Rockin’ for the RE Store

Put your dollars to work


What: Rockin’ for the RE Store

When: 5:00 pm Fri., May. 17

Where: Boundary Bay Brewery, 1107 Railroad Ave.


Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Bellingham is home to a lot of musical fundraisers for one simple reason: They work. History has shown us to be generous people, and never more so when we can couple our acts of charity with having a good time. Of course, this brand of benefit is only made possible because we are lucky enough to live in a locale in which bands and musicians are not only plentiful, but they are also similarly generous and can be talked into donating their time and talent for any and every good cause that comes along.

This enables various good causes, nonprofits and other worthy endeavors to raise thousands upon thousands of dollars every year to put toward all manner of things that make our world a better place.

But do you ever wonder exactly where those dollars go and who they help?

For the past three years, the RE Store has thrown a big benefit bash they’ve dubbed Rockin’ at the RE Store. The money brought in from the event goes toward their Community Jobs Training Program, which, as its title suggests, provides job-training opportunities for at-risk and underserved folks in our community.

The program has been in existence long enough to have some success stories to its credit, and one of those stories belongs to Derek Becker, who came to the RE Store first as a volunteer in 2017, and then as a trainee in 2018. When he arrived at the nonprofit that specializes in building community, one salvaged treasure and reclaimed piece of building material at a time, he was recently out of prison and craving both a second chance as well as a life change. He found both through the Community Jobs Training Program.

“I come from a pretty dark background with time spent in prison, so I didn’t have a lot of job experience and never really had a job for more than a few months,” Derek says. “My goal with the RE Store was to integrate back into the work environment, to get used to being around people again, to learn some new skills—and I think I have done all of that. I wanted to really transform my life into something completely different. The RE Store’s job training allowed me to do that.”

But you don’t need to take just Derek’s word for how profoundly life-altering his time in the Community Jobs Training Program was. The RE Store gives him a glowing review as well.

“During his seven-month training program, Derek demonstrated the utmost professionalism, a kindhearted nature and a deep commitment to the mission of the RE Store, his coworkers and the satisfaction of our customers,” says Samantha Hale, RE Store marketing and outreach manager. “When a position became available, we were honored to bring Derek on board as a salvage crewmember.”

You read that right: Derek did such good work during his job-training stint, the RE Store decided to keep him for themselves.

Recently, Derek moved on from the RE Store to “chase his career dreams,” Hale says, adding, “The team misses him, but he stops by all the time to say hi.”

Back to Rockin’ for the RE Store, the nonprofit that works to build the community we’d like to live in also has shown a knack for throwing the kind of shindig we like to attend. And if you’re going to mix doing good with having a good time, odds are better than decent that Boundary Bay Brewery wants to be in on that action since it dovetails so nicely with their philosophy to make our town a better place one party at a time.

This year’s Rockin’ at the RE Store happens Fri., May 17 in the brewpub’s beer garden. The event happens to coincide with the first Fryday Fish Fry of the year, and the Legendary Chucklenuts and High Mountain String Band will be on hand to provide plenty of fodder for the dancing that is sure to ensue. When you take a break to quaff a pint or two and regroup, you’ll definitely want to invest in as many $5 raffle tickets as your budget will allow. The deluxe slate of prizes includes a fully outfitted Marin bike as well as a night’s stay at the Heliotrope Hotel and tickets to see Michael Feinstein at the Mount Baker Theatre. However, the if the raffle has a grand prize, it is surely the package of dinner and lodging for two at the Willows Inn on Lummi Island, where chef Blaine Wetzel finds time to cook sublime meals when he’s not winning James Beard awards.

All of those enticements aside, the real draw of Rockin’ for the RE Store comes from the opportunity to help ensure that more folks like Derek get the skills and training to make the most of the second chances afforded them, along with adding more skilled workers to our labor force. In other words, the RE Store will take your dollars and put them to work—because that’s how community gets built.

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