Rockin’ for the RE Store

A community-improvement project


What: Rockin' for the RE Store

When: 5 pm Fri., May. 19

Where: Boundary Bay Brewery, 1107 Railroad Ave.

Cost: Free


Wednesday, May 17, 2017

People visit the RE Store looking for all kinds of things.

Within the 20,000-foot space in the Fountain District, any number of useful items can be found. Need cabinetry for a kitchen makeover? They’ve got it. Tons of it. Looking to replace a door or some windows? They can help you out with that too. No need for a wholesale home makeover? The RE Store can offer you all manner of fixtures and doodads to spruce up your space. Since adaptive reuse is the name of the game at the RE Store, none of what you’ll find is brand new, but all of it has been carefully culled and selected from donations and salvage efforts, so you can build your own version of home sweet home with a clear conscience and a virtuous heart.

As for me, I’m not a homeowner, nor do I have a particularly strong yen to spend my spare time involved in home-improvement projects. So when I make my way to the RE Store, I go to wander and gaze upon the amazing assemblage of goods for sale there. After all, why not? The staff is always friendly, I’m fond of checking out what the RE Store’s Revision Division—the two designers and builders that fashion new furniture from bits and pieces of reclaimed materials—has been up to, and every now and again, I emerge with a new lamp or other small piece of furniture.

The place is a veritable treasure trove, except unlike treasure, the inventory is dirt cheap instead of priceless.

But the RE Store does far more than just salvage and sell reclaimed goods. For the past six years, it has been stewarding the Community Jobs Training Program, which provides low-income people with the skills necessary to attain employment. Their focus is not just on job training, but also on giving program participants the support to enable them to find long-term, sustained employment. To ensure a greater chance of success, the RE Store works with a whole host of other local nonprofits—Opportunity Council, WorkSource, the Lummi Nation, Advancement NW, Bellingham Public Schools Community Transition Program, Northwest Youth Services, Service Alternatives, and other local social justice organizations and agencies—making the Community Jobs Training Program a group investment with many stakeholders.

At present, the Community Jobs Training Program is a three-month intensive experience that only has the capacity to help 12 chronically unemployed or displaced workers a year. A dozen is certainly a better number than none, but owing to the necessity of what the program provides, the RE Store has big plans to expand it. In fact, they hope to triple the number of people they can help to 36 a year, while also adding to the areas and disciplines in which they offer this valuable assistance.

To do so, the organization has had to reach beyond its own coffers to find funding, and so they’ve done what nonprofits do and secured grant dollars to augment their budget. But they also need our help.

Because the RE Store is, above all, a friendly, community-minded place, they’re not going to cold call people or go door-to-door trying to scare up donations. Instead, they’re throwing a huge party—and we are all invited.

Called “Rockin’ for the RE Store,” the event will take place Fri., May 19 in Boundary Bay’s newly reopened beer garden, and it is free and family-friendly.

Wait a minute. How is a free event supposed to raise a bunch of cash for the Community Jobs Training Program?

While I’m sure RE Store representatives will happily take your donations at the door, the bulk of the funds to be raised will come from silent auction items and raffle prizes—and this is one area in which local businesses have really stepped up on behalf of one of Bellingham’s most beloved nonprofits. Among the prime prizes to be won is dinner and lodging for two at the Willows Inn (where recent James Beard Award winner Blaine Wetzel reigns supreme over the kitchen), a double-date package courtesy of the Chrysalis Inn and Gato Verde Adventure Sailing, a fully loaded Dr. Dew bike from Kona Bike Shop, a guitar and lessons from Mojo Music, and more. Raffle tickets are only five bucks each—and the RE Store will only sell 1,000 of them, meaning everyone who buys in stands a better-than-average chance of winning a prize.

But you won’t just have to stand around waiting for your raffle number to be read off at Rockin’ for the RE Store. Instead, you’ll be entertained by the Legendary Chucklenuts as well as High Mountain String Band (led by RE Store director Kurt Gisclair) as you throw back pints of Boundary’s delicious beer and commune with your community. And you can feel double good about showing your support for the Legendary Chucklenuts, who have pledged to devote the majority of their 2017 outings to playing fundraisers and benefits.

This is the first year for Rockin’ for the RE Store, and the nonprofit has high hopes for a big turnout. Take time out from your home-improvement projects to help improve the community you call home.

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