Pssst… wanna get a deal at the ReStore?

July 16, 2014  |  Leave a Comment

What do customers say about the ReStore? “I love this store, it’s like heaven!” When you shop at the ReStore, you help us raise funds for homes—which is why we have a strict no-haggling policy. That doesn’t mean there aren’t tricks to scoring an extra deal, though! Shopping at the ReStore is a treasure hunt – and a bit of a competition – to find the perfect piece at a best price. Sometimes, it can feel overwhelming. To give you an insider’s perspective on how to win at the ReStore, our staff and volunteers put our heads together and came up with these tips just for you:

 

Shop the first day that we’re open on a new month.

We do our monthly markdowns at the beginning of the month, so full-price products become 25% off, 50% off becomes 75% off…and more and more. The color of the item’s price tag indicates its discount. Be sure to ask the cashier for a “cheat sheet” when you come in. We think of it as a treasure map to savings.

 

Join our Frequent Buyer Program.

Make 10 purchases over $25 dollars (one per day), and you get to shop our monthly markdowns (see #1) a day early. This way, you beat the rush and secure that mid-century modern credenza you’ve been watching for an additional 25% percent off before anyone else does.

 

Volunteer!

Volunteers who help out for at least 50 hours at the ReStore get just some of our appreciation in the form of a 20% off discount. This 20% off is in addition to any other discounts (see above)! Volunteers also get to see the product as it comes in, but there’s a catch to keep things fair for customers: all new items must be on the sales floor for at least a full business day before volunteers or staff members can purchase them.

 

Follow the ReStore on Facebook, Twitter or subscribe to our ReStore e-News.

We announce upcoming sales, overstock alerts, favorite new items and special discount days for groups like teachers, veterans and seniors via these channels. For example, if you follow us on any of these, you know that we got 250 brand new lighting fixtures from Mars Lighting in San Francisco. We also surprise our followers with coupons and promotions, but you’ve got to stay in loop to get them!

 

Meet us on the road.

We’re at farmers markets and trade shows all over the area, and we’re usually giving away coupons or raffling off gift certificates. You can also join the San Carlos Adventure Run to score coupons, or attend an in-store event for more goodies. Like our Facebook page for these updates.

 

Last but not least, shop often!

We unload new items every day. It’s common to see our regular customers in the store every week… sometimes every day. While we have big plans to make our current inventory more accessible to our customers, for now we’re just a hardworking team of dedicated volunteers and staff doing our best to keep up with the incredible volume of donations we receive (everyday, our receiving area fills to the ceiling with donations, we clean and price and move them to the floor…and it fills to the ceiling again. Good problem to have!). We want our shoppers to have a fantastic experience at the store, and for now the best way is to come in often to see if what we have is just what you’ve been looking for.

Why I Build with Pride

June 25, 2014  |  Leave a Comment

Why I Build is a blog series from Habitat for Humanity Greater San Francisco community members–volunteers, donors, staff, homeowners and more–about what we do, why we’re here, and why we build. Volunteers share why they signed up to build homes at Habitat Terrace for our first annual Stephen Blake Jacoby Memorial Build With Pride.

Barbara shows her pride AND muscle!

I wanted a volunteer experience different from the work I do, more physical. I came specifically for Build with Pride to do that while meeting other gay and lesbian people.” -Barbara

 

Scott and Meesha volunteered together to give back

“I was just so moved by Steve Jacoby’s story, and learning that he passed from AIDS like so many of my generation. I’ve committed my career to housing, and this brings together my queer politics with affordable housing advocacy to help others.” – Scott

I had volunteer before in south city, it’s great way to give back to community. I like knowing it’s hands-on, and leaving knowing what I accomplished and that someone is going to live in this house. I love that it’s a pride build—a great opportunity to meet like-minded people with similar values.” – Meesha

 

Cecelia with her colleague

I came out with Hyatt Pride!” – Cecelia

 

DJ taking a break at Habitat Terrace

“Since moving to SF a year ago, I’ve realized how drastically unequal housing is and how many hard-working people can’t compete. During Pride season, we’re working towards equality, and it’s important that as the LGBT community marches towards equality, we are also working to recognize the inequality that still exist in our environment and working to fix it.” – DJ

 

Longtime volunteer Will brought his partner Rick for the first time!

