News

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Stay Safe Stay Fit Press Release

Habitat Youth Asks Community to Get Back on Track with Fitness and Make a Difference with the Stay Safe, Stay Fit Virtual Fitness Fundraiser

Somerville, NJ (March 29, 2021) — While the end of the pandemic may seem closer than it’s ever been before, staying home and continuing to social distance has never been more important. And while gyms are still operating at half capacity or closed altogether, Raritan Valley Habitat for Humanity (RVHFH) understands the need to stay fit while staying at home! The community is invited to join RVHFH and Habitat Youth during the weekend of April 16th, 2021 to April 18th, 2021 to continue stay at home, stay fit, and save lives.

Habitat Youth, members of seven Habitat service groups representing local high schools in Hunterdon and Somerset counties, has created a virtual community fitness event – Stay Safe, Stay Fit. The purpose of this event is to help individuals and families stay physically fit, build virtual camaraderie and to support RV Habitat’s mission of providing affordable housing opportunities to build strength, stability and self-reliance for area families. Having a safe place to live has never been more necessary and important than it is in the unprecedented time we live in now.

Register today using the link below to support those in need and to enjoy some fun, energizing at-home exercise classes! To register, participants will be asked to donate a minimum of $10 for adults, $5 for senior citizens and $1 for students to join our challenge. Families can also choose to register together for a fee of $15. All participants will receive access to a private Facebook group where we’ll share encouragement, original artwork from youth, and invitation-only free fitness classes from local businesses. Registrants can make an even greater impact by asking friends and family to use the registration link to sponsor their participation.

Habitat Youth will be awarding prizes to those who want to do a bit extra to participate as well! Whoever earns the most likes on a Facebook or Instagram post of their Stay Safe, Stay Fit experiences, or the most likes on a post about what HOME means to them using #RVHFHStaySafeStayFit will earn a prize. Posts that do NOT use the hashtag will not be counted. Participants who win our daily themed contests will also receive a prize, and at the end of the week, all Stay Safe Stay Fit participants will receive a virtual certificate of completion.

Contact: Brittany Powelson
Telephone: 908-704-0016 x14
Email: bpowelson@rvhabitat.org
Website: www.rvhabitat.org

Be sure to register and tune in to the Facebook group on Thursday, April 15th, 2021 to join the Habitat Youth for a fun Kickoff Video! See the flyer listed on this page for more information.

StaySafeStayFit flyer
Click to download the flyer

Local fitness professionals who want to give back to their community at this time can contribute a video fitness class for the event by emailing ialston@rvhabitat.org. Links will need to be submitted no later than April 12th, 2021. Register here: https://rvhabitat.org/stay-safe-stay-fit-event/

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About Raritan Valley Habitat for Humanity
Raritan Valley Habitat for Humanity (RVHFH) puts God’s love into action and brings people together to build homes, communities, and hope. Our vision is a time when everyone in Hunterdon and Somerset counties has a decent place to live. Since 1991, RV Habitat has been building strength, stability, and self-reliance through affordable home ownership opportunities for hard-working, local families. To support these projects by making a donation, please visit www.rvhabitat.org/give or mail a donation to Raritan Valley Habitat for Humanity, P.O. Box 6275 Bridgewater, NJ 08807. For individuals (ages 16+) and groups who would like to volunteer on the Montgomery Township build site, visit rvhabitat.org/volunteer.

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RVHFH Partners with Lowes for International Women Build Week

Raritan Valley Habitat for Humanity and Lowe’s to address COVID-19’s disproportionate impact on women during International Women Build Week

Somerville, NJ (March 8, 2021) – Raritan Valley Habitat for Humanity and Lowe’s are partnering to raise awareness of the global need for safe and affordable housing for women during International Women Build Week (March 8-15). On International Women’s Day, Habitat and Lowe’s will kick off more than 300 Women Build projects supporting women-led households across the United States, Canada, and India to drive awareness and address the need.

