One of the best things Kristina Boese says she’s done is volunteering at the Habitat for Humanity ReStore, and that shows in her ‘habit’ for Habitat – she speaks passionately about the store and her achievement of a 3,000-hour milestone.

Boese found the store through Volunteering Hawkes Bay and has donated her time for the past four years.

She says she didn’t consciously pick a building charity. The people drew her to the ReStore as they seemed very helpful and easy going.

“I chose this {ReStore} because you are who you are here, they accept you. It’s one of the better things that I have done for myself. It gives me something.”

“It’s a good thing to come here and be a part of a social atmosphere, to make contact with other people.”

Boese says she was inspired by former US President Jimmy Carter’s involvement in Habitat for Humanity builds. She has read plenty about his passion for the charity in TIME magazine.

“Carter taught me that you can do anything, if it’s something you want to do.”

She says he’s “one of those people that you look at their life, and their experiences, and it helps you with your own knowledge of the world.”

“Habitat gives people a chance to say this is my house, they can settle down, they have roots.”

Carter is quoted saying “Habitat has successfully removed the stigma of charity by substituting it with a sense of partnership”.

Boese says that she is proud that the people who Habitat have partnered with in Hastings come into the shop, “they always remember me, they are always happy to help out. It builds a community.” “Sometimes the whole family comes in, and they do heaps of jobs that won’t necessarily get done regularly, they mop the floors, they help us sort out the bric a brac.”

Boese starts her work in the morning and leaves at lunch, she likes listening to the radio and putting the clothes out.

“Everyone is kind, and polite – they are nice to me all the time. It’s really cool for me to be around all of this stuff. Every day is a changed day, nothing is the same.”

“I’m really happy to volunteer here and the variety of clothes keeps it interesting. We have a variety of sizes, and types, you wonder who will buy it, we have people that come in and buy for their mothers, their grandchildren, teenage girls.”

“People come in and they have their arms full of bric a brac things, they didn’t think they were going to buy much, but they end up with their arms full.”

She says that for customers “it gives you a lot of freedom if your clothes are cheaper, there’s not such a barrier. If you are wanting to change your style it’s a great way.”

Boese says that the ReStore has given her valuable work experience, which aided her in her search for part time employment.

“Volunteering here allowed me to find my feet, I knew I could do something.”

Boese met a customer through the ReStore who referred her to his sister who worked in a cleaning company, where Boese found a paid job.