Each calendar year Baldwin EMC employees are granted eight hours, or one full work day, of community service leave. This initiative allows us to take a brief pause from our normal daily duties providing power to our members, and serve our neighbors in a different way. In this series, we will be highlighting a different employee (or group of employees) each month to show the myriad ways they are volunteering in our community when they’re not answering calls, replacing a pole, or driving a truck!
Brenda White has worked at Baldwin EMC for 11 years, and currently serves as loss control assistant. Last fall, she spent two mornings at the Habitat ReStore, located in Summerdale.
“I’ve often wanted to help volunteer for a Habitat build, but when I found out the ReStore was looking for help I was glad to donate my time in that way,” White said.
White’s duties included pricing new inventory to organize and place on the shelves. She also spent some time in the hardware section, organizing supplies and cleaning up the area.
“As soon as I arrived, I was greeted and given literature about the Habitat organization,” White said. “And then they put me to work! It was a lot of fun because I was given ownership in what I was doing. They trust the volunteers to get the job done. I also saw a lot of people I know come through the doors!”
The primary mission of the ReStore is to support Habitat of Baldwin County, which provides affordable housing to needy families. The ReStore also serves to provide good used merchandise at a reasonable price, and to provide a source for charitable donations.
“We are a 501c3 (non-profit) organization, so we try to keep our number of paid employees to a minimum,” said Store Manager Connie Plemmons. “We constantly get comments on our presentation. We rely on volunteers to help us do the job as well as we do, keeping a clean, well-organized store.”
Plemmons said they have a continuous need for volunteers to help perform the day-to-day operations of the store. “It’s sort of like a warehouse in here, and we never know what we’re going to receive each day in terms of donations. We always need help stocking shelves, displaying the merchandise and sweeping the floors. We also sometimes need something built or moved. There’s a need for a little bit of everything!”
In addition to the time she spent at the ReStore, White’s commitment to volunteerism extends to her service as secretary on the zoning board for the Town of Loxley. Additionally, she and her husband Tim recently donated 8,000 pounds of red potatoes from their farm to help feed the residents of Texas, Louisiana and Florida following the hurricanes last fall.
“I think it’s important that we give of ourselves however we can and wherever we can,” White said. “People who give, get so much back in return. It’s like baking a cake and frosting it and decorating it so pretty – there’s nothing more satisfying than seeing a crowd of people cut into it and enjoy what you created. When you give of your time and it’s helping someone else, it just gives you a good feeling inside.”
For more information about the Habitat ReStore, including hours of operation and how to volunteer, visit www.baldwinhabitat.org or call (251) 989-6422.