Debra Pashkowsky arrived at a Manatee County Habitat for Humanity jobsite in 2012, just weeks after she handed in her resignation at her former desk job at the County Clerk’s office. “I always knew I was going to volunteer at Habitat when I retired,” noted Debra. After falling in love with Habitat that first day, she began volunteering regularly. She is a well-rounded Habitat volunteer; working on the Family Services Committee, in the administrative office, and she has also been out on the jobsite.
Early on in her time with Manatee Habitat, Debra was introduced to the Women Build program. Women Build, underwritten by Lowe’s, is a program of Habitat for Humanity International that empowers women to address the crisis of children in poverty by building homes with families in need. Women volunteers lead all aspects of projects - including construction, fundraising and marketing. Debra was so motivated by the new construction skills she was learning, and so inspired by all of the Habitat families around her who were fulfilling their dreams of homeownership, that she decided to pursue one of her lifelong dreams for herself.
Utilizing the skills she learned on the jobsite, Debra began woodworking and repurposing old furniture and pallets. Soon she was creating furniture, art, fixtures, decor and more. “I never thought I would be using power tools,” she said, “and now I have a garage full of them!” Debra was enjoying her projects so much that she decided to open her own business, named Shoppe No. 5. “I started taking classes at Suncoast Technical College, learning how to start my own blog and Etsy business,” she stated, noting that her inventory will be available soon on her site, ShoppeNo5.com.
View some of Debra’s pieces on Instagram.
Debra’s first stop when searching for materials is, of course, the Manatee Habitat ReStore. “I tell everyone to go to the ReStore when looking for anything,” she laughed, “I comb through both stores all the time. I want everyone to donate to Manatee Habitat if you can. Donate time, donate money, donate to the ReStore... just donate. I see all of these homeowners’ dreams coming true. Now mine is, too, because of Habitat.”