Greater New Haven Habitat for Humanity

FAQ

What volunteer opportunities are available?

  • Construction volunteering (sites vary)
  • ReStore volunteering (286 South Colony Road, Wallingford)

When does construction take place?

Construction takes place year-round, Tuesday to Saturday, between the hours of 9:00am and 3:30pm. Volunteers are asked to sign in no later than 8:55am. Please register and schedule a date to volunteer through Volunteer Up.

What’s the ReStore?

The Habitat ReStore is a donation-based retail store. Proceeds from sales are used to support Habitat building projects in New Haven County. Volunteers age 15 and older assist with customer service, store organization, basic furniture repair, and many other tasks. Retail or merchandising experience is welcome but not necessary.

Is there a minimum age for volunteering?

16 is the minimum age requirement for working on site and 15 is the minimum age for volunteering at the ReStore. No one under the age of 16 is allowed on a Habitat construction site. This is a Habitat International regulation.

Volunteers under the age of 18 must complete a waiver of liability form that must be co-signed by a parent or guardian.

What do volunteers do on site?

Volunteers perform a huge range of tasks, depending on the stage of construction. On the day you volunteer you could be assisting with interior demolition, framing, porch building, installing windows, insulating, tiling, sheetrocking, painting, siding, landscaping, site clean up or anything else that helps get the house built and ready for occupancy.

If you are wary of heights, please alert the construction staff when you sign in so that they can plan accordingly.

I’m unskilled, does that matter?

While we welcome skilled volunteers and want to encourage those in the building trades to join us on site, the majority of our volunteers have few construction skills. Numerous volunteers remain with us on a long-term basis and volunteer regularly in order to build skills. We will train you in all aspects of construction with the hope that you will continue to volunteer, and even perhaps share your skills with unskilled volunteers in the future.

What day(s) can I volunteer?

The construction schedule is Tuesday through Saturday. Most shifts are available during the week but some Saturday dates are available. We recommend scheduling your shifts at least a few weeks in advance as the calendar tends to fill quickly.

ReStore hours are Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. and Friday and Sunday from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Half day shifts are available on all days. Volunteering at the ReStore is a great opportunity if you are looking to volunteer indoors or on the weekends.

Please register as a volunteer through Volunteer Up to see what dates are available on the calendar.

How physically demanding is volunteering on site?

Volunteers should be reasonably physically fit and prepared to do the work that is planned for the day. Some tasks are more physically demanding than others. It is important that all volunteers communicate to the construction supervisor any concerns they may have about particular tasks, such as climbing ladders or working with power tools.

What kind of commitment is Habitat asking for?

We know everyone has a busy schedule but we hope you can join us when you can! We are always in need of volunteers who can commit to helping on a regular basis. Many volunteers come out on a weekly or monthly basis. Please join us to see if the build site or ReStore is a great home away from home for your volunteer commitment.

Can I get a ride to and from the site or ReStore?

We do not provide or arrange transportation. There is parking available at the site or on the street. We do encourage carpooling whenever possible and many sites are close to bus stops. The ReStore is located on South Colony Road/ Route 5 in Wallingford is very easy to get to via I-91 or the parkway. It is also on the bus line.

Please pay attention to all No Parking signs.

Do I need to stay for the entire shift?

Construction site volunteers must stay for the entire day, 9:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. We do break for lunch in the middle of the day and volunteers can leave the site at that time. We do ask that you return promptly at the time determined by the construction supervisor.

The ReStore offers full- and half-day shifts, as well as a student shift Tuesday through Thursday, 3:00-6:00 p.m. If you cannot dedicate a full day to volunteering the ReStore may be the opportunity for you.

What if I need to cancel?

Cancellations do happen, but it is important that they be minimized. Keep in mind that once you make a reservation, our construction and ReStore staffs plan accordingly. If you need to cancel, please do so as soon as possible through your Volunteer Up account. This will enable another volunteer to fill the vacancy. You can also email Allison Mangles at amangles@habitatgnh.org and she will remove your sign up from the system.

How are volunteers supervised?

We have a professional construction crew who make sure all build site volunteers have a safe, productive, and fun day. Each site has a construction manager who works alongside the volunteers and provides training and general supervision. The members of the construction staff are highly skilled carpenters who are used to working with skilled and unskilled volunteers.

The ReStore has staff members who supervise volunteers. Please check in with a staff member at the sales counter when you arrive for your shift and s/he will review the tasks for the day. We want your ReStore experience to be safe, productive, and fun so please make the staff member aware of any skills or limitations when you sign in.

What do I need to bring to the site?

Construction volunteers need to bring lunch or money for take-out and plenty of water to drink throughout the day. In addition to plenty of water, sunscreen is also very important during the summer months.

Construction volunteers should wear clothes that can get dirty and are appropriate for the weather. Heavy-soled shoes (athletic shoes are fine) are also important. No open-toed or open-backed shoes (e.g. clogs, crocs, Birkenstocks, etc.) are permitted. Some volunteer like to bring their own work gloves and tools to the site but that is not mandatory. If you do choose to bring tools please make sure they are clearly labeled.

ReStore volunteers must dress appropriately for a retail setting. Jeans are acceptable as long as they are clean and have no holes or rips. Close-toed shoes are essential. Clothing should be comfortable and provide good coverage.Please do not wear clothing with messages or crude/offensive language.

How do I get started?

Individual volunteers should visit Volunteer Up to register and schedule a date to begin volunteering. If you are volunteering to fulfill court ordered community service please click here for information. Groups should review the information of the Group Volunteering page.

If you have questions, please contact Allison Mangles, Habitat Volunteer Coordinator, at (203) 785-0794 or amangles@habitatgnh.org.