Women have been disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, from job loss to evictions and foreclosures. According to The National Women’s Law Center, 80 percent of U.S. jobs lost during the COVID-19 pandemic were held by women. The United Nations (UN) has reported that 40 percent of all employed women globally work in the industries hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Raritan Valley Habitat for Humanity’s vision is a time when everyone in Hunterdon and Somerset Counties has a decent place to live. The need is greater than ever,” says Melissa Flynn, Executive Director of Raritan Valley Habitat for Humanity.

Despite the unprecedented challenges women are facing, women remain on the frontlines of the pandemic as essential workers, as caretakers within their households, and too often have to make the difficult decision between maintaining a place to call home and paying for food, health care, childcare, education or reliable transportation. Harvard University’s State of the Nation’s Housing 2020 report revealed that 37.1 million U.S. households spent more than 30 percent of their incomes on housing in 2019, including 17.6 million spending more than 50 percent. The effects of the pandemic have further highlighted the need for safe and affordable housing, as 29 percent of renters and 36 percent of homeowners experienced employment income loss between March and September of 2020.

Cicely, Raritan Valley Habitat for Humanity’s current future homeowner searched for an affordable home with adequate space for her family for ten years. Although she is gainfully employed as an office manager, she was frequently told her income was too low.

This story is not unique. Every day, millions of women face the challenge of a future without adequate, stable housing. This issue underscores the importance of Habitat and Lowe’s efforts to bring awareness to the issue, as well as a partnership focused on ensuring that more women have access to affordable housing.

Lowe’s and Habitat’s partnership began in 2003. To date, the program has brought together more than 143,000 women volunteers who have built or repaired nearly 6,000 houses. Lowe’s has committed more than $78 million to support the global housing nonprofit’s efforts, including the Women Build program, International Women Build Week, and Habitat’s Neighborhood Revitalization program. Lowe’s support of Habitat has helped more than 18,000 Habitat partner families improve their living conditions.

To learn more or join the conversation, visit habitat.org/womenbuild or follow #BuildHer and #WomenBuild on social media to share and view stories from around the world.

About Raritan Valley Habitat for Humanity
Raritan Valley Habitat for Humanity (RVHFH) puts God’s love into action and brings people together to build homes, communities, and hope. Our vision is a time when everyone in Hunterdon and Somerset counties has a decent place to live. Since 1991, RV Habitat has been building strength, stability, and self-reliance through affordable home ownership opportunities for hard-working, local families. To support these projects by making a donation, please visit www.rvhabitat.org/give or mail a donation to Raritan Valley Habitat for Humanity, P.O. Box 6275 Bridgewater, NJ 08807. For individuals (ages 16+) and groups who would like to volunteer on the Montgomery Township buwwild site, visit rvhabitat.org/volunteer.

About Lowe’s in the Community       
As a FORTUNE® 50 home improvement company, Lowe’s is committed to creating safe, affordable housing and helping to develop the next generation of skilled trade experts through nonprofit partnerships. Across every community we serve, Lowe’s associates donate their time and expertise through the Lowe’s Heroes volunteer program. For the latest news, visit Newsroom.Lowes.com or follow @LowesMedia on Twitter.

Theft of RVHFH Building Materials

Raritan Valley Habitat for Humanity confirms theft of building materials at new home site in Montgomery Township, NJ

Bridgewater, NJ (February 18, 2021) – The Raritan Valley Chapter of Habitat for Humanity (RVHFH) has confirmed the theft of building materials at their newest homesite located on Willow Road in Belle Mead, New Jersey. The organization reported to the Montgomery Township Police Department that when construction manager Dave Polomski arrived at the home site on Tuesday, February 2, 2021, he noticed that all the lumber purchased to complete the framing of the home was missing.

Partner Family Home
The home is for a single mother and her five children who are in high school and college. The family has been working alongside of volunteers so they can move into their new home in late spring 2021. The theft is likely to move out the project’s completion and the family’s move-in date.

“What is heart breaking about this robbery is that it brings the work on this new home to a stop,” said Meg Helms, Board of Directors President at Raritan Valley Habitat for Humanity. “Many may assume that our projects are fully funded and can continue if a loss like this occurs. The truth of the matter is that we rely on fundraising and as we build homes as we receive donations from the community. With this current situation, we have to hope that we can accelerate donations to get the build of the family’s home back on track.”

