Posts Tagged volunteers

Thank YOU volunteers of 2015!

volunteers 2015 collage

We couldn’t do what we do without the help of volunteers, and 2015 was no exception. In fact, we had more volunteer hours this year than ever before:

Total combined volunteer hours for The RE Store:  203 participants with a total of 4833.87 hours
Breakdown: 78 volunteer participants with 1304.23 hours
113 community service participants with 2121.83 hours
12 trainees with 1407.81 hours

And 89 volunteers for RE Sources events totally 445 hours bringing the grand total to 292 people and 5278.87 hours of people helping us with everything from store displays and salvage services to outreach and events. Thank YOU volunteers!! And a very special shout out to the man with a special gift and commitment to this program, our Volunteer Manager, Ben Lewis.

Considering volunteering with us in 2016? More information can be found on our website here.

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Volunteers of 2014 – We Couldn’t Have Done it Without You!

“When I started in this position a little over a year ago, I just hoped that we could help people in our community in some way. I was confident that we would be able to educate our trainees with skill-building, but realized over time we’d also be helping them become advocates for our environment, too. What I also recognized along the way is that our environment is not just the rivers, lakes, and oceans – it is the people as well.”
– Ben Lewis – Volunteer & Jobs Training Manager, The RE Store

Our Volunteer & Jobs Training Manager, Ben Lewis, with two of our valuable 2014 trainees – Frank (left) and Carlos (right)

One of the things we’re most proud of here at The RE Store from 2014 is our growing Jobs Training program, providing skills, confidence, and a future for so many individuals.

In 2014 we had:

 10 Trainees who worked a total of 1210 hours.

 91 Volunteers who worked a total of 1512 hours.

 and 123 Community Service Volunteers who worked a total of 2409 hours!

As they’ve gained a broad range of skills – everything from general store organizational tasks and proper use of tools, to building repurposed items for our RE Vision Division – they’ve also enjoyed the bonus of giving back to our broader community. Thank you to each and every one of those trainees and volunteers we’ve had in the store this past year!  We couldn’t have done it without you.

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Volunteers Re-purpose in the RE Patch

Beth Linkinholder is our volunteer RE Patch Coordinator this year, (for those not in the know, the RE Patch is our working garden out behind the warehouse of our Bellingham store). Beth has been a wonderful addition to our RE-team – at first glance of our RE Patch  she noticed that our two monstrous compost piles needed to be processed and rebuilt. She took it on herself to recruit Five Whatcom Community College environmental science students that needed community service for their class requirements and two of her personal friends to come and take on this project.  They re-purposed wooden pallets to create the new-to-us compost bin (in photos below).  We wish we had some ‘before’ photos to show just how much this was needed – but suffice it to say, we are excited for the new order in the RE Patch. Beth will be planning other RE Patch gardening work parties throughout the summer – contact our volunteer coordinator, Ben Lewis, if you are interested in joining in on the FUN!

RE Patch compost bin RE Do

Thanks so much to the compost bin volunteer team: Jeff Hill, Jewell Hamilton, Rosa Posas, Sarah Bock, Micah Evangelista, and John & Stacy Crampton

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Many Thanks to the Volunteers of Fall 2013!

The RE Store couldn’t do as much as it does without the help of volunteers and students.  We’ve had an especially good crop this fall at our Bellingham store and wanted to take a moment during this holiday season to highlight a few we are thankful for:

sally and susan

Sally Hileman and Susan Marshall (above) are regulars at the Fountain (restaurant across the street) and after sitting and sharing some coffee looking out towards our building they decided that our landscaping could use a face lift, which they swiftly volunteered to do.  These ladies were a ton of fun to have around, and plan on coming back this spring to continue to maintain and add to the flower beds.

professional communications students

The students of Professor Diane Blietz-Hertberg’s Professional Communications 318 class were tasked with studying our communications within the workplace.  This project included a report about our internal communications, a Safe Lifting Techniques report, and creating a bathroom vignette window display for us.  Students involved in the project: Ali El-husseini, Samantha Stahle, Jennifer Conn, and Chad Spady.

 Jenrri and Greg

Jenrri Hough (above left) is a long-term volunteer that has been awesome helping with many things around the store, and Greg George (above, right) has been our much appreciated paint guru of late.

Thank you so much to these volunteers and students, as well as the countless others not named here but just as important, that have helped us in 2013 in both Bellingham and Seattle!  For volunteer opportunities, contact our stores here.