“As a longtime volunteer, I do this to contribute. I’m retired, there’s nothing better to do than give back and I love building. 30 years ago when I started working in construction, I never thought I’d see something like a Build with Pride for my community.” – Will

 

Catie and Carly, pros with the paint rollers

I moved here a year ago, wanted to get involved to know San Francisco better. I’ve always been supportive of LGBT community, and had made a goal to volunteer seven times in San Francisco. This was a dual opportunity to both giving back and support the LGBT community.” – Catie

 

Huy showing the foam who's boss

“I’ve volunteered before and thought it was a great idea to come for Pride.” -Huy

 


“What else would I do?” - Erin (construction manager)

In memory: Stephen Blake Jacoby, founder

June 19, 2014  |  3 Comments

Stephen Blake Jacoby, the first elected board president of Habitat San Francisco, oversaw the first full meeting of the newly formed organization in September 1991. But before the next meeting he had passed from complications with AIDS, on Oct. 5, 1991. His legacy today includes more than 210 homes built, free public financial education classes and a burgeoning neighborhood cleanup and revitalization program by Habitat for Humanity Greater San Francisco. Though he was a critical player in bringing the Habitat for Humanity movement to San Francisco, he never got to see the fruits of that effort.

We rediscovered Steve Jacoby’s story through carefully preserved meeting minutes, where the names of those who first formed a steering committee to try to build affordable homes in one of the country’s most expensive real estate markets were carefully recorded. And we wondered, who was this man who led the formation of this organization? And why would he do it if he knew he was dying?

Through investigative research and interviews with former board members and Steve’s family members, we unearthed the story of Steve Jacoby, founder of Habitat San Francisco, which we share below. We’re also pleased to share an op-ed from Steve’s former partner, Steve Jacoby, in The Advocate Magazine online

Steve Jacoby lived a life of bold action.

Born and raised in Alton, Ill., he grew up dreaming of flying airplanes. He got his pilot’s license at age 15, before he was old enough to get his driver’s license. Steve, throughout his life, was fearless – and flying was one way to demonstrate just how fearless.

Steve’s brother Scott Jacoby said that when their mother would drop Steve at the local airport to practice flying, she’d tell him to call her when he was finished to come pick him up.

“She used to get so mad at him because in the summer he would fly over the house and he would cut the engine and open the door and holler down to my mom, ‘come and get me,’” Scott said.

Steve attended the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md., where he trained to fly F-14s, the fighter planes that the bravest, fastest pilots fly. And he was an apprentice Blue Angel – the pilots who dazzle at the annual Air Show above San Francisco Bay.

But he grew four more inches after age 18 topping out at 6-foot-4 – too tall to safely eject from the cramped cockpit of an F-14.  After serving his term in the military, he had to trade that dream for a career as a corporate pilot.

Stephen Blake Jacoby

Though he loved flying, Steve was ready to leave the military when he did. Those were the days even before ”Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” the military policy – thrown out in 2010 – that allowed gay people to join the military as long as they kept their sexual orientation a secret. Though he was a private person, Steve Jacoby believed in honor and doing the right thing, and didn’t think he needed to lie about being gay.

After his service in the military concluded, Steve joined United Airlines as a commercial pilot, flying routes from Los Angeles to Hawaii and Chicago, and later from San Francisco to Asia.

In May 1985, however, when 5,200 pilots walked off the job in opposition of a two-tier salary scale that they saw as unfair to them and new hires, Steve joined many of the 570 trainee pilots in a strike that would last 29 days and cost United Airlines hundreds of millions of dollars.

Steve stood up to represent the trainee pilots and talked about doing what was right. He continued working for United Airlines after the strike ended.