About Raritan Valley Habitat for Humanity
Habitat for Humanity is a non-profit organization that offers a hand up and not a hand-out. Families partner with RVHFH to build and improve their own homes alongside volunteers, and each owner pays an affordable mortgage with a zero percent interest rate. Raritan Valley Habitat for Humanity is the local affiliate of Habitat for Humanity, serving families in Somerset and Hunterdon counties. During this unprecedented time the affiliate has continued to slowly construct one home. In 2021 the hope is to build a two-family home and assist struggling homeowners with small outdoor repairs through the Brush with Kind program.

How you can help
Anyone wishing to join as a volunteer at the homesite when construction restarts or would like to help accelerate the build the Caldwell Family home can make a donation directly to the Raritan Valley Habitat for Humanity website at www.rvhabitat.org or via mail at Raritan Valley Habitat for Humanity, P.O. Box 6275 Bridgewater, NJ 08807.

New Executive Director and Board Members

New Executive Director and Three New Board Members Join Raritan Valley Habitat for Humanity

Somerville, New Jersey (February 16, 2021) – Raritan Valley Habitat for Humanity (RVHFH) announces the appointment of three new members to its Board of Directors, and the hiring of a new Executive Director. Joining the Board of Directors are Renee Casey, Ellen Harris, and Michael Scribner. The new Executive Director is Melissa Flynn.

Melissa Flynn joins RV Habitat for Humanity after serving as the Operations Director with Warren County Habitat for Humanity (WCHFH). Flynn joined the Warren Habitat affiliate in 2008 as a volunteer on various committee and projects, and ultimately moved into a project management position to oversee the construction of a Warren Habitat ReStore. She proceeded into the Operations Director position, overseeing all aspects of WCHFH including planning a community center that will open this spring. Flynn takes over the Executive Director position upon the retirement of Jan Holmstrup, who served in the position since 2016 with important and impactful accomplishments, including opening the Habitat ReStore in Manville.

“We are thrilled to welcome Melissa Flynn to the RVHFH family,” remarked Meg Helms, RVHFH Board of Directors President. “Besides her extremely valuable 12 years of prior Habitat experience, her friendly and outgoing nature are a great fit for our team, as they have been in all of the civic endeavors she pursues. Her contributions to her Warren County community include serving as a member of the PTA, a Sunday school teacher, preschool leader, and even as a women’s fitness class leader. Her energy and drive are admirable, and she is sure to make a positive impact for families in our community. We are honored to introduce her as our Executive Director.”

The first of the new Board of Director appointees is Renee Casey, a Senior Director of Strategic Capabilities and Customer Experience at Johnson & Johnson Medical Devices. Ms. Casey brings a depth of experience in leadership, customer engagement, sales, and marketing, and will help to strengthen strategic fundraising and marketing efforts at RVHFH. Her involvement with Habitat for Humanity started years ago as a volunteer in Trenton with St. Borromeo Church and now in Raritan Valley. Ms. Casey said “When I read that Habitat was building a home in my own backyard in Montgomery, I was inspired to get involved at the organization level. I am excited to accelerate Habitat’s mission and to build homes for deserving families in Somerset and Hunterdon Counties.”

Ellen Harris, Esq. is Senior Counsel at Norris McLaughlin, PA Attorneys at Law, based in Bridgewater, and joins her colleague Tim McKeown on the Board of Directors. Ms. Harris has wide-ranging experience negotiating and creating comprehensive agreements for construction projects, low-income housing tax credit transactions, multi-family housing development, and related expertise that will strengthen RVHFH’s work in providing affordable housing opportunities in the community. She tells us, “I am truly excited about serving on the RVHFH Board. My family has had a long-standing commitment to Habitat for Humanity starting in Daytona Beach, so the mission has been fostered and encouraged over the last 30 years. I was an integral part of the municipal team that made land available to Habitat in Newark. The reward of my career in housing is manifested in the joy of seeing families receiving a home of their own.”