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Finding the Love of a New (Salvaged) Toilet – A Volunteer’s Story

Lately, I may have been judging my toilet too harshly. At this point, we’re barely even speaking.  But I’m upside-down in my bathroom once again, and it’s literally staring me in the face. My bathroom’s too small; I can’t escape it. I’m trying to not think about it, but there it is again:

My toilet is a ticking time bomb. That thing has got to go.

I finish blow-drying my hair upside-down and set myself right-side up again. Once I’ve broken eye contact, if I’m really honest about it, I’ll admit it: My old toilet’s probably … perfectly fine. It’s adequate for its purposes; everything works, and, although I have no real way to know for sure, it likely does the job just as well as any other average toilet. In fact, it’s probably a little better than average. My bathroom’s done in yellow tile with one thin, pale blue stripe of tile running around the room at about shoulder height. And there, running around the top of the toilet tank, is an almost perfectly matching, thin, pale blue stripe. I mean, whoever installed the toilet went out of their way to make sure it matched. Nice! I’m someone who appreciates attention to detail, but if it were me, I’m not sure I would have gone to the trouble. If I were a little more generous some mornings, I’d at least give my toilet extra points for style.

But then, as I was volunteering down at The RE Store the other day, I saw it: my dream toilet. And unlike the last time I saw it glittering under the hot lights of a showroom floor, it’s at a price I’d actually be willing to pay for something I spend so little time with. And as an added bonus, it’s salvaged, which is one of my favorite things. Unfortunately, the very fact of its existence has begun to make me uncharacteristically discontent. As a result, every time I’m alone in the bathroom, looking at that thin, pale blue stripe through a curtain of damp hair as I move the blow-dryer around, I’m just a little … unaccountably … suspicious.

photo (1)

The object of Christine’s affection – American Standard Hatbox Toilet at The RE Store: $100.

 

Let me be perfectly clear: I’m not one of those people who buys things for no good reason. Every time I read a magazine article that tells you to replace your fill-in-the-blank with an environmentally sustainable fill-in-the-blank, I automatically edit the sentence in my head to say, “When your fill-in-the-blank is no longer even vaguely useful, not even as a planter (or a coat rack, door prop, garden ornament, etc.), consider replacing it with an environmentally sustainable fill-in-the-blank.”

But then, every morning it’s the same thing: I’m upside-down in my bathroom, blow-drying my hair, and I start to notice things about my toilet that no one should ever be close enough to their toilet to notice. There’s a faint stain on one of the bolts holding it to the floor that just might be the beginning of rust. Is that rivulet of moisture running down the side of it the beginning of a leak, or is that just general moisture from the shower? Is that a hairline fracture starting along the base? I squint at it, swirling my hair out of the way with the blow dryer. Uh, no. It’s just a … well, never mind.

The point is, I’m trying to not let some fancy toilet sway me from my staunch conviction to not consume needlessly. But some mornings, based on whatever imaginary flaw I’m sure I’ve just spotted on my perfectly innocent toilet, I’m filled with less conviction than others. I’m kind of hoping someone will restore my relationship with my tried-and-true by snatching up my dream toilet at The RE Store, so the next time I’m upside-down in my bathroom, my toilet and I will be on speaking terms again.

Come see what might become your object of affection at the stores this week!  Special thanks to Christine Clifton-Thornton for authoring this article.

Posted in: Stories about people, Stories about stuff

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2013 Trash Fashion Show at WWU

5 Trash Fashion Designs on the runwayQuestion: What do you get when you mix a bunch of junk with Western Washington University Industrial Design program students, professional event production staff from the College of Fine & Performing Arts? Answer: The 2013 Trash Fashion Show at W.W.U..

View our photos from the trash fashion show with behind-the-scenes dressing room shots as well on Flickr.

Trash Fashion designs: Black and White Swan

Designs included gowns and bodices made from discarded rubber, plastic, paper and metal materials. Bicycle and computer parts, electrical conduit, and old VCR tape were turned into skirts, pants. Caution tape and vinyl upholstery became haute couture. All of these designs were created in two short weeks as an assignment from Arunas Oslapas. Arunas is the lead faculty member of W.W.U.’s Industrial Design program and  long-time proponent of reclaimed materials .

