News

press release image

“Habitat Saved My Life”: Bridgewater Resident Receives Vital Home Repair Assistance

Volunteers help paint a home
Volunteers from Avison Young came out as part of their Annual Day of Giving.
Raritan Valley Habitat Construction Supervisor Larry Cascio Painting the Hessenthalers’ Home.

Bedminster, NJ (Oct. 4, 2022) Raritan Valley Habitat for Humanity (Raritan Valley Habitat) is proud to help Emma and Herbert Hessenthaler of Bridgewater, NJ rehabilitate their home.

The Hessenthalers have lived in their Bridgewater home for the past 42 years. Herbert, who has advanced Parkinson’s and A-fib, has been disabled for nearly sixteen years. This has kept him from being able to do any work around the house or even cut the grass. He is currently in hospital, where Emma has been going back and forth daily to help care for him.

Thanks to the assistance of volunteer groups from Verizon Wireless and Avison Young, Raritan Valley Habitat has been able to clean up the couple’s yard, perform minor carpentry repairs, replace the Hessenthalers’ mailbox and paint the home’s exterior.

“There are no words for your generosity,” says Emma Hessenthaler. “I didn’t expect such professional care, but God threw you people in our yard. You saved my life.”

As she travels between the hospital and home, Raritan Valley Habitat wants to ensure that Emma comes home to a safe and maintained home. The volunteers’ dedication has often caused Emma to cry tears of joy, and her gratitude has been reciprocated throughout the organization.

“Emma and Herbert have both been so appreciative of all the work our volunteers have done,” says Raritan Valley Habitat Construction Supervisor Larry Cascio. “Emma is brought to tears every time a group comes out, and that gratitude is something we want to show her as well. It has been an honor to help restore their home.”

Raritan Valley Habitat’s Home Safety and Repair program includes Brush with Kindness (small exterior clean-up and maintenance), Small Repairs (like installing sheetrock, flooring, cabinets, or window panes), and Critical Home Repairs (larger repairs like roof or furnace replacement). Homeowners in need of repairs should contact Jessica Abbott at 908-704-0016, ext. 117, or visit rvhabitat.org/home-safety-repair for information and application details.

About Raritan Valley Habitat for Humanity
Raritan Valley Habitat for Humanity (Raritan Valley 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, Raritan Valley Habitat has been building strength, stability, and self-reliance through affordable homeownership opportunities.

Raritan Valley Habitat is currently building a duplex in Raritan Township for two new homeowner families, working toward building a Veteran home in Somerville and growing our Repair Program. 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 330, Pluckemin, NJ 07978. For individuals and groups who would like to volunteer, visit rvhabitat.org/volunteerTo shop, donate, or volunteer at our ReStore, visit rvhabitatrestore.org.

RVHFH Teams Up with Somerset County VoTECH

Raritan Valley Habitat for Humanity Teams up with Somerset County Vocational & Technical High School Carpentry Program

Bedminster, NJ (June 16, 2022) Raritan Valley Habitat for Humanity (RV Habitat) is proud to partner with the Somerset County Vocational & Technical High School (SCVTHS) Carpentry Program on projects large and small. The students built and donated a playhouse, and are now providing crucial assistance in getting Eileen Strasko, a Bound Brook, NJ resident, back into her home following the devastation of Hurricane Ida.

Welcoming students onto the repair jobsite is a huge benefit to Strasko, RV Habitat’s volunteer team, and the students. “Having the students volunteer for Habitat for Humanity provided them with the opportunity to apply the skills they learned in the shop in a real-life scenario. It is one thing to learn how to install sheetrock in a shop space, but to actually enter into a person’s home and produce quality work that will last for years to come is quite another,” says SCVTHS Carpentry Instructor James Foley. “The students were eager to work and hopefully garnered great satisfaction knowing that with each piece of drywall hung up and each phase of spackling completed they were helping to get the house one step further to being occupied again. This volunteering experience also helps to build a sense of community among the students, everyone working together to achieve a common goal.”

Seventy-one-year-old Strasko has been displaced since Hurricane Ida hit in September 2021. Her home of more than fifty years was completely flooded in the storm, destroying the downstairs floors, walls, and appliances, as well as the entire electrical, plumbing, and heating systems. The SCVTHS students hung drywall and spackled, and will now install flooring. RV Habitat replaced the major systems with help from a grant provided by State Farm.

“We are thrilled to be working with such skilled and ambitious students,” says Jess Mauceri, RV Habitat’s volunteer coordinator. “Habitat’s mission is to bring people together to build homes, communities, and hope. These amazing young people are our community and hope for today and tomorrow.”