Michael Scribner is a co-owner at BH Wireless LLC, overseeing the daily operation of various Verizon locations and Apple repair centers. Mr. Scribner has extensive experience overseeing retail operations at stores throughout the northeast, and his experience will be integral in creating relationships and partnerships with small businesses in the communities that RVHFH serves. When asked why he joined the RV Habitat Board of Directors, Mr. Scribner said that “Affordable housing is an issue which affects many Americans, and many families in our area. Joining the Habitat Board affords me a greater opportunity to focus on this issue rather than just making just a financial contribution.”

“I am excited to tackle the changes we will have to make to accomplish our mission of bringing people together to build communities, homes and hope during this unprecedented time in our lives,” said Melissa Flynn, RVHFH Executive Director. “The appointment of three new Board members revitalizes and strengthens our board, which will help us to continue expanding our presence and services in the region, and I look forward to what’s to come.”

About Raritan Valley Habitat for Humanity
Raritan Valley Habitat for Humanity (RVHFH) puts God’s love into action and brings people together to build homes, communities, and hope. Our vision is a time when everyone in Hunterdon and Somerset counties has a decent place to live. Since 1991, RV Habitat has been building strength, stability, and self-reliance through affordable home ownership opportunities for hard-working, local families. To support these projects by making a donation, please visit www.rvhabitat.org/give or mail a donation to Raritan Valley Habitat for Humanity, P.O. Box 6275 Bridgewater, NJ 08807. For individuals (ages 16+) and groups who would like to volunteer on the Montgomery Township build site, visit www.rvhabitat.org/volunteer.

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Thrivent/RV Habitat News Release

Thrivent and Raritan Valley Habitat for Humanity partner to help families stay in their homes during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Somerville, New Jersey (Dec. 29, 2020) – Thrivent is awarding Raritan Valley Habitat for Humanity (RV Habitat) a contribution of $5,000 to help families in Hunterdon and Somerset Counties stay in their homes. Thrivent’s donation will allow Habitat to provide mortgage relief to Habitat homeowners who need temporary assistance making their mortgage payments during the COVID-19 pandemic. With Thrivent’s support, RV Habitat will sustain affordable homeownership costs for its homeowner families in Hunterdon and Somerset Counties.

Prior to the spread of the novel coronavirus, more than 18 million households across the U.S. were paying half or more of their income on a place to live. As the pandemic continues to cause job disruption and economic fallout, many households are enduring lay-offs, unemployment, and pay cuts. This wage loss has amplified the financial burden on households to maintain essential payments and can result in families having to trade-off between bills, mortgage, or medical care.

“We’re thankful for Thrivent’s financial support to provide critical funding during this challenging time,” said Jan Holmstrup, Executive Director at Raritan Valley Habitat for Humanity. “It will go a long way to help defray the costs of monthly housing for our homeowners who have been financially affected by the pandemic. It will also provide them a great amount of relief during the holiday season.”

RV Habitat is one of 100 local Habitat organizations across the nation partnering with Thrivent to help families stay in their homes during the COVID-19 pandemic. In total, Thrivent is donating $750,000 to Habitat for Humanity to assist with mortgage-related relief and prevent foreclosures across the U.S.

“This year has been incredibly difficult for many people as financial hardship has added stress and anxiety to daily lives,” said Nikki Sorum, senior vice president of Thrivent Advisors at Thrivent. “This pandemic has underscored how important it is for people to have safe, affordable homes. Given all we have endured in 2020, we are especially honored to provide financial support to Habitat for Humanity to help people stay in their homes so they can continue to build toward financial stability.”

In 2019 Raritan Valley Habitat for Humanity was awarded a $5,000 Thrivent sponsored Building on Faith grant. In association with this grant, RV Habitat hosted a Building on Faith Community Service Day where over 100 volunteers were broken into work teams that accomplished eight maintenance projects needed by local faith-based organizations. 