Trash fashion design - Analog by Jolee Nebert He has been assigning trash fashion design projects to his students since 2010. Those designs have been strutted on the fashion runway as a part of The RE Store’s Trash Fashion Show in 2010 and 2011. Arunas continues to innovate with reused materials. He is taking a sabbatical from teaching this spring to work with a Mexican village on developing products with reclaimed materials, designed by his students. We hope to get more of the story.

We applaud WWU’s efforts to carry the torch of the Trash Fashion Show. The RE Store partnered on the event for many years, with Robin Worley, Ballard’s New York Fashion Academy, WWU and others until our final curtain in 2011. But the show has gone on, coordinated by Arunas and event production master Courtney Hiatt, the Marketing and Special Projects Manager for W.W.U.’s College of Fine and Performing Arts.

Trash Fashions - Aluminum Fox and the Hipster

Posted in: Recycled art and trash fashion, Stories about people, Stories about stuff

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Where Do You Wear a Chair?

Allied Arts Gallery - pieces by Luci Lytle and Jim DixonQ: What do art galleries, beach cleanups and salvaged materials have in common?
A: The RE Store’s 12th Annual Recycled Arts Show opening weekend

The Recycled Art Program has been showcasing creative works made from used materials since its early days in the late 1990’s, with partners over the years that have included: Whatcom Museum, Allied Arts of Whatcom County, Blowing Sands Gallery, Haute Trash, New York Fashion Academy, the Museum of Northwest Art, Habitude and many others.

Eberhard wears a chair at te gallery openingThe weekend of April 5th and 6th kicked off the annual exhibition of art made from reclaimed and scrounged media. Downtown Gallery Walk in Bellingham on Friday night debuted the Allied Arts gallery, which was packed for most of the evening. Live music and a spread of hors d’oeuvres were provided by the good folks at Allied Arts. Artists, designers and appreciators mingled amongst the artwork and The RE Store’s own Eberhard Eichner walked around wearing a chair with some hilarious puppet legs, scaling down his normal 6’3″ stature.

Two pieces had interactive elements. Bill Englander’s electrical spark gap Jacobs Ladder with the big red button that sent an arc of electricity up between the two rods. Check out this previous blog post about Bill’s hands-on electrical gadgets. Big Daddy Grungeness by Jim Dixon is a wall-hung crab whose legs and claws do a fun shimmy when you yank on the counterweighted reclaimed rope.

Art Hyatt's piece titled Buchenwald LaceOne potent piece, Buchenwald Lace by Art Hyatt, was a wall-hung set of curtains made from rust-eaten corrugated metal roofing. The piece with its fabric-like folds referenced one of Nazi Germany’s first and largest concentration camps. Art shared that he had debated with himself quite heavily about whether or not to use barbed wire as the curtain ties, but opted for a less intense representation.

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Allied Arts Gallery Opening 01

Self-illuminated pieces by one of Bellingham’s well-known lighting whizzes, Alana Coleman showed up at both of the Bellingham galleries, including these two pieces. Special thanks goes out to all of the participating artists and designers. Other pieces of note include:

  • a pair of custom-built ice-climbing tools made from bike parts, reclaimed carbon fiber  and other random bits by William Bradley
  • a bodice and skirt made from maps and computer parts titled “Analog” by Jolee Nebert
  • two larger than life-sized sculptures of semi-human looking creatures by Eberhard Eichner and Jason Brown
  • light sconces made from drill bodies and old lp records by Graham Schodda who gets special kudos for helping hang The RE Store’s gallery in Bellingham

 

 

Posted in: Recycled art and trash fashion, Stories about people, Stories about stuff, Things you never knew about The RE Store, You can do it yourself

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Thanks to Our MLK Day of Service Volunteers!

collage

This MLK Day of Service we hosted 23 volunteers from two Washington Conservation Corp groups – the King County and the Evinger crews – and the UW’s Young Democrats.  They were an enthusiastic bunch that helped build walls and create a display area for cabinet sets, so that the product can be seen better; worked on the first phase of a vertical pallet garden for an area of our back lot that needed some sprucing up; and painted 58 new signs, so that we can have consistent way-finding throughout the store.  The work that these 23 folks did equaled 184 work hours, which would have taken our staff just over a week of non-open time to achieve – so we are truly thankful and happy to get some of these much needed projects closer to complete.  Thanks so much to these groups for their MLK Day of service – and to United Way for helping us connect with a great group of volunteers!