Critical Home Repair is part of RV Habitat’s Home Safety and Repair program, which includes Brush with Kindness (small exterior clean-up and maintenance), Small Repairs (like installing sheetrock, flooring, cabinets, or window panes), and Critical Home Repairs (larger repairs like roof or furnace replacement). Homeowners in need of repairs should contact Jessica Abbott at 908-704-0016, ext. 117 or visit rvhabitat.org/home-safety-repair for information and application details.

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 homeownership opportunities.

RV Habitat is currently building a duplex in Raritan Township for two new homeowner families, working toward building a Veteran home in Somerville, and growing our Repair Program. 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 330, Pluckemin, NJ 07978. For individuals and groups who would like to volunteer, visit rvhabitat.org/volunteer. To shop, donate, or volunteer at our ReStore, visit rvhabitatrestore.org.

American Legion Volunteers image

RVHFH Aids American Legion Post 120

Raritan Valley Habitat for Humanity Aids American Legion Post 120 in Lambertville on Disaster Recovery

Bedminster, NJ (May 26, 2022) Raritan Valley Habitat for Humanity (RV Habitat) is proud to partner with American Legion Post 120 in Lambertville, NJ on disaster recovery efforts.

Located on North Union St., in Lambertville, the Legion was completely flooded during Hurricane Ida. The building’s electrical, plumbing, heating, and cooling systems were destroyed as were the walls, floors, kitchen, bar, and outdoor areas. They have been unable to operate since Ida hit on August 26, 2021.

The loss of the Legion affects more than just its members. Lambertville Mayor Andrew Nowick says, “The American Legion in Lambertville has been deeply dedicated to supporting our local Veterans and the community at large for decades. In addition to welcoming Veterans, they organize the annual Memorial Day Parade and Commemoration at Mary Sheridan Park, generously offer their hall to community events, serve as a polling station, and more.”

As part of its Disaster Recovery program, RV Habitat has led volunteer teams from South Hunterdon High School Key Club, AT&T, and Women’s Build to work on everything from grounds cleanup to drywalling, framing, spackling, and painting.

“When the task was overwhelming, Raritan Valley Habitat for Humanity approached us and offered assistance when we really needed it,” says Post Adjutant Sergeant Major Bob Miller, U.S. Army, Ret. “They stepped up and gave us a shot in the arm–the confidence to continue our commitment to the Veterans and members of our communities.”

“Raritan Valley Habitat for Humanity serves Somerset and Hunterdon Counties—two of the areas most affected by Ida,” says Executive Director Melissa Flynn. “This work is near and dear to us because Ida hit us all hard and we are a Habitat Veteran Affiliate.”

Habitat for Humanity Veteran Affiliates commit to provide homeownership, volunteer, and employment opportunities to U.S. Veterans, military service members, and their families. Throughout the year, RV Habitat hosts special events, like build days at the Legion, that pay tribute to Veterans, raise awareness, and mobilize volunteers.

Disaster Recovery is an expansion of RV Habitat’s Home Safety and Repair program, which assists low- to moderate-income homeowners with Brush with Kindness (small exterior clean-up and maintenance), Small Repairs (like installing sheetrock, flooring, cabinets, or window panes), and Critical Home Repairs (larger repairs like roof or furnace replacement). Homeowners in need of repairs should contact Jessica Abbott at 908-704-0016, ext. 117 or visit rvhabitat.org/home-safety-repair for information and application details.

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 homeownership opportunities.

RV Habitat is currently building a duplex in Raritan Township for two new homeowner families, working toward building a Veteran home in Somerville, and growing our Repair Program. 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 330, Pluckemin, NJ 07978. For individuals and groups who would like to volunteer, visit rvhabitat.org/volunteer. To shop, donate, or volunteer at our ReStore, visit rvhabitatrestore.org.

Strasko Team Photo

State Farm Grant Supports RVHFH Critical Home Repair

State Farm Grant Supports Raritan Valley Habitat for Humanity’s Critical Home Repair for Bound Brook Ida Victim

Bedminster, NJ (June 7, 2022) Raritan Valley Habitat for Humanity (RV Habitat) is proud to help Eileen Strasko of Bound Brook, NJ get back into her home following its destruction by Hurricane Ida.

Seventy-one-year-old Strasko has been displaced since Hurricane Ida hit in September 2021. Her home of more than fifty years was completely flooded in the storm, destroying the downstairs floors, walls, and appliances, as well as the entire electrical, plumbing, and heating systems. Unable to stay in the house, Strasko has been forced to live in a series of hotels, draining her financial and emotional resources. Essentially blind and unable to walk without a walker, Strasko cannot drive. Her current living situation–far from her neighbors and support system–leaves her virtually stranded alone in a hotel room. Doctor visits and errands are now expensive taxi rides away.