Habitat for Humanity and Thrivent began their partnership in 2005. Over the past 15 years, Thrivent and their clients have contributed more than $275 million to Habitat and have partnered with families to build safe, affordable homes across the U.S. and around the world.

 

About Raritan Valley Habitat for Humanity

Raritan Valley Habitat for Humanity (RV Habitat) puts God’s love into action and brings people together to build homes, communities, and hope. Our vision is a time when everyone in Hunterdon and Somerset counties has a decent place to live. Since 1991, RV Habitat has been building strength, stability, and self-reliance through affordable home ownership opportunities for hard-working, local families. To support these projects by making a donation, please visit www.rvhabitat.org/give or mail a donation to Raritan Valley Habitat for Humanity, P.O. Box 6275 Bridgewater, NJ 08807. For individuals (ages 16+) and groups who would like to volunteer on the Montgomery Township build site, visit www.rvhabitat.org/volunteer.

 About Thrivent

Thrivent is a diversified financial services organization that helps people achieve financial clarity, enabling lives full of meaning and gratitude. As a mission-driven, membership-owned organization, it offers its more than 2 million members and customers a broad range of financial products, services and guidance. Thrivent and its subsidiary and affiliate companies offer insurance, investments, banking and advice over the phone, online as well as through financial professionals and independent agents nationwide. Thrivent is a Fortune 500 company with $152 billion in assets under management/advisement (as of 12/31/19). Thrivent carries an A++ (Superior) rating from AM Best, a credit rating agency; this is the highest of the agency’s 16 ratings categories and was affirmed in May of 2019. For more information, visit Thrivent.com. You can also find us on Facebook and Twitter.

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Montgomery Community Build Day

Raritan Valley Habitat Holds Community Build Day With Montgomery Twp. Volunteers

Somerville, NJ: A group of Montgomery Township residents set aside their busy Saturday schedules on December 12th to support the construction of Montgomery’s first Habitat home on Willow Road in the Belle Mead section of the township. It was a cloudy, cold morning, but that didn’t dampen the spirits of this eager crew who were determined to help their soon-to-be neighbors, Raritan Valley Habitat for Humanity future partner homeowner Cicely C. and one of children, her daughter Jordan.

The volunteer group included Township Committee Member, Devra Keenan; Township Administrator, Donato Nieman and his wife Roberta; two members of the Rocky Hill Rotary Club, Sharon Prosinski and Paul Blodgett; and additional township residents, Joe Giordano and Katherine Powell. Montgomery Township Mayor Sadaf Jaffer also stopped by to greet and thank the volunteers.

The volunteers worked with a circular saw spending hours cutting and then installing studs, to form the framework of the walls, windows and doors of the home. As if that weren’t enough, they also organized the site’s shed and trailer areas with new tools and equipment that had been delivered that day, to ensure easy access to items for future volunteer groups. Roberta Nieman commented, “I have always enjoyed volunteering. It is a great way to give back! I am an organizer, so I enjoyed the work and the visible improvements we were able to accomplish.”

All involved enjoyed the opportunity to meet and get to know Cicely and Jordan. Katherine Powell commented, ”The best thing about the day was meeting the homeowner and her daughter, and hearing the heartfelt gratitude for all the volunteers helping to make her dream of homeownership a reality.”

Two volunteers inquired about joining Raritan Valley Habitat’s “workday faithful” group. The workday faithful’s are a dedicated group of construction volunteers (some have been with the organization for 10 or more years) that come out every Wednesday and Thursday and perform much of the home’s construction work.

The day concluded with a lunch, generously donated by Powered Services, LLC. Meg Helms, President of RV Habitat’s Board of Directors and 33 year Montgomery Township resident, thanked the volunteers and had this to say, “I am so grateful but not at all surprised by the enthusiastic support my hometown, Montgomery, continues to provide for our first home build in the town! I personally knew half the volunteers, from the town council’s Donato Nieman and his wife, Roberta, to our wonderful Rotary club friends Paul and Sharon (a group my husband also belongs to). That community support directly benefits Cicely and her children, who I hope will grow to love Montgomery as much as we all do.”

