“As soon as we learned the ReStore was coming in, we knew this was something we wanted to do,” said Elizabeth Miller, coordinator of community engagement for William & Mary. “Since then, I don’t think we’ve done a big service or group program where we haven’t done something with the ReStore—it came out of an existing relationship that just blossomed.”
With only three paid employees, a diverse group of volunteers is both the ReStore’s lifeblood and a cross-section of the Williamsburg community: William & Mary students join dedicated retirees as well as members of civic groups, the military and local businesses in routinely devoting their time and energy to Habitat’s mission.
“Every time I’ve sent a group, it’s always such a positive experience,” Miller said. “That’s what’s been great for me—we want students to come to a place where they’re learning about community issues but also feeling like they’re involved in the community. I think that’s one of the things that happen when they come here because they’re meeting other William & Mary groups, but they’re also meeting other community members. That’s the really cool thing: they’re getting conversations and learning about everyone who comes here because it’s such a diverse draw for volunteers and people who shop here.”
The ReStore staff tries to encourage these meaningful connections between William & Mary students and the community in which they live.