A Note from Ronda Abbruzzese, President of the Board
As we approach the end of a year filled with navigating our “new norm”, my heart is filled with gratitude for our incredible network of supporters. In a bounce back year, your generosity and dedication still changed so many local families’ lives and made our community more resilient.
Because of you, four more deserving families are celebrating the holidays for the first time in safe, beautiful homes that they own. Three more families received no-cost, necessary ADA Compliant ramps so they can shelter in place safely and comfortably, no matter what comes. Our Board of Directors and Staff continue to look for opportunities that create more affordable housing so we can have an even bigger impact in our county and throughout the state.
Within the first 2 weeks of 2022, we will break ground on our 51st and 52nd homes and two more hardworking families will start chipping away at their sweat equity hours. In 2022, those families will purchase the homes they helped build for an affordable mortgage and get to enjoy newfound financial stability, improved safety and wellbeing, and upward economic and social mobility. People like you know that the advantages of Gloucester County Habitat’s homeownership program don’t stop once a family moves into their new home — the benefits last through generations and change the face of communities.
I am so fortunate to be able to lead an organization that still brings people together to build homes, communities and hope. In dark times, friends like you are the light. Your donations, your volunteerism and your voices are making sure families’ basic needs are met, that everyone has access to economic opportunity, that Gloucester County is a wonderful place to live for all.
On behalf of all of us at Gloucester County Habitat for Humanity, thank you so much for everything that you do. Here’s to a very bright 2022!
Once again, it’s the time of the year when we start planning to gather around the table with our families and pause to reflect on what we are thankful for. This year, in addition to family and friends, I’m thankful for the privilege to serve the community as Board President here at Gloucester County Habitat for Humanity. It’s an honor to work with dedicated and supportive staff, all the volunteers and especially Habitat’s partner families.
As we enter November, we are actively planning next year’s events that will enhance Habitat for Humanity’s ability to meet the needs of Gloucester County families now and in the future. While we have made great strides forward, as always there is still work to be done—but when we come together, there is no limit to what we can accomplish.
That is why; I am asking you to donate just $10 to our Veteran Build fundraiser to help support both Habitat for Humanity and Angels Community Outreach in repairing a Veteran’s home. (Read Mr. Harris’ story here >>). This fundraiser is a true testimonial that team work, makes the dream work.
As the only Community Housing Development Organization (CHDO) in Gloucester County, we are dedicated to empowerment, not entitlement and bringing people together to build hope, homes and community. With that being said, I am ecstatic to announce that Gloucester County Habitat for Humanity will be bringing their 50th family home later this month! Please keep an eye out for the home dedication announcement for the Russell Family.
Looking into the month of December, Habitat is excited to announce a FUNdraising event on Rowan Blvd. in the heart of Glassboro. The “Home for the Holidays” Happy Hour Bar Crawl will help the affiliate raise money to build 3 homes in 2022! For a donation of $35, business and community members will enjoy the drinks and eats on the Blvd. all while raising crucial funds for our builds.
With Thanksgiving approaching and the holidays just around the corner, we are mindful of those less fortunate and struggling in our country and around the world. Thanksgiving is an invitation to reflect in our own special way on how we can make a difference to the most vulnerable members of our communities. One of things I am especially thankful for is the chance to get to help others find blessings that THEY can be thankful for. See, when we provide a family the chance to earn their keys to a more affordable home, it’s extremely satisfying. When they say ‘thank you’ to us, we are also thanking YOU, our loyal volunteers, shoppers, donors and advocates.
I hope you have a joyous and safe Thanksgiving holiday!
It’s hard to believe that three months have gone by since I took the helm as Board President at Gloucester County Habitat for Humanity. It has truly been a whirlwind! So much has happened in only a short amount of time. I am thrilled to be part of this wonderful organization, that has been building homes, community, and hope for 35 years.
Shortly after I started, Ayisha Watson and her two sons moved into their new home in the Borough of Glassboro. And by the end of the year, Habitat will be celebrating the Russell Family purchasing their home, the 50th for Gloucester County Habitat for Humanity! Seeing the joy on the faces of our partner families shows me that I am doing the work I was meant to do. It’s why our volunteers, donors, and business partners support Habitat’s work!
On Monday, September 27th through Thursday, September 30th Gloucester County Habitat for Humanity hosted the inaugural ReVive the ReStore fundraising event. The first of its kind, ReVive the ReStore is a part of our Women Build initiative to empower women all while bringing attention to the need of affordable housing here in Gloucester County. Over 135 hours from staff, committee members, and volunteers were poured into painting the exterior of the ReStore, putting a fresh coat of bright yellow paint into the ReStore’s loading zone, hanging picture and so much more! We are so happy to announce that through NAWBO South Jersey, The Oakley Group and the Romano Realty team sponsorship dollars and donations from 25 individual volunteers we successfully raised nearly $2,000! That means it’s time to celebrate!
