Volunteer FAQ

Can I just show up at the build site or ReStore?

Please do not just show up to volunteer without signing up first. We have a limit for the number of volunteers that can volunteer at one time. Also, as you will see as you read on, safety is our #1 priority. You need to fill out a waiver and complete some safety training. It is important we have emergency contact information too.

How do I complete the liability waiver?

If you are 18 years or older, the liability waiver will be completed online at the link:

https://www.habitatnrv.org/volunteer/

If you are under 18 years old, or having issues with the electronic waiver you may print out the form or complete your waiver at our offices in the back of the ReStore. Please fill out the waiver completely and print legibly.

How do I sign up to volunteer?

Please start this process at least a week before you want to volunteer:

Please complete your required online safety course, instructions are on our Volunteer Page.

If you already completed safety training, and have not filled out the waiver, please complete it.

What safety courses do volunteers need?

We require construction volunteers to complete “Volunteering on a Habitat for Humanity Job Site”

ReStore volunteers need to take “Restore Safety and Loss Control for Volunteers”

(by 2 business days before your volunteer date. Each will take approximately 5-10 minutes to complete).
 

Can safety courses count toward my volunteer hours?

Yes, safety courses can count toward hours. Please forward courses you have taken to volunteer@habitatnrv.org. We also receive safety certificates shortly after completion to confirm hours.

 

How do I access safety courses?

Go to https://hfhaffiliateinsurance.com/ and Click “BEGIN NOW”

The access code should be “W8NAEBTG”, it is generated

in the left column when you click “BEGIN NOW”.

You will be redirected to the course directory page where you will find our safety courses.

Please be sure to watch the complete course.

Please take the short quiz at the end.

Please “Submit” your name (and Virginia as the state) for a completion certificate to be sent to “Habitat for Humanity Inc of the New River Valley.

*** You are encouraged to print or screenshot your “congratulations page” and or your course completion emails in case. Then you will have proof on a device or paper that you can show to a manager at the build site or ReStore when volunteering. ***

Do I need to take safety courses more than once?

You only have to redo safety courses when it is substantially changed. We will let you know. But, if you take them once, you should be good for a long time and not have to retake them for many years.

Should I take other safety courses?

Additional courses can count toward volunteer hours and be beneficial.

For construction volunteers, the other courses in the second column of the course directory (except defensive driving and ReStore Safety) are valuable (we highly recommend ladder safety and power tool safety), but these are not required.

For ReStore volunteers, if you are interested in additional courses, we highly recommend “Back Safety” and “Workplace Safety for Employees”, but these are not required.

When do I need to complete safety courses?

** Asap, if you don’t complete your required safety courses by 2 business days before your volunteer date, you may not be allowed to volunteer (we keep a waiting list, and you may lose your spot). We are notified when your training has been completed. **

What should I do if I am having trouble with safety courses?

If your computer (tablet, phone, etc.) has issues, please use a different device and/or browser. You can also arrange to come to our ReStore and take courses if you do not have access to a computer or internet. 

How do I sign up for a group build day?

In order to reserve a day on behalf of a group, email your group volunteer’s names and email addresses to volunteer@habitatnrv.org (you may send this information directly, send a Google Sheet, attach a Word Document, link to a web page, etc.) We must make sure members are signed up individually to electronically sign waivers and receive safety training instructions and reminders.

Please make sure you keep Volunteer Coordinator informed of any add/drops (even up to the last minute).

Please make sure that your individual teammates complete their online safety training at least 2 business days before your volunteer date (otherwise some of your spots could be dropped by a waitlist volunteer).

What is the maximum number of people that can volunteer at the build?

10
 

For larger groups, please contact the Volunteer Coordinator at volunteer@habitatnrv.org or call (540) 381-1144.

Please make sure you keep the Volunteer Coordinator informed of any add/drops (even up to the last minute).

What is the time commitment for construction crew?

Please be at the build by 9 am for safety instructions and building instructions. There is a break for lunch, and the day wraps up by 3 pm.

 

If you have to leave before 3 pm, please contact the Volunteer Coordinator at volunteer@habitatnrv.org or call the office. We will communicate with the Construction Manager to make sure it is okay.

Please do not show up after 9 am. 9 am is the start of our work day and when the Construction Manager gives safety and build instructions for the day. Please do not rely on your friends or co-workers to “catch you up to speed” if you arrive late. Safety is the most important aspect of our build. It is imperative that a volunteer “check in” with our Construction Manager when you arrive to the build.

Do I need to have any building skills?

We welcome everyone. The only skills necessary is the willingness to work, and follow directions on a construction site safely. You will be taught everything you need to know.

If you do have construction experience, that’s fantastic!

What will happen on the build site?

At 9 am, Dan Crowder, our Construction Project Manager will welcome you and provide safety and building instructions. Sometimes you will be building walls, painting, installing cabinets, or any number of things that it takes to build a townhome. This work sometimes includes using power tools. Dan (or another build supervisor) will give you specific instructions and guidance to complete your task.

At around 12 noon, there will be a 30-45 minute break for lunch.

At around 3:00 pm cleanup will start. Everyone is welcome to leave after cleanup is completed.

