Meet the Stewarts! Steve and Angel are longtime volunteers at our HabiJax ReStores. They are incredibly passionate about the mission and enjoy giving back to their community! Read their story below.
Steve and Angel Stewart moved to Jacksonville last summer. Soon after, they began volunteering at our HabiJax ReStore on 103rd Street to fulfil volunteer requirements, but choosing to serve with HabiJax meant so much more.
The couple explained how they chose HabiJax because of the mission. “It’s to show the love of God to those who wouldn’t, necessarily, see it on a regular basis,” Steve said. “Seeing something like that is something that I can get behind and put some muscle with. Don’t talk about the change; be the change. As you become the change, then things will change. I saw an organization, Habitat for Humanity, which does this. We had an opportunity to come out and get our hands on it. It was something we felt like we could stick with and not just be a one-and-done.”
While volunteering, Angel said she likes the fact that she gets to help others have great furniture. “You go in the back and kind of figure out what’s salvageable and what’s not,” she explained. “You clean up these items that are to be sold, and it’s nicely priced. It’s better than going to a regular furniture store and paying all that money when you can just come to the ReStore and help everybody out. Everybody is being a change.”
Steve said he likes that he can help repurpose items that could’ve been thrown away. “The ReStore gives an opportunity to repurpose and to give purpose to what could’ve not had purpose,” he said. Although he has stepped into every volunteer role at the ReStore, Steve noted that, overall, he just likes being able to contribute.
“There’s never a typical day at the ReStore,” Steve said. They both mentioned how their volunteer work, at the ReStore, has helped them learn to be flexible. Angel said, “The more flexible you are, the easier things get.”
Both Steve and Angel said they enjoy working with Alphonso, the 103rd Street ReStore Assistant Manager. Steve mentioned that he also likes working with Jordon, one of the store’s Service Associates. “Jordon is the perfect combination of humble and hungry. He’s here to help serve the purpose,” said Steve. “He and Alphonso have a heart for the mission and are both willing to do whatever it takes to get the job done.”
Looking back, Angel reflected on one of her favorite volunteer days. “There was a group of us painting tables,” she recalled. “Everyone was working together as a team and everyone was complementing each other on their tables. It was awesome that everybody worked well together and accomplished a mission. Everyone knew what we were here for and we got it done.”
Steve also brought up a memorable day when he was truly touched during his shift. “I was here one Saturday and a guy’s house had caught on fire, and he lost a good portion of everything,” Steve explains. “The ReStore staff was able to help him re-furnish his house for around $1,000, and this wasn’t the cheap stuff. People and companies, now, are more about profit than purpose. You all seek more for purpose than profit. Why wouldn’t I want to contribute in order to enhance and embellish the purpose?”
In the future, the couple plans to continue volunteering at the ReStore.
“It’s a good place to go,” said Steve. Your time, your energy and your effort will be put to good use. It is a mission worth supporting and a vision worth embellishing. Habitat for Humanity does good work to people all around. You don’t have to need it to feed it. I don’t need a house, but that doesn’t mean that I can’t feed into someone else’s dream to either provide or to help with getting a home. We help do that through the sales and donation sorting. It’s all a part of the big picture.”
Steve and Angel agree that volunteer work is something that is important.
“Volunteering is the only activity that, consistently, keeps your mind off of you,” Steve said. “It creates the balance of selflessness that kills selfishness. As you take care of others, you leave room to come along and take of you. We’re all creatures of need, and when we focus on the needs of others, we create an opportunity for someone to focus on our needs.”
The couple, recently, celebrated their sixth wedding anniversary in March and both love the fact that they get to volunteer together. “Life is done better together,” Steve said. When we volunteer, it is a different opportunity to create more memories with the one that I’ve committed to creating memories with. It’s easier to stay together the more you do together.”
In their spare time, Steve and Angel enjoy exploring the Bold City and trying new restaurants. They said that they enjoy the weather and diversity that Jacksonville has to offer.