Steve was handy, which may have been what drew him to volunteer with Habitat for Humanity Los Angeles (now Habitat for Humanity Greater Los Angeles) building affordable homes.  But he also had a deep commitment to service, said Kent Bloom, Steve’s former partner.

Steve, left, with his former partner Kent Bloom

When Steve moved to San Francisco in 1989, it was the last major city that did not have a Habitat for Humanity chapter. Even the founder of Habitat for Humanity International, Millard Fuller, in a story recounted through the years at Habitat Greater San Francisco, told San Francisco Habitat founders that Habitat for Humanity wouldn’t work here. Land was too expensive. Housing prices were too high.

Soon after Steve settled into his life in San Francisco, he was placed on medical leave with United Airlines.

He volunteered for Glide Church many afternoons.

But fate brought Steve back to Habitat for Humanity. Steve was a passenger on a flight, heading to Newark to attend a charity benefit when he recognized Rosalynn Carter, wife of former President Jimmy Carter, sitting in first-class.

Steve passed a cocktail napkin to the flight attendant who handed it to Mrs. Carter’s secret service agent. The note said:

 ‘Dear Mrs. Carter, Thank you and the President’s support for Habitat for Humanity.’

Mrs. Carter waited in the jet bridge to meet him and challenged him to bring Habitat for Humanity to San Francisco.

Several board members who were on the original Habitat San Francisco steering committee remember hearing the story that Steve started Habitat for Humanity San Francisco after meeting Mrs. Carter. It was the tipping point for Steve Jacoby to do at least one more bold thing with his remarkable life.

Steve, along with Tom Cantrell, organized and facilitated a public informational meeting on May 29, 1991 at Stationary Engineers Union Hall on Valencia Street. A 12-member steering committee was formed out of that first meeting and that would become the catalyst for 23 years of Habitat for Humanity in San Francisco.

It’s Steve’s signature on the early meeting minutes from June 28 and July 19 when the steering committee members accomplished the critical and sometimes menial tasks required to start a Habitat for Humanity affiliate like setting up a phone line ($19.95 a month for three months), finding office space and recruiting the 12 board members that were required to meet Habitat International rules.

Steve was elected president of the first board on September 12, 1991 and filed in the meeting minutes from those early days is a personal letter Steve signed four days later to fellow board member David Thompson thanking him for his role in Habitat San Francisco’s formation.

“The addition of your energy to the Steering Committee and dedication to the Habitat philosophy are the seeds of success that will have allowed Habitat for Humanity a foothold in San Francisco,” Steve wrote.

Steve knew he would die from AIDS when he started Habitat for Humanity San Francisco. That was back before the drug treatments that help many of those who contract HIV today to live long, healthy lives. But there was only one approved drug – AZT – back then and it didn’t work for many.

Steve travelled to say goodbye to his parents in Illinois during the same summer that he was charging ahead with Habitat for Humanity San Francisco.

On September 24, 1991 Steve presided over the first meeting of the board as elected president with an agenda including defining directors’ and committee roles. Habitat for Humanity San Francisco would become a reality.

Less than two weeks later, Steve died, October 5, 1991, at his home. Before he died, he told the Habitat board and his former partner that any obituary written about him should include that his cause of death was AIDS. This request was also recorded in Habitat for Humanity’s meeting minutes.

Francis DuBose, an original steering committee and board member of Habitat San Francisco, retired professor at Golden Gate Seminary, who passed away in 2009, said of Steve:

“His spirit was contagious. He inspired the group with his knowledge of Habitat for Humanity, his own previous involvement as a volunteer, his feel for the philosophy behind the movement, and his passion to see it happen, even in San Francisco—the last major city in the country without an affiliate.”

David Thompson, who was elected the next president after Steve, said San Francisco’s Habitat for Humanity was founded by people of many different backgrounds in terms of race, religion and sexual orientation who cared deeply that all of San Francisco could be included in the mission to bring affordable homeownership to people who needed it.