Are you interested in getting involved in helping Cicely and her family as they build a brighter future? Whether you are a do-it-yourself home project person or an experienced construction worker seeking to join the workday faithful volunteers, there are still opportunities available to get involved. Just e-mail Iris Alston, RV Habitat Program Manager, at info@rvhabitat.org with Willow Road in the subject line.
You can also support Cicely’s home build and other projects like it by making a donation. Please visit www.rvhabitat.org/donate or you can mail a donation to Raritan Valley Habitat for Humanity, P.O. Box 6275 Bridgewater, NJ 08807.

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Charity Navigator News Release

Raritan Valley Habitat for Humanity Earns a “Give with Confidence” 100/100 Rating from Charity Navigator

Somerville, NJ (November 25, 2020) Raritan Valley Habitat for Humanity is proud to announce that its strong financial health and ongoing accountability and transparency have earned a 100/100 rating from Charity Navigator’s Encompass Rating System. This score designates RV Habitat as an official “Give with Confidence” charity, indicating that our organization is using its donations effectively based on Charity Navigator’s criteria. Charity Navigator is America’s largest and most-utilized independent charity evaluator. Since 2001, the organization has been an unbiased and trusted source of information for more than 8.5 million users annually.

The Encompass Rating System is a comprehensive evaluation tool that analyzes nonprofit performance based on four key indicators. In July 2020, Charity Navigator released the first indicator, Finance & Accountability, to highlight nonprofit organizations demonstrating fiscal responsibility. This is determined by five metrics: Program Expense Ratio, Independent Audit or Financial Review, Board Composition, Liabilities to Assets, and Website Listing. In October of 2020, this was quickly followed by the second indicator, Impact & Results, assessing how well a nonprofit delivers on its mission.

The Encompass Rating System enables Charity Navigator to increase the number of nonprofits it evaluates, growing from 9,000 to 160,000 nonprofits evaluated as of July 2020. In order to be more inclusive of smaller and more recently established nonprofits, the system uses a combination of automated methods and technology-supported manual research and analysis to provide donors and nonprofits with four clearly-visualized indicators of organizational effectiveness.

“We are delighted to provide Raritan Valley Habitat for Humanity with third-party accreditation that validates their operational excellence,” said Michael Thatcher, President and CEO of Charity Navigator. “We are eager to see the good work that the organization is able to accomplish in the years ahead.”

“Our Charity Navigator rating of 100 out of 100 through their Encompass Rating System is further validation that our supporters can trust our commitment to good governance and making the world a better place,” said Raritan Valley Habitat for Humanity Executive Director Jan Holmstrup. “We hope that it will introduce our work to new supporters who can help us advance our mission to build homes, community, and hope in Somerset and Hunterdon Counties.”

You can read more about Raritan Valley Habitat for Humanity’s Encompass rating at https://www.charitynavigator.org/ein/223126027.

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Women Build 2020 News Release

All-Female Construction Crew Volunteers in Montgomery Township for Raritan Valley Habitat for Humanity Women Build Event

Montgomery Township, NJ (October 22, 2020) – An all-female volunteer construction crew came together on a beautiful October day to take part in a Women Build event at Raritan Valley Habitat for Humanity’s newest home in Montgomery Township. The annual event welcomes individuals and volunteer teams who want to help build affordable homes for hard-working, local families in Hunterdon and Somerset Counties. This is the affiliate’s 54th home in Hunterdon and Somerset counties.

This year’s Women Build participants raised over $2,700 to help build a new home for Cicely Caldwell and her children. Over the last 16 years of Women Build events, RV Habitat has raised over $241,000. This year’s top fundraiser was Gemma Saujani from Belle Mead, who received a $100 gift certificate to Home Depot for her efforts. Gemma remarked, “It makes me feel great to help out another family and work with other women. It’s empowering and I’m grateful to have been a part of it.”