Another first for Gloucester County Habitat for Humanity is that we are now participating in the Combined Federal Campaign (CFC). The mission of the CFC is to promote and support philanthropy through a program that is employee focused, cost-efficient, and effective in providing all federal employees the opportunity to improve the quality of life for all.
CFC is the worlds largest and most successful annual workplace charity campaign, with almost 200 CFC campaigns throughout the country and overseas raising millions of dollars each year. Pledges made by Federal civilian, postal and military donors during the campaign season will support eligible non-profit organizations that provide health and human service benefits throughout the world. Gloucester County Habitat for Humanity’s CFC # is 27255.
From donating to the ReStore to championing partnerships and team builds, or swinging a hammer and driving nails on the job site – I want to offer you my deepest gratitude for being a part of our Habitat family and helping us make tangible impact on our community and the lives of those who live in it. Because of your involvement, Gloucester County Habitat for Humanity’s future is brighter than ever!
This weekend the summer is coming to an unofficial end; the day trips to the beach, sleep overs and BBQs are slowly starting to turn into pumpkin spice, early nights, and homework. Now imagine having to choose between a trip to Wildwood or rent money for the month. Or imagine, your house just too small to host a family BBQ or a sleepover. These are just a few examples of what Gloucester County Habitat for Humanity’s partner families are experiencing.
At Gloucester County Habitat for Humanity, our mission echoes Habitat for Humanity International’s vision of a world where everyone has a decent place to live. We are committed to building a better community through the transformative power of affordable homeownership. And I am proud to announce that on Tuesday, August 17th we welcomed the 49th Habitat family into their brand new, affordable home in Glassboro. Elected officials, donors, volunteers, staff members and other Habitat families all came together to celebrate the Watson family finally having a place to call home.
This time next year, we know the Watson family will have had a summer filled with laughter and love in their new home! Thanks to a partnership with the Gloucester County Commissioners, who funded the build and the Borough of Glassboro, who donated the lot we were able to build this house in roughly 11 months.
Partnership—how Habitat builds homes and builds hope.
Over the past years, GCHFH has maintained fundraising events to bring attention to the need for affordable housing while building homes in Gloucester County. We are now expanding our scope to not only to continue providing build events but to also provide an opportunity to raise funds and volunteer at our ReStore, the discount home improvement store in Pitman.
Revive the ReStore is September 27- 30 and will be here before we know it. The event webpage has lots of great information, including how your company can get involved at the sponsorship level. (Click here to review) The Revive the ReStore fundraising event is just one example of how GCHFH is seeking out new ways to meet the need of raising funds for affordable housing
Community partnerships reshape the community.
There are thousands of local families in need of affordable housing, and every day we’re helping more area neighbors become homeowners—but we can’t do it alone. It takes a lot of people, money, and prayer to create a safe, affordable home. Without partnerships with like-minded individuals and organizations, the remarkable community transformation we witness day in and day out would not be possible. Together, we can offer hardworking-local families and individuals hope and the ability to turn their hard work into a simple, decent place for their families to live. If you have a question or would like to speak with us, we would love to hear from you.
Gloucester County Habitat for Humanity
It is with passion that I step, or better yet leap, into the role of President of the Board for Gloucester County Habitat for Humanity. I have had the honor to work closely with Danny Sulpizio, who served in the role for multiple terms, something that was done extremely well. At this date, I could only aspire to do a fraction of what Danny has done for the Habitat for Humanity organization.
Since its inception in 1986, Gloucester County Habitat for Humanity has continued its mission to provide quality housing to those in Gloucester County. With the help of our dedicated volunteers, Board of Directors and Staff we have had the opportunity to build, and have occupied, 49 homes in Gloucester County. These home provide a safe and secure place for partner families who become part of the Habitat family, where they will continue to live and to thrive. The overall improvement to the family’s quality of life is immeasurable.
With the recent challenges that surrounded us, we did not stop building. We remained strong. With the support of our volunteers and staff, Habitat was able to continue to deliver on our promise, improving the quality of life those in our community.
Our ReStore operation continued to grow and thrive as well. We’ve improved the appearance of the Store, with small vignettes, rooms, to assist customers with ideas to furnish a new home or upgrade existing. We had the opportunity to make some staffing changes, promoting our longtime Volunteer Coordinator to ReStore Manager.
Thank you for sharing in the passion for Habitat and for your continued show of support, for its mission. We are a strong organization built with volunteers, who give time and talent to improve the quality of life, by building homes, of those in our community. As new President of the Board, please know, I understand the importance of building long lasting, beneficial relationships with our local and business community. I have done it for years, and plan to continue on the same path, while sharing the mission and story of Habitat.
Let us continue to celebrate and honor our community partnerships, our relationships with our partner families and being a small part of sharing our passions with our Habitat families, both today and in the future.