessions. “Volunteering with Habitat is rewarding, has great variety,  and gives volunteers an opportunity to learn and grow in a fun environment” says Muir. Forever the advocate of youth volunteerism Muir adds, “It’s also the perfect opportunity for youth to be exposed to career paths they may have never considered.”

March Volunteer Spotlight

Jim Hoare

Jim Hoare
Jim hard at work on a build site

Jim Hoare is one of our regular build volunteers who received a volunteer award for our 2012 Women Build. He re-joined our build team when we started our 2013 build on 297 Paisley Road in Guelph and quickly began building up a lot of hours on the site. He would regularly come in and help us out when we asked him to and took on the responsibility of ‘Crew Lead’ on our build site. First-time volunteers loved him because of his patience and his abilities as a teacher. He quickly became a site favourite. Jim’s passion for Habitat could not be any brighter. We are so thankful to have him as part of our team and he has been instrumental to Habitat WDG’s successes in 2013.

Samuel & Laila

Samuel and Laila along with their three sons will soon become Habitat for Humanity homeowners. Samuel works two jobs and makes time to volunteer at least 500 hours helping to build his family’s future home. “Our family thanks God that He sent us to Habitat for Humanity. As head of my family, I know that without this wonderful organization, I would never have a chance to change our lives and become a homeowner.” Samuel and his family have lived in a cramped apartment for several years since moving to Canada. Their apartment is not only in need of repair, but is also not a place for their children to be children! They cannot play in their apartment because the neighbours complain about noise and more importantly, Samuel and his family no longer feel safe in their surroundings. “Habitat has given us hope for a happy and safe future.”

Nagash Family

Nani has recently moved into her Habitat for Humanity home with her two sons, Philip, who is 15 and Nati, 12. Before becoming a Habitat for Humanity homeowner, all three lived in a small apartment quite a distance from the boy’s school. “We lived in a cramped apartment where there was no space- especially for my boys who love sports, but rarely had a chance to play them with their friends.” Living in a Habitat home has changed their lives and in Philip’s words, “Since our move, my brother and I feel happier and more confident about ourselves. We are so proud to invite our friends over to our home now and even play basketball right outside our house- we never had that opportunity before.” And brother Nati agrees, “Thank you Habitat for Humanity for helping to make our lives better.”

Jackson Family

A lot has changed since we moved in to our home in 2002. When we first move in, Austin was 6, Brandon was 3, and Liam had not yet celebrated his first birth-day. There is a lot more to our home than cement and lumber, this experience built in us a hope for a brighter future. Our home has provided stability for us. We had moved several times trying to find a place that would accommodate the size of our family and our financial circumstances. Owning a home was an answer to prayer for our family.

Not long after we moved in I found new hope in other dreams I had long forgotten or just given up on. When the boys were all in school full time I decided to pursue post secondary education. In the spring of 2008, I graduated from Business College with an Honours diploma in Microcomputer Software Support. I am currently on contract with the Centre Wellington Chamber of Commerce as an Administrative Office Assistant. I am grateful that we have been blessed with the opportunity to build our home. It’s been almost 7 years since our home was built. Home ownership has played a significant role in the growth of my self-confidence and self worth, and I strive to instill those qualities in my boys.

Carla Jackson