“I’ve been devastated to be out of my house,” says Strasko. “I’m so grateful to Habitat for its help. I didn’t know who to turn to otherwise.”

Fueled by a $20,000 State Farm grant and State Farm volunteers, RV Habitat replaced the heating, electrical, and plumbing systems in the home as well as first-floor insulation and sheetrock. RV Habitat volunteer teams—including students from the Somerset County Vocational & Technical High School (SCVTHS) Carpentry Program—continue to make the home ready for habitation. They’re installing flooring, spackle, and paint, and cleaning up along the way.

“We are so grateful to State Farm for allowing us to do this important work,” says RV Habitat Executive Director Melissa Flynn. “Eileen can’t keep living in hotels. And we could never have achieved all of this without the State Farm grant and our amazing volunteers.”

Critical Home Repair is part of RV Habitat’s Home Safety and Repair program, which includes Brush with Kindness (small exterior clean-up and maintenance), Small Repairs (like installing sheetrock, flooring, cabinets, or window panes), and Critical Home Repairs (larger repairs like roof or furnace replacement). Homeowners in need of repairs should contact Jessica Abbott at 908-704-0016, ext. 117 or visit rvhabitat.org/home-safety-repair for information and application details.

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 homeownership opportunities.

RV Habitat is currently building a duplex in Raritan Township for two new homeowner families, working toward building a Veteran home in Somerville, and growing our Repair Program. 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 330, Pluckemin, NJ 07978. For individuals and groups who would like to volunteer, visit rvhabitat.org/volunteer. To shop, donate, or volunteer at our ReStore, visit rvhabitatrestore.org.

girl scouts image

Girl Scouts Build Garden for RVHFH Homeowner

Montgomery County Girl Scouts Build Garden For New RV Habitat Homeowner

Bedminster, NJ (June 16, 2022) Raritan Valley Habitat for Humanity’s newest homeowner, Cicely Caldwell, is enjoying beautiful landscaping, a wildlife-proof vegetable garden, and an herb garden this summer thanks to Girl Scout Troop 60626 from Montgomery Township. Each scout contributed 50 hours to the project and earned a Silver Award, the highest achievement scouts can earn at their level.

“After reading an article about the first Habitat for Humanity home to be built in Montgomery Township, the scouts knew they wanted to get involved,” said team leader Jen Seamons. “They learned that what they do matters; that they can be productive and useful; and that they can make a difference.”

They also learned significant lessons about patience and perseverance, as the project began just before the Covid 19 pandemic. Throughout that time, the scouts—all high school freshmen–held several zoom calls with Caldwell and Construction Administrator David Polomski. They delivered snack bags for the Women’s Build Day and met with local community members to discuss their plans. In February 2022, they were thrilled to attend the Caldwell Family’s home dedication in person.

To organize and accept donations, the troop created a website. Board and Brush in Kendall Park welcomed the scouts into their studio to create decorative signs and an herb box. Local residents opened home gardens to help the girls formulate a design. Blooms at Belle Mead helped them design and select plants for the landscaping. South Brunswick Home Depot donated supplies for the vegetable garden, as well as clean-up bags and water for the volunteers. Friends, family, and community members donated plants, pots, and raised flower beds.

“These girls make you feel good about the future,” said Polomski. “They dug beds, planted trees, mulched—all in 90+ degree heat. It was a job very well done.”

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 homeownership opportunities.

RV Habitat is currently building a duplex in Raritan Township for two new homeowner families, working toward building a Veteran home in Somerville, and growing our Repair Program. 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 330, Pluckemin, NJ 07978. For individuals and groups who would like to volunteer, visit rvhabitat.org/volunteer. To shop, donate, or volunteer at our ReStore, visit rvhabitatrestore.org.

press release image

Press Release: Two Families Selected

Raritan Valley Habitat for Humanity Selects Two Families for New Duplex in Raritan Township

Bedminster, NJ (January 12, 2022)
Raritan Valley Habitat for Humanity is excited to announce the selection of two future homeowner families to help build and ultimately purchase two sides of a duplex in Raritan Township.

The two families will work alongside volunteers, donors, and RV Habitat employees to build a two-family home on Raritan Avenue in Raritan Township, NJ. Each household will contribute at least 250 hours toward building, community support, and personal development. Once construction is complete, each will purchase a side of the duplex.

“We are so excited to expand our Habitat family,” says RV Habitat executive director Melissa Flynn. “These future homeowners are thrilled to have the opportunity to build stability and raise their children in such a wonderful community.”

RV Habitat Homeowners are selected through a rigorous application process. They purchase homes at a price they can afford and commit to monthly, interest-free mortgage payments along with taxes and insurance. In addition, each future homeowner commits to partnering with Habitat. They work on building homes, engaging with the community, participating in workshops and learning opportunities, fundraising, and more.

