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Local contractors build home for Habitat for Humanity volunteer in honor of fallen employee

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BRADENTON, FL (WWSB) - The Manatee County chapter of Habitat for Humanity builds 5 homes per year. One home on 17th Avenue West in Bradenton represents a future for one family, as it provides closure for another.

"Everybody is so excited and enthusiastic about getting the job done," said Jackie Melendez.

For Melendez, it isn't just construction for a house, this is a home; her home.

"Everybody here is full of love and support and everybody works so hard to make it happen," said Melendez.

She isn't a stranger to the organization. Melendez is a volunteer home buyer for Habitat for Humanity. She recently learned she is financially eligible to build a home through habitat, and in just a few months, she and her two kids will be moved into a 3 bedroom, 1,100 square foot home.

"Just to see the fruit of your labor and just to know that you worked so hard for, you're going to get the benefit of it," smiled Melendez.

The construction would take an extra month if it wasn't for Carpenter Contractor's of America. The group is donating its labor and materials to build the roof and interior walls. They say it's in honor of their Vice President Jeff Pfeifer who died in a car crash in Parrish in September.

"We all stick together and when times are trouble we are all there for each other," said Sue Connolly, who worked with Pfeifer at CCA.

"It's great that they've brought all of their people to work on our houses as it's going to help us get our families into a home much quicker," said Bruce Winter, Director of Construction for Mantaee Habitat for Humanity.

Once the green build construction project comes to an end, the 5th Habitat house in the city of Bradenton will honor the man who co-workers describe as a gentle soul, full of life.

"I know he is sitting on a cloud above us watching us all, and smiling with pride," smiled Connolly.

The project is expected to be complete by June 2018.

More than 100 families have purchased and built homes through the Manatee Habitat for Humanity program since 1994.  Read more

Manatee Habitat for Humanity Interfaith Build Groundbreaking Draws the Faithful to Washington Park

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Dec. 12, 2017(Bradenton, Fla) - On Saturday, December 9th more than 40 supporters of the Manatee Habitat Interfaith Build braved the rain standing under tents and umbrellas to celebrate and bless the ground breaking of a new home. On the lot at 604 11th Ave. East in Washington Park, members of ten faith communities came together to turn a shovel of dirt and share words of faith and encouragement.

The Kendall family that will be the Habitat home buyers and Habitat staff and volunteers all joined the ceremony. “What a joy as we partner in this Interfaith build! This is a great visible witness to the local community and putting into action our work for affordable housing. Come join us!” said Rev. Rosemary Backer, Manatee Habitat Board of Directors Vice President and Chairperson of the Interfaith Build.

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 Islamic Society of Sarasota and Bradenton andSt. Armands Key Lutheran Church the in Sarasota.

Those representing the participating faith communities read passages for the Old and New Testaments of the Bible and from the Quran in the ceremony.

“What a wonderful outpouring of love we are receiving,” said Jackie Kendall with her husband Marvin Kendall and their grandson Marcus. Marvin is a custodian at Suncoast Behavioral Health Center in Bradenton and Jackie is a housekeeper in private homes and a “minister outside the walls of church.” Marcus is a 10th grader at Southeast High School. The Kendall’s have three grown children. Their two daughters and son are all military veterans.

After the ceremony people enjoyed a reception held at the home of Mae Lizzie Jennings, a community leader in Washington Park. The participating faith organizations brought sandwiches, chips, cookies, fruit and drinks and the guests had the opportunity to meet the family that will call the Faith Build home their own in roughly six months. The Faith organizations have committed to help raise the $95,000 needed to cover site preparation and construction costs and to provide 3,200 hours of volunteer service – much of it at the work site on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday mornings starting in January.

“We look forward to supporting this effort throughout the construction and remain committed to building our relationship with Manatee Habitat and the faith community,” said John Joly, Knights of Columbus of our Lady of the Angles Catholic Church.

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 envisioned and welcomed the concept of an Interfaith Build and more faith communities are encouraged to join the effort.

You do not need to have construction skills to work on Habitat home building. Volunteers can contribute their time, talents and treasure in many different ways, from on-site labor to organizing fund-raisers to providing mid-morning snacks for the work crews. At the work site, training is provided and construction professionals are present at all times that volunteers are on the job.

Whether you have been involved with Habitat for Humanity before or not, or have construction expertise or not, if you would like to get involved in this project, please speak with your faith community leadership, or contact Amy Van Dell, at Manatee Habitat for Humanity (941) 748-9100 or by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Join us for a Women Build Home Dedication

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Join us for a Manatee County Habitat for Humanity Home Dedication of the Women Build
Saturday, Nov. 4th
12:00p.m.