Overseeing the October 17th build day was Donna Moore, a long-time volunteer at Women Build events and former Site Supervisor for RV Habitat, and Adam Capone, an RV Habitat Site Supervisor. Together, Donna, Adam, Cicely and her two daughters Jordan and Awesome, and eight female volunteers built a large storage shed from the ground up. Jordan and Awesome were inspired by the women volunteers around them. “It was really empowering, a great experience being surrounded by strong women, physically and mentally,” said Jordan. “I’ve never done this before and never want to hear anyone say that women can’t do something,” remarked Awesome. Their mom, Cicely, told us that she is “grateful, grateful, grateful for meeting all the women on the build. It is so inspiring being around these women and to be a part of building our home.”

The Women Build workday was supported by Devra Keenan, a member of the Montgomery Township Committee who was on hand to welcome participants. Devra, the owner of executive coaching and leadership development company High Impact Advisors, donated lunch. Girl Scout Troop 60626 of Montgomery Township, who will be landscaping the property for their Silver Award, prepared snack bags with inspirational and motivational messages. Troop co-leaders Dawn Fogarty, Lisa Maddox, Jen Seamon, and Anna Quick oversaw the snack bag project and some of the co-leaders and scouts delivered the bags and had a chance to meet the Women Build participants, offering everyone a break in the day with good company, nutritious energy, and warm hearts.

Women Build participants expressed their gratitude for the day in many ways. Volunteer Tara McGauley of Gillette said it was “an absolutely amazing day! After months of not being able to do ‘normal’ things, to come together and work with strangers on a rewarding project was so refreshing.” Maria Rodriguez from Roselle shared that it was “fulfilling and wonderful to work on something so big and tangible for a great family, and to come together like this with so many issues in the world going on.” Kathy Fekete of Monroe remarked that “I learned new skills that I’ve always wanted to learn. It’s great watching how everything comes together.”

With an estimated completion date of June 2021, there are many opportunities for volunteers to be a part of building this home in Montgomery Township with the Caldwell Family. If you are an individual, part of a personal, work, church or other group, or a member of a youth group and 16 years of age or older, RV Habitat welcomes you to join in helping to build the Caldwell family’s future home.

About Raritan Valley Habitat for Humanity

Raritan Valley Habitat for Humanity (RV Habitat) puts God’s love into action and brings people together to build homes, communities, and hope. Our vision is a time when everyone in Hunterdon and Somerset counties has a decent place to live. Since 1991, RV Habitat has been building strength, stability, and self-reliance through affordable home ownership opportunities for hard-working, local families. To support these projects by making a donation, please visit www.rvhabitat.org/give or mail a donation to Raritan Valley Habitat for Humanity, P.O. Box 6275 Bridgewater, NJ 08807. For individuals (ages 16+) and groups who would like to volunteer on the Montgomery Township build site, visit www.rvhabitat.org/volunteer.

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Voices of Gratitude – News Release

Hunterdon and Somerset Residents are Invited to Join a Free Virtual Community Celebration, “Voices of Gratitude,” Hosted by Raritan Valley Habitat for Humanity

Somerville, NJ (October 1, 2020) – Residents of Hunterdon and Somerset Counties and beyond are invited to join the free, virtual community celebration, “Voices of Gratitude” on Wednesday October 28, 2020 from 7:00 pm to 8:00 pm. This is an online celebration that will warm your heart, connect you with your community, and show you the positivity and compassion that surrounds us. It is hosted by Raritan Valley Habitat for Humanity (RV Habitat).

The event will feature stories from RV Habitat families and volunteers about how building Habitat homes has transformed lives in our region, a ReStore gift auction that will get participants in the spirit of the holidays, a special musical performance by a Habitat family’s children, the chance to win free raffle prizes throughout the hour, and more!

There will also be special recognition of a long-time RV Habitat volunteer, Mary Ellen Koscs-Fleming of Whitehouse Station (formerly of Clinton Township). Mary Ellen is known to many in our community and has admirably served as the volunteer co-chair of RV Habitat’s Homeowner Selection Committee. She has volunteered with RV Habitat since 2006, serving in many roles, including as a member of the Board of Directors and in many roles that work directly with RV Habitat families.

