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What Does it Mean to be a Manatee Habitat Homeowner?

What does it mean to be a part of Manatee County Habitat for Humanity? We're glad you asked! Join new homeowners Brittany, Jackie, and Willie as they share their Habitat journey with us and what being a Habitat Homeowner means to them and their community.

Manatee County Habitat for Humanity Will Dedicate Two New Homes in Bradenton May 19

habitat dedication may19Bradenton, Florida (Monday, May 14, 2018) – Manatee County Habitat for Humanity will be dedicating two new homes in Bradenton on Saturday, May 19 at 12 noon. The two homes are located side by side at 1013 and 1017 17th Ave. West at 11th St. West on what was a vacant corner lot.

“The thing I treasure about a dedication is that it brings together the community that made this happen,” said Diana Shoemaker, Executive Director of Manatee County Habitat for Humanity.   The dedication ceremony will recognize the Habitat families that will become first time homeowners in the presence of their friends, families, fellow volunteers, sponsors and Habitat staff and board members. It will last approximately one hour. All are welcome to attend.

Willie Sandifer will become the Habitat homeowner at 1017 17th Ave. W. She, along with her daughter and her two grandchildren, are looking forward to having a home of their own. An employee for Manatee County Rural Health Services, Willie is helping raise her two grandchildren. In her view, “Habitat home ownership, for the first time in our lives, empowers us to attain the American dream. Habitat also inspires us to empower others with the ability and skills to do the same.”

Jackie Melendez, a mother of two, will become her neighbor at 1013 17th Ave. W. Jackie has worked for Mariner Financial for 14 years and is looking forward to leaving renting behind and becoming a homeowner. She says her Habitat home is much more than mere shelter. “It tells the story of who we are and a collection of what we love brought together under one roof,” Jackie said.

Willie and Jackie have been in the Habitat home buyer program for nearly two years working on the homes of other Habitat home buyers and each other’s homes, for the last six months. They have completed all the requirements to purchase their homes including over 300 hours of “sweat equity”, financial literacy, and homeownership classes. They will purchase their homes and receive a zero interest mortgage from Manatee County Habitat for Humanity.

Sponsors who provided funding for the construction of the houses will be attending the dedication. Boar’s Head Brand will be there to congratulate Willie Sandifer and provide Boar’s Head Frankfurters for all the attendees.

“We’re honored to dedicate a home this weekend to Willie and her family. This project has been an incredible opportunity for our team members to join efforts with Willie and other Habitat for Humanity volunteers to support our community,” said Boar’s Head Brand President Mike Martella. This is the third Habitat house Boar’s Head Brand has sponsored. Employees have donated over 600 hours to build these homes.

Sun Hydraulics, LLC is the home sponsor of Jackie Melendez’s house and they have donated nearly 200 hours of volunteer labor in addition to their home sponsorship. “Sun Hydraulics is proud to have the opportunity to partner with Habitat for Humanity once again to help this community-driven organization make such an impact on this family’s life. It has been a great pleasure to work alongside Jackie and other volunteers to make this home a reality,” said Mike Sheppard, of Sun Hydraulics.

Carpenter Contractors of America made a large donation of material and labor to Manatee Habitat for the construction of one of the houses.   They planned a Commemorative Build Day in January in memory of their 30-year colleague and friend, Jeff Pfeifer. The company donated all the lumber used in the house and the roof trusses. CCA employees did the installation in one day.

Manatee Literacy Council has been engaged presenting books at all Manatee Habitat home dedications since 2016. Roger Boos, President of Manatee Literacy Council, a non-profit partner of Manatee Habitat for Humanity, will present age appropriate books to all family members at the dedication ceremony.

