Concentration of CO2 in the Atmosphere

Fostering Hope with a Dryer?

The COVER Store offers tools and building materials at affordable prices. (Photo by Alex Wells)

Helen Hong

Ask anyone why they shop at the COVER Store in downtown White River Junction, and you will get a myriad of answers. “The Store has a funky, rolling yard sale vibe. The staff is helpful, and they know what’s on hand or where to look.” “I try to buy used before buying new at a big-box store.” “I am remodeling my house and 80% of the appliances, fixtures, and furniture are from COVER.”

The treasure-hunt for a bargain is intoxicating. Buying a used item reduces our environmental footprint and landfill waste. Some are artists who upcycle or repurpose discarded items into objects of beauty and new use. Or a DIY-er might find building materials and tools at affordable prices, like doors priced between $15 and $50 or a pound of nails for $1.

The COVER Store recently opened its newest enterprise: a bookstore on the streetside of its building. Cover to COVER Books sells high-quality used books that are sorted and curated by book-enthusiast volunteers. With most books priced between $1 and $5, anyone can browse and perhaps bring a book or two (or a box-full) home.

COVER’s home repair staff installed ten feet of handrail, so a community member could walk up and down his front steps safely. (Courtesy photo)

Last year, shoppers and donors to the COVER Store diverted 75 tons of appliances, building materials, books, and housewares from the landfill. Store profits funded 29% of COVER’s home repair and weatherization program. Since 1998, COVER Home Repair has been bringing volunteers and trained staff together to complete urgent home repairs for low-income homeowners in the Upper Valley. Last year COVER built ten accessibility ramps for safe entry and exit from a home, 12 roofs and nine insulated skirtings for mobile homes, and completed over 50 smaller repairs to make homes warm, safe, and dry.

But did you know that shopping at, or donating to, the COVER Store can change a neighbor’s life?

Last summer, Al contacted COVER to help make his modest home more functional. Despite a healthy lifestyle, Al was diagnosed with diabetes when he started having trouble with his feet. He eventually had five toes amputated. Al doesn’t drive, and his declining health makes employment difficult. His doctors are treating his diabetes-related complications and various charities and caring friends help him with groceries, lot rent and transportation needs. Al called COVER because he needed a handrail for his stairs after his amputation, and because his clothes dryer had stopped working.

COVER’s home repair staff installed ten feet of handrail, so Al could walk up and down his front steps safely. When a dryer was donated to the COVER Store, COVER was able to supply it free of charge to Al through its voucher program. Handrails and a dryer may not seem like much, but to Al it showed that his community cared and created a sense of security and hope.

So, the next time you are near the junction of I-89 and I-91, drop into the COVER Store at 158 South Main Street in White River Junction. You may end up finding a bargain and helping the environment and a neighbor at the same time!

Learn more at

Helen Hong is the Executive Director of COVER Home Repair.

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