A little over a month ago, we here at the Habitat Store were just getting used to a new normal–learning how to operate as safely as possible, following the sanitation and distancing guidelines that COVID-19 had imposed on all of us. When the decision came to shut down, like so many businesses around the world, we had to turn out the lights and lock the doors, not knowing how, and even less when we would be able to open back up.
With our overwhelmed aid programs–750 businesses applying for the Paycheck Protection Plan (PPP) here in Whatcom County alone–it was far from a certainty that we would get to any time soon. But despite those hardships and uncertainties, we were thrilled to discover that we had been approved for the PPP loan. This means that, as of last week, all Habitat for Humanity in Whatcom County staff are back to work.
Although our Habitat Store may not be open to the public for some time, having everyone back is an immense relief. We are grateful and optimistic and see this as a great time to undertake all of those projects that have been on the back burner for so many years. And there’s a great deal to be done!
For instance, when the Habitat Store moved into this building from Ferndale, 5 years ago, there was only enough time to partially paint the building. As luck would have it, enough paint to cover the whole store inside and out had been donated only a couple weeks prior to shut down.
As always, a big shout out to our construction manager Paul Stromdahl, who is running each project as if it were one of our construction sites. He is in charge of strictly adhering to all of the safety procedures that are demanded of businesses that remain open these days. This includes personally signing in and out each employee that comes into the store, as well as ensuring masks are worn, proper distancing is followed, commonly touched surfaces are cleaned hourly and that safety briefings are held each morning.
Despite how hectic it’ll be to open again, and to catch up on all of those donation pick ups we had scheduled, we eagerly await that day. We’re also excited to invite back all of our wonderful volunteers.
Every donation and purchase at the Habitat Store contributes directly to building more affordable homes here in Whatcom County. These days, having safe, affordable housing is more important than ever, and all of us are incredibly grateful for the opportunity to keep working towards something that is so essential. Thank you to all of our donors, shoppers and volunteers for your continued support, and we’re eager to see you as soon as we’re able to.
[Every cash gift we receive at Habitat, no matter how small, returns when each Habitat home buyer makes their monthly mortgage payments. This enables us to purchase more supplies for another home. Habitat’s core value, “a hand-up, not a hand-out,” means that every penny is repaid. Please consider pledging $5 per month.]