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Habitat for Humanity ReStore: A hidden gem making a difference in Kennebunk community

"It's really meaningful to see a donated item help create a home for someone in the community," one worker said.

KENNEBUNK, Maine — In an effort to provide affordable housing and give back to the community, Habitat for Humanity ReStore in Kennebunk has become a go-to destination for bargain hunters and philanthropists alike.

The impact of this store, which relocated to a larger location last week, is evident as it helps build two homes each year, making a lasting difference in the lives of local residents.

The ReStore in Kennebunk operates on the concept of selling donated items to fund home-building projects.

With its new location on Route 1, the store has gained increased visibility, attracting attention from passing individuals. 

Many community members were unaware of the previous location, and the move has brought more people to discover the store's mission.

Amy Nucci, the executive director of Habitat for Humanity York County, expressed her gratitude for the community's support.

"It's really meaningful to see a donated item help create a home for someone in the community," Nucci said.

The impact of the ReStore goes beyond the direct assistance it provides to homeowners; it fosters a sense of community engagement and participation.

The ReStore in Kennebunk relies heavily on volunteers, who play a crucial role in its day-to-day operations. 

These dedicated individuals not only contribute their time and effort but also find personal fulfillment in their involvement. 

Volunteer Jake Wolterbeek, who has been with the store for three years, shared his experience.

"It is incredibly rewarding," Wolterbeek said.

The volunteers not only assist customers but also help carry out purchased items, fostering a sense of camaraderie and appreciation within the community.

Since its establishment a decade ago, the ReStore has been instrumental in doubling the number of homes built each year.

"Since building the store, we have been able to double that to build an average of two homes a year, and we look to double that in the next five years," Nucci revealed. 

Donating items to the ReStore not only helps clear clutter but also contributes to the organization's efforts in providing affordable housing to those in need.

John Zarrella, a dedicated volunteer of eight years, emphasized the collective impact of supporting the ReStore.

"It helps everybody whether they know it or not," Zarrella said.

The act of donating and shopping at the ReStore creates a full circle moment, where community members become active participants in improving their own neighborhoods.

The Habitat for Humanity ReStore in Kennebunk is more than just a thrift store; it serves as a vital resource for affordable housing initiatives and community development. 

Through the support of generous donors, volunteers, and local residents, this hidden gem continues to make a significant impact on the lives of individuals and families in the Kennebunk community. 

By shopping or donating at the ReStore, individuals can find both bargains and the satisfaction of giving back, all while contributing to the greater cause of building homes and transforming lives.

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