“We decided right from the get-go that they (Habitat for Humanity International) had to come in on our terms or we wouldn’t do it. Those terms had to do with not only nondiscrimination in regards to sexual orientation but also religion,” Thompson said.

Habitat for Humanity Greater San Francisco proudly carries on that legacy. In tribute to a man who helped this organization establish its values, and who, without his effort, San Francisco may have never had a Habitat for Humanity affiliate.

In remembering Steve’s life, Kent says of Steve: “He just believed in service. And he believed in Habitat for Humanity.”

Get excited: High Stakes 2014

May 28, 2014  |  Leave a Comment

With High Stakes for Habitat 2014 just days away, we asked some of our Young Leaders Circle, hosts of the annual casino night, what they’re most excited for about this year’s event. Don’t worry, you can still buy tickets here to join in the fun.

At this year’s High Stakes, we’re most looking forward to…

…dancing the night away for a good cause in a fancy dress

-Victoria

…dancing!

-Jason

…showing attendees the We Build video and making all of them cry.

-Will

the signature cocktail!

- Amelise

catching up with old and new friends while throwing dice!!

- Peter

 

learning how to play craps!

- Jane

 

…toasting to the 41 partner families that moved into Habitat homes in the Bay Area last year and especially to the 4 that paid off their mortgages in full!

- Gretchen

…having a lot of fun gambling for a good cause on a mysterious and exciting night!

-Carolina

In memory: Tony, volunteer

May 20, 2014  |  Leave a Comment

Habitat for Humanity Greater San Francisco ReStore regular volunteer Tony Gschwend passed away April 10 after a short but difficult battle with cancer. He left a tremendous impact on the many non-profit organizations that he volunteered with – civil engineering firms, youth sports, tutoring – as well as the ReStore. His ReStore colleagues share their memories below.

Tony first came to volunteer at the store after attending a volunteer orientation at Steward’s Chapel in Redwood City. At that point, the ReStore had only been open a few months; Tony saw our need, rolled up his sleeves and jumped right in.

Tony transformed the lighting department from the least productive component of our store to one of our biggest profit centers. He initiated a policy of cleaning and testing each unit before it was put up for sale, a feature that is time consuming, but a strong customer draw.

He saw that customers needed a space to ask questions, so he created a workshop amidst the lighting fixtures to show customers how products worked, and answer their many questions. He loved nothing more than to engage in detailed technical discussions with customers about their electrical problems. Additionally, he loved helping them select fixtures appropriate to their needs. He became the volunteer most asked for by name by customers.

Tony solved problems and taught others to help themselves. He taught staff members and other volunteers how to maintain the department. After Tony stopped volunteering due to health concerns, his volunteer apprentices carried on his work.

Lighting remains one of the ReStore’s most well-kept and highest grossing departments. But the lighting department is more than a fundraising source for building homes, it is a labor of love. Tony created that attitude, and passed it on to the people who carry on his tradition. Processing donations, working with customers, training volunteers—all these things are done with the intention of maintaining his high standards. Most importantly, Tony helped to make everyone’s lives better. Through leadership by example, tremendous energy and strong integrity, he showed all of us how to do our jobs better.

Tony gave us his secret to success in life:

“Find something you are passionate about, turn it into a profession, and you’ll feel like you’ve never worked a day in your life.”

Tony gave the ReStore more than one thousand hours of service. The Restore family was never the same once he walked through our doors and it never will be the same now that he has hung up his blue vest. We are so very grateful that Tony shared some of his passion, skills and commitment with us and we celebrate his remarkable life.

3 Reasons to Donate Your Car Today!

April 11, 2014  |  Leave a Comment

Since 2004, over $1 million have been raised for Bay Area Habitat for Humanity affiliates through the Cars for Homes™ vehicle donation program!

To support our Million Dollar Milestone and Earth Day, on April 19th, join us at our San Carlos ReStore to receive a bonus gift and a unique discount at the ReStore when you pledge your car that day. Or, simply donate your vehicle during the month of April or any other time to support as well.

