Habitat volunteer honored for decades of service
Last updated 8/24/2022 at Noon
Jan Baldwin was part of the team that established Sisters Habitat for Humanity in 1991. In 1993, she was asked to help open the Thrift Store, operated to raise funds for the building program and to offer low-cost goods to local families.
Baldwin and her husband, Frank, moved to Sisters from Alamo, California in 1989. The couple cherished their family time vacationing in Sisters Country. They knew that eventually they wanted to retire in the area. Jan believes when you move to a new place, volunteering is a good way to meet nice people and give back to your community. Her philosophy proved to be correct — and Sisters folks have certainly benefited from her hard work.
The little house that Habitat first occupied for its thrift store was demolished, and they moved into the two-story building on Main Avenue.
“It was easy to do for me. Kathy Goodwin and I were co-chairs,” Baldwin recalled. “Her husband, Sam Goodwin, who was a realtor, found a place to sublet next to Angeline’s Bakery. Kathy and I were part of the original team to start the thrift store. There were so many others who were part of the efforts. My husband, Frank,and Kathy’s husband, Sam, were incredibly helpful. We couldn’t have done it without them.”
Last week, Baldwin received an award for her service and volunteer hours with Habitat for Humanity. She was given the President’s Lifetime Achievement Award for 4,000 hours of service.
“Actually,” she said, doing a few calculations, “I’ve volunteered for over 16,000 hours with the Thrift Store.”
Baldwin, who prefers serving out of the limelight, is always quick to point out that many people were responsible for the Thrift Store’s success.
“It was lovely receiving the award and much appreciated. Sharlene Weed and Carmel Johnson did a fine job during the presentation,” she said.
Baldwin received a large, framed print signed by the President of the United States.
Much more comfortable talking about the Thrift Store than herself, Baldwin reminisced about the growth and transitions the store has made over the years.
“We remodeled the two-story building and opened May of 1993. Over time, we outgrew the space due to all the lovely donations we received,” said Baldwin.
Running out of space wasn’t the only problem with the location.
“My husband Frank had built dressing rooms in the carport in back of the home where the store was located. They had dirt floors and were just little things. One morning when I was opening the shop and cleaning out the dressing rooms, I saw that there were icicles in the dressing rooms,” she said, laughing.
After eight years working full-time as a volunteer managing the Thrift Store, in 2000, Baldwin retired, or more accurately shifted gears and took some time off — at least from the Thrift Store. She continued volunteering for other organizations and giving back to her community.
When Sisters Habitat for Humanity was able to open a thrift store in the old Sisters Drug building in 2019, Baldwin was thrilled. She began volunteering again for the store, working in the back room sorting donations with about a dozen other volunteers. The back room is a bustling, busy place where donations are cleaned, processed, and organized before arriving on the store shelves.
Baldwin loves running into customers who often feel like family. She enjoys catching up with people who have been coming in for years. It’s also a treat when she attends groundbreaking ceremonies for new Habitat homeowners.
“I enjoy meeting the families and sometimes volunteering with them in the back room,” she said.
Among her cherished memories are Christmas seasons when children shop in the Thrift Store for their parents and siblings..
“We wrap their gifts for them so they can have something special under the tree,” she said. “That’s a nice time for me. It’s all about helping others.”
Volunteering is something Baldwin always recommends. Working at the Thrift Store with people who share a spirit of giving and volunteerism has allowed Baldwin to meet so many like-minded people.
“You get paid in friendships and the many wonderful things that happen day to day,” she said.
To learn more about volunteering with Sisters Habitat for Humanity visit https://
sistershabitat.org/volunteer, or call Kristina at 541-549-1193, or email [email protected]
sistershabitat.org. There are one-hour volunteer orientations Tuesday through Thursday at noon. Jan Baldwin hopes to see you soon.