Habitat for Humanity ReStore gets new manager
Published 10:14 am Tuesday, December 23, 2014
Lynn Nuckolls has worked with Habitat for Humanity since her New Orleans home was flooded during Hurricane Katrina, and it didn’t stop when she moved to Austin about two years ago.
“I’ll always work, from here on, for people who don’t have their basic needs: Medicine, doctors, schools, a roof over their heads, safety,” Nuckolls said.
Nuckolls recently took on the manager position at Austin’s ReStore, 1415 First Ave. SW in the Sterling Shopping Center. The store works with Habitat for Humanity by selling used items — mainly building materials and household items — for a lower price.
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For Nuckolls, this is the first full time job she has worked since 1989, and she said it has been a big adjustment, though she has been volunteering with Habitat for Humanity for a while.
“They were interested in me helping in fundraising, and we had the idea for ‘Jeans and Jewels’ and I ran the jeans and jewels auction,” Nuckolls said. “That’s the first thing I did for them.”
She volunteered occasionally at the store after that, and after the manager position opened, she volunteered more often, helping to fill the empty space. But that wasn’t enough to keep things in order.
“They really needed someone in there steady so they could keep it open every day,” Nuckolls said.
Memories of Katrina
Nuckolls has lived in several different places over her life, including Florida, South Carolina, Alabama, Los Angeles, New Orleans, Kansas, and finally Austin. She and her husband moved to Austin after he accepted a job at First Farmers and Merchants Bank as a community banker.
Nuckolls got involved with Habitat for Humanity after Katrina in 2005; the memories of people in poverty from the disaster haven’t faded. She said it takes a lot out of not only the people in the situation, but also the community.
Living in New Orleans, Nuckolls witnessed the destruction of the historic hurricane. Although most in her neighborhood had insurance and were able to get their homes fixed, she wanted to help those who couldn’t afford to fix their homes.
“I just started helping in some of the areas where there was more poverty,” she said.
She went to the ReStore in New Orleans looking for things for her own home, and after she witnessed the work done to rebuild homes, she got involved with Habitat for Humanity.
“I don’t know if you have to have some sort of tragedy to make you feel so, the empathy, but I guess I’ll hold it forever, and I think my children will as well,” Nuckolls said.
“I had no idea I’d be this passionate about it,” she added.
In need of volunteers
Nuckolls has high hopes for the ReStore in Austin, especially since the recent move to the Sterling Shopping Center. The grand opening was in early December.
She said the sky is the limit with the new location, and she is excited to see what the future holds now that things are settling in.
“There’s no chance that this isn’t going to be successful,” Nuckolls said. “It’s in the perfect location in a town that gives from the heart.”
The work is volunteer-intensive, according to Nuckolls, and the ReStore is in desperate need for volunteers.
“We’re getting the donations and of course people love our prices because they’re just incredibly low, but we’re just desperately in need of volunteers,” Nuckolls said.
The organization is looking for volunteers to work in the store helping customers, prepare donations in the receiving area, and people to help with the home they are currently building.
Instead of always asking for donations, Nuckolls loves that ReStore store makes its own income and gives people something in return. The organization does still hold fundraisers but much of its profit comes from selling items at the store.
“We’ll have a steady source of income from here on out, and that will be the ReStore,” Nuckolls said happily.