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Habitat for Humanity ReStore: Weight Estimation Method

Habitat for Humanity, a non-profit organization, was founded in 1965 by Millard and Linda Fuller. Habitat for Humanity’s mission is to build houses for those who are in need. The organization has expanded over the years and now Habitat for Humanity is a world-wide organization that has aided in building more than 800,000 houses by 2013. In order to aid Habitat for Humanity’s mission, Restore receives and sells a vast amount of donations and donates its profits to the corporation.

The ReStore receives unused or partially used housing materials as donations from individuals, local retailers, and other businesses. Then, it resells the materials at 50 -75% below retail prices. In this way, the ReStore benefits the environment by preventing a significant amount of materials from being sent to the landfill. It also benefits the community by providing quality and highly affordable building materials to the public. However, their system of tracking donations is in need of an upgrade. We developed a method to determine the actual tonnage of materials that are donated to the ReStore.

Goals and Objectives
Our goal was to create, test, and teach a method of weight estimation to determine the tonnage of materials brought into the ReStore so that it can utilize this information to apply for future grants. To meet our goal, our objectives and a brief description of our methods are listed here:

  1. Conduct a detailed site assessment
  2. Identify weights and categories
  3. Create a database
  4. Formulate protocols

When we conducted our site assessment we worked with employees to better understand how the ReStore operated its business. We also be conducted interviews with administration and frequent volunteers. In identifying weights and categories, we divided the departments the ReStore has provided us into sub categories of donations and integrated a process for weighing the donated items into the donation process. Next we created our database with our weight of donations and programed it so that it updates regularly. Lastly, we decided on a method of weight estimation and taught it to ReStore administration so that they may use it in the future. We also be created a manual that outlines our methods and addresses any troubleshooting that may occur.

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