Habitat houses are truly community projects. Volunteers and generous donors fuel every step–from planning to building to homeowner support. Raritan Township donated the land for this project.

The Drew Family
The Rutlege Family

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 homeownership opportunities. 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 330, Pluckemin, NJ 07978. For individuals (ages 16+) and groups who would like to volunteer, visit rvhabitat.org/volunteer.

Raritan Township Groundbreaking Press Release

Raritan Valley Habitat for Humanity Breaks Ground in Raritan Township

Pluckemin, NJ (December 2, 2021) — Raritan Valley Habitat for Humanity celebrated the launch of its newest project in Raritan Township on November 19, 2021. The two-story duplex will be built at 1 Raritan Avenue, on the corner of South Main Street.

The ground breaking ceremony marked the beginning of an exciting partnership between RV Habitat and Raritan Township. RV Habitat Executive Director Melissa Flynn said, “We are grateful to Raritan Township, the Fire Department, and everyone who contributed to the donation of this land. These homes will be a huge benefit to the homeowners and their neighbors.”

Future homeowner Daune Drew was joined by Raritan Township Mayor Gary Hazard, Flynn, and RV Habitat Board President Nuno Barboza to sink the very first shovels into the job site. Awesome Caldwell, the daughter of a RV Habitat homeowner, moved the audience to tears with an a cappella rendition of Recover, by Natasha Bedingfield.

“We are so happy to welcome Daune and future Habitat Homeowners to our community. This is a wonderful and welcoming place to live,” said Mayor Hazard. Drew, a single mother with two sons, is eager to provide a solid foundation for her family. “Being a homeowner isn’t just about having a place to live,” she said. “It’s about knowing that I’m building a bit of stability and wealth for my boys to enjoy.”

Habitat homes are truly community projects. Volunteers and generous donors fuel every step–from planning to building to homeowner support.

RV Habitat Homeowners are selected through an extensive application process. They purchase homes and contribute between 250 and 500 “sweat equity” hours in addition to committing to regular mortgage payments. A second family for the duplex will be selected in December.

###


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. 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 330, Pluckemin, NJ 07978. For individuals (ages 16+) and groups who would like to volunteer, visit rvhabitat.org/volunteer.

Raritan Township Mayor Gary Hazard, Future Homeowner Daune Drew, and Board President and Vice President, Nuno Barboza and Rita Auld, officially "break ground" on the new home in Raritan Township.
Family, friends, and community gathered at the site of RV Habitat's future home on November 19, 2021.
Left to right: Awesome Caldwell, daughter of RV Habitat Homeowner Cicely Caldwell; Daune Drew, Future RV Habitat Homeowner; and Cicely Caldwell. Above: The ceremonial Future Homeowner's Groundbreaking shovel.
Board Officers Nuno and Rita stand with Executive Director Melissa Flynn, Future Homeowner Daune Drew, Raritan Township Mayor Gary Hazard and Deputy Mayor Scott MacDade.

Raritan Valley Habitat and Wells Fargo Press Release

Wells Fargo Donates $15,000 to Raritan Valley Habitat for Humanity to help more families in Raritan Township, NJ access Decent, affordable housing 

Bedminster, NJ (November 15, 2021) – Raritan Valley Habitat for Humanity is one of more than 220 Habitat organizations awarded a grant from Wells Fargo as part of its nationwide initiative to help low-to-moderate income families construct and improve homes across the country.

“Far too many people across the country are facing housing instability and one of our key priorities is to create housing affordability solutions where everyone can have a safe and affordable place to call home,” said Tomas Porturas, Wells Fargo VP/Sr. Community Relations Consultant. “We are proud to support Habitat for Humanity in providing homeownership opportunities for hundreds of families nationwide through Wells Fargo Builds.”

Raritan Valley Habitat will receive $15,000 and use the funding to build a duplex in Raritan Township. The ground breaking ceremony for this project will be November 19th at 10:00 am.  All are welcome. 

“This is an exciting time for two families willing to invest in their futures. Thanks to Wells Fargo these families and their children will have a safe place to build strength, stability, and self-reliance.”

The grant is part of a $7.75 million donation Wells Fargo is making to Habitat for Humanity International through Wells Fargo Builds, an initiative that provides philanthropic financial support and volunteerism to create sustainable affordable housing. More than 340 homes will be constructed or repaired with Habitat in over 40 states through the initiative this year. Wells Fargo Builds is part of Wells Fargo’s $1 billion philanthropic commitment to create more housing affordability solutions by 2025.

###

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. RV Habitat has built 140 homes internationally through tithing. 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 330 Pluckemin, NJ 07978. If you would like to volunteer, visit rvhabitat.org/volunteer.

Scroll to Top