And now for three great reasons why vehicle donations are a smart choice, for you and for your community:

It’s eco-friendly

Approximately 30% of the cars donated to Cars for Homes™ are sold either for reusable parts or to be recycled into new steel products. Recycling steel saves energy and natural resources. Through recycling, the steel industry saves enough energy to power 20 million homes for one year. Old gas guzzlers donated to Habitat for Humanity last year contributed more than 1,500 tons to the total amount of steel recycled.

Assuming that a percentage of our vehicle donors replaced their old car with either a new one or a more fuel efficient used one, more than 1,100 Cars for Homes™ donors have saved gas and reduced the amount of CO2 produced by their transportation needs.

It won’t make you scream or rip your hair out

Rather than dealing with selling or trading in your old car, donate your car. When you sell a car, you have to drive around from dealership to dealership, just to show your car off and haggle over a sales price. Or you might place an ad in the paper, which requires more time and even money. Both ways leave you stressed out and disappointed because you tend to feel like you’re not getting the most out of the car you spent so many years with.

When you donate your vehicle to Cars for Homes™ we take care of all the details and your car (running or not) will be off your hands within a day or two’s time. The staff at Cars for Homes™  make donating a car easy and help you get the most out of your car donation, including a possible tax deduction.

You’ll feel good

When you donate a vehicle through the Cars for Homes™ program, your gift will go directly towards helping your local Habitat for Humanity affiliate build homes, revitalize neighborhoods and much more. Your car donation will help a family build a house and more opportunity for their future.

Donate today

The Cars for Homes™ donation process is quick and easy. It can be accomplished online (www.habitat.org/carsforhomes) or with a toll-free phone call to 1-877-277-4344. If you donate an automobile or other vehicle, you may be eligible for a tax deduction.

For more information about the April 19th event and pledge drive, or about the program in general, please visit our website or contact Jamin Sartor at 415-625-1018 or jsartor@habitatgsf.org

 

10 things we love about volunteers

April 7, 2014  |  Leave a Comment

April is National Volunteer Month, and everyone at Habitat for Humanity Greater San Francisco wants to say a big thank you to the thousands of volunteers who make our work possible year after year. Our volunteer services team, Kate, Laura and Melanie, shared ten of the many many things they love about our volunteers:

They want to share their experience with others.

“Can I bring my son/coworker/neighbor/boyfriend/friend/wife?” That’s a question we get all the time.

Kalimah dedicates one week every year to Habitat, and last year her daughters joined her in creating gift baskets for new homeowners

 

Our regular volunteers and partner families form bonds that go beyond building homes together.

Longtime volunteer Bob talks about building and getting to know homeowners (click above to watch)

 

They think construction is (going to be) fun!

And they make it fun (safety first though!)

 

They bring their friends out to celebrate special occasions, like birthdays and weddings!

Huong and John invited their friends to volunteer in lieu of a traditional bridal shower. Congrats Huong and John!

AmeriCorps Dan (top right) invited his friends to build at Habitat Terrace for his birthday (can you spot the party hats?)

There isn’t a cookie cutter volunteer type, they come in all backgrounds/ages/professions/personalities—and they all work great together!

Volunteers at the ReStore work together behind the scenes

They’re happy to help, whatever the task.

This volunteer tackled those leaves at a special Neighborhood Revitalization Initiative volunteer day!

Our volunteers are super enthusiastic about trying new things… even if it means stepping outside of their comfort zone.

Volunteer Jessie didn't let a little height hold her back at Habitat Terrace!

 

They’re excited to spread the word about building homes and communities!

Here's Gina at an involvement fair to encourage others to join her as a volunteer

 

They look great in hard hats.

Don't they?

 

But mostly we love…when they come back!

Volunteer again or for the first time by signing up here. We need your help to keep building homes and communities!

PS If you love this post, do us a favor and up-vote it on Buzzfeed!

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