Will power tools be used by volunteers?

Power tools will be used by volunteers at the build. We recommend taking Power Tool Safety Course if you are not experienced with using power tools.

Will lunch be provided at the build?

Lunch is typically not provided. Please bring your own lunch, or you will have time to walk or drive to get lunch. Our build is within somewhat easy walking distance to some restaurants downtown.

Typically, lunchtime is around 12 noon.

When do construction volunteers stop working?

Cleanup usually starts around 3:00 pm (sometimes earlier). Please plan to stay until cleanup is finished. The workday will end after the site is clean and tools have been put away.

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What is the maximum number of people that can volunteer at the ReStore?

Typically, 2 is the maximum number of people who can volunteer at the ReStore per shift.

Several times a year there are larger ReStore projects that need more than 2 volunteers. Typically, as a registered volunteer, you will receive an email notification about these special projects and they will be displayed on the calendar.

For larger groups (3+), please contact the Volunteer Coordinator at

volunteer@habitatnrv.org or call the office.

Do I need to have any retail skills?

We welcome everyone. The only skills necessary is the willingness to work in a retail store environment. You will be taught everything you need to know. If you do have retail experience, that’s fantastic!

What will happen at the ReStore when I arrive?

At the start of your shift, our ReStore General Manager, or an Assistant ReStore Manager will welcome you and provide safety and work instructions. Sometimes you will be receiving donations at our dock, organizing shelves, rearranging the store, cleaning, painting, organizing our warehouse, etc. or any number of things that it takes to run a successful retail store. They will give you specific instructions and guidance to complete your task.

Where is the ReStore?

1675 N. Franklin Street, Christiansburg. It is across the street from the Christiansburg Rec Center.

When am I supposed to show up at the ReStore (time commitment)?

Please be at the ReStore at the beginning of your shift for safety and work instructions.

There are 2 shifts per day:

10 am – 2 pm

2 – 5 pm

Will lunch or dinner be provided at the ReStore?

Lunch and dinner are typically not provided. Please have your lunch or dinner before or after your shift. Our ReStore is within easy walking distance to McDonalds and Sam’s Hot Dog Stand.

When do we stop working at the ReStore?

Please plan to stay until the end of your shift. Please check with Jodie or the Assistant Manager before you leave for the day.

There are 2 shifts per day:

11 am – 2 pm

2 – 5 pm

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What about inclement weather?

If there is inclement weather forecasted for your volunteer date (that will prevent from building or driving to the ReStore or construction site), you will receive an email ideally 24 hours in advance telling you that your day has been cancelled. Please know that cancellation is more common during winter months, but inclement weather can happen anytime so always check the day before.

If you have concerns about the weather for your build, please contact the Volunteer Coordinator at volunteer@habitatnrv.org or call the office at (540) 381-1144.

If you have concerns about weather and road conditions when driving to the ReStore, please reach out to Jodie at jodie@habitatnrv.org or call the ReStore at (540) 381-1155 if the day has not been cancelled and you are unable to make it.

What are the security procedures?/What if I see someone suspicious?

Security must be maintained. Concealed weapons, drugs, or alcoholic beverages of any kind are absolutely not permitted. Violators will be asked to leave. If you see someone suspicious, let a manger know!

Can children volunteer?

Typically, no one under 16 years old is allowed to volunteer at the ReStore or build site. Volunteers under 18 years-old that are at least 16 need to have a guardian’s consent to be allowed. Children 13+ can volunteer if there is an adult who volunteers at the same time, and we have a child-friendly activity for them to do. Please contact the Volunteer Coordinator at –volunteer@habitatnrv.org to find out if there are child-friendly volunteer opportunities coming up.

Should I bring personal items with me?

Personal valuables will not be completely safe. We accept no responsibility for lost or stolen items. We highly recommend that you do not bring items that you consider valuable.

Should I bring my own tools?

Personal safety equipment (gloves, eye protection, hard hats) and tools are provided, but you may bring your own if you like. HFHNRV strongly suggests that you identify/label your tools and equipment.

What should I wear?

Please wear comfortable clothes appropriate for the work and weather. Wear items that can get stained, ripped, muddy, paint-spackled, etc. Shirts must have at least a t-shirt length sleeve. You must wear closed toed shoes – do not wear flip flops, backless shoes or Crocs. For safety, do not wear loose, oversized clothing or dangling jewelry. Summer months can be hot/humid (shorts are okay then.) You are encouraged to wear sunscreen if you are outside on the build site during a hot, summer day. It can get cold in the winter (wear layers) when volunteering at the ReStore or build site. Dress appropriately.
 

Can I bring a pet? / Is there a policy about animals?

Pets are not allowed at the ReStore or Build Site (by volunteers). Dogs can be brought into the ReStore by customers. If you see a dog without its owner nearby, please alert someone.

We discourage volunteers from feeding stray or wild animals. If you see a stray or wild animal on the premises, please let us know.
 

Is there a media policy?

Media reporters in the New River Valley and surrounding areas are always welcome to cover activities and events. If you see a media reporter – instantly alert a Habitat staff member. If you are part of a group and intend to bring media reporters, we ask that you let us know before you arrange them to come.