2214 10th St. West
Bradenton, Florida FL 34205
 
Please join Manatee County Habitat for Humanity at the Home Dedication for Brittany Holley and her family. Come celebrate her accomplishments of becoming a Habitat home buyer with her friends, family, fellow Habitat volunteers, donors and sponsors. This event marks the end of a two year  endeavor and the beginning of a new future in a safe and stable home.

Many people participated on the Women Build and we anticipate a good turnout.  
Please RSVP to Amy Van Dell at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. so we can plan appropriately.

Street parking on 10th and 11th St. West is available and carpooling is encouraged.

Can Washington Park community come together? Agencies not so sure

NOVEMBER 10, 2017 4:00 PM by Mark Young

BRADENTON
“Love thy neighbor” is something Washington Park resident May Lizzie Jennings takes to heart within her impoverished East Bradenton neighborhood.

But if her neighbors aren’t willing to get together to know more about one another and become a community willing to better their neighborhood, that love isn’t being returned in a way Jennings hopes it will be.

Since Jennings’ efforts to clean up and revitalize the Washington Park community captured the attention of Habitat for Humanity’s Didi Boyd Hager this past summer, efforts have been underway to make it a community-wide investment. But few in the neighborhood have come forward to make that happen.

Monthly meetings in the community to try to determine what the neighborhood needs to spur progress have seen a coalition of various agencies wanting to help far outnumber the residents who attend. Coalition members include Bradenton police officers, Habitat for Humanity, Manatee County Veteran Services, Manatee County Neighborhood Services, West Bradenton Crime Watch and more.

Iris Gonzalez, senior manager of state government affairs for Charter Communications and Spectrum, also was on hand to give away free home safety kits. Gonzalez said Spectrum heard of the efforts underway in Washington Park, “and wanted to team up with Habitat. I’m excited to be here to have an opportunity to give the safety kits to the community.”

But only a handful of children and their older brother attended. The old adage of you can’t help those who are unwilling to help themselves isn’t stopping a coalition determined to make a difference. But a new strategy is needed.

“We know what doesn’t work, so we need to try something else,” Jennings said.

Hager said a good coalition is in place, “So how do we get the homeowners involved with the coalition? You can’t complain about what’s wrong in your neighborhood if you aren’t willing to come out and do something about it.”

Bradenton Police Capt. John Affolter said he is “shocked” to see the lack of involvement, “in a neighborhood screaming for help,” and suggested the coalition get back to the basics. Affolter said neighborhoods aren’t like they used to be where everyone knows each other and suggested creating events to bring the neighborhood together rather than trying to attract people to meetings.

The coalition will plan a community-wide scavenger hunt, perhaps on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, that will encourage participants to host scavenger items and get neighbors knocking on neighbors’ doors.

“That’s where it starts,” Hager said. “It starts with getting to know your neighbors and hopefully we can pick up and start fresh in January.”

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Read more here: http://www.bradenton.com/news/local/article183944886.html#storylink=cpy

Manatee Habitat for Humanity and Bank of America partnered to build a home in Bradenton as part of fourth Global Build

Mike McCoy Britnie Mayhew and Diana Shoemaker

Mike McCoy, Britnie Mayhew, and Diana Shoemaker

Bradenton, Fla. (Oct. 5, 2017) – Manatee County Habitat for Humanity and Bank of America came together in the Bradenton as part of Bank of America’s fourth Global Build in partnership with Habitat for Humanity. Bank of America employee volunteers worked alongside homeowners to help build, rehabilitate or repairs homes, helping to address affordable housing needs.

“When families have access to affordable housing, they’re more likely to have long-term financial stability,” said Mike McCoy, Sarasota/Manatee market president, Bank of America. “Our employees enjoy partnering with Habitat for Humanity and the future homeowner to help them gain economic mobility and build a thriving Bradenton community.”

The Bradenton home build comes as part of the fourth Habitat Global Build (#GlobalBuild) that marks the bank’s more than 30-year commitment to Habitat for Humanity. Between September 30 and October 7, more than 2,500 Bank of America employee volunteers, Habitat for Humanity colleagues, and families are working together on builds and revitalization projects that help families achieve the dream of homeownership. Projects will take place in more than 88 communities across six countries, including the U.S.

“Bank of America has been a long-standing partner with Manatee Habitat and we always enjoy working with their team and appreciate their support,” said Diana Shoemaker, Executive Director, Manatee County Habitat for Humanity.