Manatee Habitat has built six new homes in this neighborhood near Village of the Arts in the last two years. Community Development Block Grant funds from the City of Bradenton was used to purchase the vacant lots to build new homes. Publix Super Markets Charities also provided a grant to help build the homes.

top: Boar's Head Brand employees at the job site in Bradenton; top middle: Greg Wiezbach (l) and Mike Clough (r) on the job from Boar's Head; bottom middle: Carpenter Contractors Commemorative Build for Jeff Pfeifer; bottom: Steve Spergl, owner Gulf Stream Provision, proud purveyor of Boar's Head Brand

Harvest United Methodist Church Supports Manatee County Habitat for Humanity Interfaith Build 2018

Harvest Check Presentation

1st row: The Rev. Rosemary Backer, Vice President of Manatee Habitat Board of Directors and Chair of the Interfaith Build, Diana Shoemaker, Executive Director of Manatee Habitat, Jacqueline and Marvin Kendall, Interfaith Build Habitat homebuyers. 2nd Row: Harvest United Methodist Church members:  Jeff Lewis, Gale Whitson-Schmidt, Laura Whalen, Don Whitson-Schmidt, Barbara Moore, Paloma Cuevas and Kathy Shjarback.

Members of Harvest United Methodist Church showed their support for the Manatee Habitat Interfaith Build in three ways on Saturday, April 21. First, they helped remove the form boards from the foundation and rake the soil to the appropriate grade while others built the first course of Insulated Concrete Form (ICF) blocks on the foundation of the house. Jacqueline and Marvin Kendall, the Habitat homebuyers of the Interfaith Build were there working alongside the Harvest United Methodist volunteers and others. At break time, the members of Harvest United Methodist Church presented a check for $10,000 to Manatee Habitat for Humanity to help fund the home construction. Funds were raised by donations from church members at the Christmas Eve services.

“We are thrilled to have Harvest United Methodist members participating in the Interfaith Build and are so grateful for their generosity to help fund this endeavor,” said Diana Shoemaker, Manatee Habitat Executive Director.

“Harvest is honored to partner with Habitat via the Interfaith Build, because we are committed to serving our community, and to expressing the love and grace of God so that people have the opportunity to flourish.” – Rev. Katie Pestel, Co-Pastor, Harvest United Methodist Church. In addition to the volunteers and financial contribution, they brought along a very welcome addition to the jobsite – their own wood-fired pizza oven and all the ingredients to make pizza.

“The church purchased this mobile pizza oven so we can do events and offer homemade pizzas when we are out in the community,” said Don Whitson-Schmidt. He and his wife Gale made pizza and salad for the entire crew after the work for day was done. “We call it Holy Smoke,” Don said.

The founding faith communities committed to the project are: Church of the Annunciation and Gloria Dei Lutheran Church of Anna Maria Island, Harvest United Methodist Church and Knights of Columbus Council 13341 of Our Lady of the Angels Catholic Church of Lakewood Ranch, Faith United Church of Christ, St. Joseph’s Roman Catholic Church and Trinity Lutheran Church, all in Bradenton; St. Mary’s Episcopal Church in Palmetto; and St. Armand’s Key Lutheran Church and the Islamic Society of Sarasota and Bradenton in Sarasota.

Collectively, they have committed to raise the $95,000 needed to cover construction costs and to provide 3,200 hours of volunteer service – much of it at the work site on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday mornings. The Interfaith Build is located at 604 11th Ave. E. in Bradenton.

Early on, the Interfaith Build Steering Committee – consisting of representatives of the participating groups – identified three purposes of their project:

  • to build a single-family affordable home in Manatee County
  • to build a coalition of faith communities serving God
  • to witness their unity and their service to the local community

Several of the faith communities have been involved previously in Manatee Habitat homebuilding, but this is the first time multiple denominations and faiths have come together to take on a project from start to finish. The planners of the Interfaith Build invite more faith communities to join the effort. For more information, faith organizations can contact Amy Van Dell, Resource Development Manager at (941) 748-9100.

Join us for our Volunteer Coffees

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Let’s get acquainted Monthly Volunteer Coffee

2nd Saturday of the month 11a.m.-noon

Meet us at the Cortez ReStore/Administration Offices
Please join us and learn about our New Construction, Events, Rehab Projects, Staff and more.  Feel free to submit questions ahead of time. New and seasoned volunteers welcome!
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