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Reclaimed Materials Testing, Dog Picnics and City Park Approval

85% correct
Mad scientist reuse master, Eberhard Eichner, has conducted secret tests on reclaimed materials. In the REvision Division’s lead-shielded underground testing facility, a chunk of reclaimed bleacher board with masonite veneer sat in a bucket of water for over 4 weeks. The mad scientist’s disfigured assistant occasionally took it out to bake it in the oven or place it in the freezer. The piece showed some obvious distress, but the masonite held on strongly and no splinters showed in the butt end.
[Note: Of the previous statements, 85 percent of the information is correct.]

It takes a village

Dog Park Bench and members of Grateful Dogs Off Lease Association

The materials testing was done as research for a public facility picnic bench, built by The RE Store’s REvision Division. Returning customers, Wolfgang & Angelika Schlager, got together with their pet owner club, Grateful Dogs Off Leash Association, to raise funds for a picnic table. The table was to be placed not in a private backyard, but as a communal gathering and resting place in the off-leash dog area for the small dogs section at Lake Padden Park in Bellingham. The group educating people to be responsible pet owners, providing waste bags at Lake Padden, Bloedel-Donovan, and Post Point parks.

To have it built, the dog-running neighbors collected the money to fund the bench through donations at pie socials, cookie bakes and such. Finally the table was done. The masonite faced solid fir bleacher board was used for the seats and underpinning with some gorgeous slabs of Local Source Forest Products cedar for the top. All got braced, screwed and double screwed, bolted, sealed, oiled and otherwise built to last. The table was hauled off by the Schlagers with confidence.

Its official

Dog Park Bench with canines

Two days later Eberhard received a call. One cannot just place a picnic table into a city park!  A parks and recreation department official had to inspect the item to not be some rinky-dinky, wobbly, fly-by-night affair.  Upon inspection by the proper authorities, it was found to be sound by the official from Bellingham City Parks and Recreation. “This thing will last you guys a long time,” was the quote. This is as official of a city approval as the unsuspecting dog owners were ever hoping for.

Dog pros and cons
The dogs had something to say as well. Raci, the Schlager’s Saint Bernard said (rough translation), “The benches make it much harder to poach food off the table, but it makes for a nice shady spot and another place to leave my mark.”

If you want your own picnic table or have other ideas for furniture, functional or decorative finish work, The REvision Division does custom work and project consultation. Our design master will spend a complimentary 15 minutes with you to discuss your project, suggesting materials and ideas to help you save money and make the most of your used building materials. Visit The RE Store in Bellingham on the first Saturday of each month between 11am and 3pm to discuss your project with Eberhard and the REvision Division.

Posted in: Stories about people, Stories about stuff, Things you never knew about The RE Store

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Make.Shift Art Space: unscrewing up a gallery and studio spaces

Gallery space at Make.Shift

Gallery space at Make.Shift

The 40’s-era building at Grant and Flora streets has seen better days. Originally a milk processing plant, the building has been reincarnated and remodeled many times over, most notably as a law office in the 1970s. Since Bellingham nonprofit Make.Shift took over the artist collective at 306 Flora in summer 2011, volunteers and licensed contractors have been renovating continuously. They like to call it, “un-screwing up” the building.

Studios - during and after the remodel

Art studios - during and after the remodel, with reclaimed lumber, doors, windows and salvaged tin paneling - click for enlargement

While building six new music studios in the collective’s basement, the group chose 1920’s-era 40″ doors salvaged by The RE Store from McDonald Elementary School. A half dozen quirky salvaged light fixtures throughout the art space illuminate the creative hub. The upstairs art gallery is painted with remanufactured recycled Metro latex paint from The RE Store.

Many desks, tables, shelves and other furniture items from The RE Store have found new homes at Make.Shift. “Without The RE Store, we wouldn’t have been able to complete half of the projects we’ve taken on at Make.Shift Art Space,” said Make.Shift director Cat Sieh.

Phone booth and studio space

Phone booth and studio space

The group’s most recent project was the construction of three new basement artist studios. All three studios were built from 90% recycled/repurposed materials. Make.Shift repurposed cedar fence posts and tin warehouse roofing as siding, used old single-pane windows to keep the basement nice and bright, and framed all of the studios with reclaimed lumber.

“We’re so grateful to have The RE Store as a sponsor,” Cat said. “Using their materials has saved us money, and allowed us to source materials locally and sustainably. ”

If your group has a need for materials or gift certificates for fundraising events, please contact The RE Store with your request.

Posted in: RE Store Rockstar Project, Stories about people, Stories about stuff, You can do it yourself

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