“While the Coronavirus changed the way RV Habitat and residents come together to help families in our area, it didn’t stop our wonderful donors, volunteers, and supporters from continuing to help in the ways they knew how” said Raritan Valley Habitat for Humanity Executive Director Jan Holmstrup. “We want to share those heart-warming stories and express gratitude for what we have, while recognizing the strength and resiliency of our homeowners and the community that supports them.”

Local businesses are welcome to sponsor the event, which will provide them visibility to our audience, all while helping deserving families build decent, safe, and affordable homes. All partners will be recognized during the event, and at the Manville ReStore which hosts over 300 customers every day. Sponsorship and event information is available at https://www.rvhabitat.org/voicesofgratitude2020. All are welcome to join “Voices of Gratitude” by registering here: https://bit.ly/32wd1Zu.

About Raritan Valley Habitat for Humanity

Raritan Valley Habitat for Humanity (RV Habitat) puts God’s love into action and brings people together to build homes, communities, and hope. Our vision is a time when everyone in Hunterdon and Somerset counties has a decent place to live. Since 1991, RV Habitat has been building strength, stability, and self-reliance through affordable home ownership opportunities for hard-working, local families. To support these projects by making a donation, please visit www.rvhabitat.org/give or mail a donation to Raritan Valley Habitat for Humanity, P.O. Box 6275 Bridgewater, NJ 08807. For individuals (ages 16+) and groups who would like to volunteer on the Montgomery Township build site, visit www.rvhabitat.org/volunteer.

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Dad Build 2020 Press Release

Moms, dads, and families volunteer to help renovate the new home of Raritan Valley Habitat for Humanity in Pluckemin.

Pluckemin, NJ (August 13, 2020) – Parent and child teams are helping to renovate the historic Burd House, the future home of Raritan Valley Habitat for Humanity (RV Habitat) in Pluckemin, New Jersey. The build teams formed to celebrate “Dad Build,” a Father’s Day fundraising event open to family teams with children over 16 years of age.

The teams painted and sanded exterior siding and trim while learning new skills from RV Habitat site supervisors on hand. The Burd House was built in 1839 and is located on the property of Pluckemin Presbyterian Church and owned by the church. RV Habitat will move into the new space this fall with the help of community members such as the moms, dads, sons, and daughters who volunteered to help renovate a piece of historic property.

Several of the participants shared the reasons they volunteer. From Jack, who volunteered with his mom, “I came to learn more about Habitat and enjoy the time with my mom to help the community.” From Melinda, who came with her son, “We came out today to spend some time together for a nice cause for other people.” And from Cicely, who brought her two daughters, “We came out today to support Raritan Valley Habitat for Humanity. We’re a partner family and we’re so excited to assist in helping to create their new office space.”

“The parent and child partnership is a great opportunity for families to learn new skills together while contributing to a meaningful community project that will help to deepen our roots in Pluckemin.” said Raritan Valley Habitat for Humanity Executive Director Jan Holmstrup. “We welcome more parents and children, individuals, and corporate teams for the Pluckemin build and to our next home build with Cicely and her family in Montgomery Township.”

RV Habitat has volunteer openings for regular shifts on Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays at the Pluckemin office site, as well as for future construction on RV Habitat’s 54th home in Montgomery Township that will begin in late September 2020. RV Habitat’s newest partner is Cicely Caldwell, a single mother living in Flemington. Ms. Caldwell and two of her daughters attended one of the Dad Build events to contribute to the office renovation and meet volunteers. Volunteers also got to meet Josephine Awadalla, the daughter of a RV Habitat partner family who have been living in their home for several years.

When asked how Habitat impacted her life, Ms. Awadalla told us, “As I was growing up, Habitat for Humanity had a drastic influence on my identity, on who I became, and how I viewed the entire world and humanity itself.” Ms. Awadalla is now a junior at Rutgers University studying public health, a career choice inspired by her experience with Raritan Valley Habitat for Humanity. “There is nothing like going home after a long day for everyone in my family. It’s our favorite spot to be since our home is built on the dedication of beautiful families and the hard work of donors.”

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