Recent News

Volunteer Spotlight: Barbara & Bruce Kopp

Barbara and Bruce Kopp began as volunteers with Manatee Habitat during the construction of the very first home in the Palmetto Habitat community, Village of the Palms. In addition to serving on the Family Services Committee, Barb has been a mentor to new Habitat families who qualify for the homebuyer program. If there is ever a need, Barbara is always there to lend a hand, provide a contact or render sound advice.

Bruce has shared his photography skills taking photos at home dedications and other Habitat events. Bruce and Barbara have attended and helped at each Habitat Home Dedication and volunteer at the annual Habitat Families Christmas Celebration. Didi Hager, Family Services Manager says, "Barb and Bruce are an integral part of the Family Services Committee and I appreciate their dedication and their love of Habitat."

Manatee Habitat Dedicates 125th Home

shambria smithManatee Habitat's 125th Home Dedication took place June 18th, 2016 at 1180 3rd Ave. W., in Palmetto. Shambria Smith and her two daughters Reniya, 5 and Paris, 3, are the proud new homeowners. Shambria has put in over 300 hours of labor with Manatee County Habitat for Humanity.

The dedication was a wonderful representation of the community that comes together to build a Habitat home. In attendance at the dedication were Habitat Board members and volunteers, family and friends of Shambria, Bealls employees who sponsored the home and provided volunteer labor, next door neighbor Mrs. Jefferson, also a recipient of Habitat services, and future Habitat homebuyers.

This home was made possible by Bealls, Inc., which sponsored this project through the Community Contribution Tax Credit Program (CCTCP). This program allows Florida businesses to put their tax dollars to work in their community. Publix Super Markets Charities, Inc., a dedicated partner of Habitat, provided a grant of $35,000 to complete Shambria's new home.


Shambria with Joe DesRosier, Director of Central Operations for Bealls, with Shambria at the dedication. Bealls gave us 34 employees who worked 209 hours on Shambria's house.Shambria's Story

Shambria is a single parent and is employed full time by United Cerebral Palsy, where she has worked for the past two years. Shambria has been persistent in pursuing the dream of owning her own home. She came to our organization in 2013, and applied, but didn’t meet all of the requirements. She worked hard to qualify and is now a proud Habitat homeowner. Shambria is the perfect example of "where there is a will, there is a way."

Shambria has attended classes, accumulated her escrow money and completed her hours on the job site. As a matter of fact, if you ever saw her on the job site, you would know that she's not a quitter. She has worked on her home tirelessly; from the inside of the home, to the outside and even on the roof, Shambria was there to do what needed to be done. 

Congratulations, Shambria, Reniya, and Paris!


Pictured top: Shambria and daughters Reniya, 5 and Paris, 3. Pictured bottom: Shambria with Joe DesRosier, Director of Central Operations for Bealls, with Shambria at the dedication. Bealls gave us 34 employees who worked 209 hours on Shambria's house.

Featured Habitat Volunteer for May: Liam Cunningham

liam cunninghamManatee Habitat’s Volunteer Spotlight for the month of May is Liam Cunningham. Liam is an 18-year-old young man who took a year off after high school graduation to save some money and as he explains, “get a feel for the world and what I want to do in life.”

Liam’s parents require that all their children spend one year giving back to the community by performing some type of volunteer service. His parents have instilled in their children the value of developing life experience and the philosophy that “money isn’t everything.” Liam believes that there is honor and reward in giving to others and expects nothing in return. He has had the opportunity to see the lives of those he touched and to appreciate the value of a warm smile and a sincere thank you. Liam states that this fulfillment at the end of the day is more valuable than worldly success.

While Manatee Habitat congratulates Liam on his acceptance to Christendom College in Virginia, we will sorely miss his dedicated work ethic, cheerful demeanor, and engaging personality.

ReStore Spaces Event Recap

michael saunders teamThank you to everyone who attended the first annual Manatee Habitat ReStore Spaces event on May 19th! Close to 200 were in attendance to enjoy the evening at the Hardin ReStore.

Thank you to the five hard-working teams that donated their own time and resources to refurbish and repurpose the items they chose from the Manatee Habitat ReStores. They had approximately two months to work on the items for their rooms outside of the store, and five days to stage their rooms. Teams included:

  • Fawley-Bryant - Winner of Community Choice Award (online voting challenge)
  • MOTS (Manasota Operation Troop Support) Military Moms - Winner of Golden Hammer Award
  • Michael Saunders/Early Learning Coalition (pictured right) - Winner of People’s Choice Award
  • SCFCS (State College of Florida Collegiate School)/Culver’s
  • Junk King

A special thank you to our celebrity judges:

  • Lulu (from 92.1 CTQ)
  • The Honorable Betsy Benac
  • Pat Shemek-Bradenton Herald
  • Chris Brantley-ABC7
  • Judith Williams-Owner of 6 Fifi’s stores

A big thank you to our sponsors of the event:

Title Sponsor - Lowe’s - Don Novak, assistant manager for the Lowe’s store on Cortez in Bradenton, and Manatee Habitat, have developed a wonderful partnership through this event. His store provided all the building materials for the 7 vignettes and the green carpet as attendees walked into the store. Mr. Novak provided all the extension cords and personally wired up the vignettes for electricity the day of the event. If you noticed the huge ReStore Spaces sign as you walked into the store, Lowe’s had the painting commissioned and built the “easel” for it to rest on. Thank you, Lowes of Bradenton!

Other Sponsors:

  • Gold Coast Eagle
  • Primo! Ristorante
  • Culver’s
  • PepsiCo
  • Walmart Neighborhood Market on SR70
  • Pandora at UTC
  • Green Cooling Solutions
  • Allstate
  • Anthony’s Cooling – Heating – Electric
  • Junk King
  • Bradenton Kiwanis
  • Sherri’s Island Images

Thank you to many others who donated silent auction items!

At the conclusion of the event, Diana Shoemaker, Executive Director commented, “Tonight truly was a community event- from the committee planning it, to the teams creating their rooms, our local celebrity judges involved, and most importantly, all the guests who attended. This is a real representation of the importance that community plays in the mission of Manatee Habitat for Humanity impacting families.”

Photos by Sherri's Island Images Photography

Volunteer of the Month: March 2016

joyce kouba volunteer of the monthManatee Habitat would not be able to accomplish our vision and mission without the assistance of our most precious asset-our volunteers.

Our Volunteer of the Month is Joyce Kouba.  Joyce and her husband began volunteering with Habitat for Humanity in 2000. Joyce realized the value of the Habitat ReStores and was instrumental in opening the ReStore on Hardin. ReStores are home improvement stores and donation centers that sell new and gently used furniture, appliances, home accessories, building materials and more to the public. If you visit the ReStore on Hardin, Joyce can be found three days per week measuring draperies and other linens, painstakingly preparing them for resale. Proceeds from the Habitat Restores help cover administrative expenses so that all donor dollars can go to building Habitat homes.

When asked why she spends her time volunteering with Manatee Habitat, Joyce said, “When you build homes and give children a stable environment, they blossom. Habitat makes a very large impact on children. The kids do better in school, have increased self-confidence and become happy and productive people.” 

Joyce and her husband like to travel to national parks where they hike and take photographs. She also enjoys sewing in her free time. Joyce has been secretary of the Siesta Key Association for many years and has received the Lifetime Achievement Award and numerous other volunteer awards from Manatee Habitat.

If you would like more information on how you can impact your community through volunteering with Manatee Habitat, please contact our volunteer coordinator, Stephanie Hansum at (941) 748-9100 Ext 110 or at   This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.