Recent News

Manatee Habitat Receives #GivingTuesday Proclamation

heart-4-givingManatee County Habitat for Humanity accepted a proclamation on behalf of #GivingTuesday at the Board of County Commissioners Meeting on Tuesday, December 1, 2015, at 9am. The proclamation designated December 1st, 2015 as a "DAY OF GIVING," celebrating philanthropy and volunteerism in Manatee County.   

Manatee Habitat for Humanity celebrated #GivingTuesday with the launch of the #Heart4Giving campaign which challenges citizens to create a video on why they give back to the community. This provides an additional opportunity to recognize the tremendous impact of individual giving in Manatee County. Manatee Habitat encourages citizens to serve others throughout the holiday season and the entire year. Individuals are encouraged to participate through the Manatee Habitat website and social media: Facebook:   Twitter:

#GivingTuesday is held annually on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, to kick-off the holiday giving season and to inspire people to take collaborative action to improve their local communities and to give back in better, smarter ways to the charities and causes they support. 

Manatee Habitat Partners with Boar's Head to Build Home for Veteran

Boars Head EmployeesManatee County Habitat for Humanity is partnering with Boar’s Head Brand® to build a Habitat home for a local veteran and his family. Boar’s Head Brand employees began working alongside future Habitat homeowner Sgt. Juan Garcia on Saturday, Sept. 26, to construct the four bedroom home in Palmetto, Florida. In addition to their corporate sponsorship, Boar’s Head Brand has committed to providing 200 hours of volunteer labor to help build the home.

"Boar’s Head is a great partner," said Diana Shoemaker, Executive Director of Manatee Habitat. "Their commitment to this project exemplifies the company's desire to serve others and positively impact our community. It is a great match with the mission of Manatee Habitat, and we are thrilled to be working with them to assist Juan in obtaining his dream of building and purchasing his own home."

Twenty-two employees from Boar’s Head Brand worked on siding, roofing, painting and caulking, and more will perform additional tasks during two additional volunteer Saturdays in October. Children of employees also contributed to the day by providing baked goods and snacks for volunteers. At the end of the day, a Boar’s Head Brand Distributor provided hot lunches to the volunteers, including some of Garcia’s future neighbors.

"Boar’s Head Brand is proud to support Manatee County Habitat for Humanity, and is dedicated to giving back to the community where our employees work and live," said Elizabeth Ward, director of marketing and communications for Boar’s Head Brand.

Sergeant Garcia served in the Army as Armor Unit for over 10 years and was stationed in Kuwait, South Korea and Germany, and was also deployed to Iraq for 13 months. In addition to working full time, Garcia recently completed his associate degree from State College of Florida, and is currently working on his bachelor degree in criminology at the University of South Florida. The home is expected to be completed by mid-November so his family can be in their new home for Thanksgiving and the holidays.

Ground Broken on Thrivent Build Home

thrivent-buildManatee Habitat kicked off a Faith Build in collaboration with the Thrivent Builds Program with a ground breaking ceremony on June 16th, 2015. The location of the future Habitat home is 1212 3rd Ave W, Palmetto. Habitat homeowner candidate Wilna Remilus is excited to begin work on her future home. Also present for the ground breaking was local clergy and Tom Reagin, Community Engagement Leader with Thrivent Financial.

Thrivent Builds is an on-going multi-year, multi-million dollar partnership between Habitat International and Thrivent Financial, which helps create safe, decent and affordable housing. Partial funding for the home is being provided through a grant from Thrivent Builds. Since 2005, Thrivent Financial and its members have committed $213 million and 4.4 million volunteer hours. Local volunteers from a variety of churches in the community will be invited to participate in this Faith Build. The home is expected to be completed by December 2015.

wilna-webWilna, the future homeowner, is a second generation Habitat homeowner. Her mother, Francois, lives in Village of the Palms. Wilna is thrilled to qualify and become a homeowner in order to provide a safe, affordable home for herself and her 10 year old daughter, Lara. Wilna is no stranger to what it takes to qualify and become a Habitat homeowner. She was very involved in the construction of her mother's home and is ready to take on the task of building her own home. Wilna's mother will be available to return the favor by helping to build her daughter's home.

Manatee Habitat has been awarded $57,500 from Thrivent Financial to support the Thrivent Builds with Habitat for Humanity program, an on-going multi-year, multi-million dollar partnership between Habitat for Humanity International and Thrivent Financial, which helps create safe, decent, affordable housing across the globe.

“It is inspiring to work alongside Habitat families, Thrivent members and others to build and repair homes,” said Tom Reagin, a financial representative with Thrivent Financial, “Sharing our time and talents helps us live generously and strengthen our community.” Thrivent Financial is committing $12 million nationally to the 2015 partnership, which will be used to serve families and mobilize volunteers through three programs: Thrivent Builds Homes, Thrivent Builds Worldwide and Thrivent Builds Repairs.

Read more about the Thrivent Builds program here.

Why I Donate: Volunteering turns into a Passion

debra-p-blogDebra Pashkowsky arrived at a Manatee County Habitat for Humanity jobsite in 2012, just weeks after she handed in her resignation at her former desk job at the County Clerk’s office. “I always knew I was going to volunteer at Habitat when I retired,” noted Debra. After falling in love with Habitat that first day, she began volunteering regularly. She is a well-rounded Habitat volunteer; working on the Family Services Committee, in the administrative office, and she has also been out on the jobsite.

Early on in her time with Manatee Habitat, Debra was introduced to the Women Build program.  Women Build, underwritten by Lowe’s, is a program of Habitat for Humanity International that empowers women to address the crisis of children in poverty by building homes with families in need. Women volunteers lead all aspects of projects - including construction, fundraising and marketing. Debra was so motivated by the new construction skills she was learning, and so inspired by all of the Habitat families around her who were fulfilling their dreams of homeownership, that she decided to pursue one of her lifelong dreams for herself.

Utilizing the skills she learned on the jobsite, Debra began woodworking and repurposing old furniture and pallets. Soon she was creating furniture, art, fixtures, decor and more. “I never thought I would be using power tools,” she said, “and now I have a garage full of them!” Debra was enjoying her projects so much that she decided to open her own business, named Shoppe No. 5. “I started taking classes at Suncoast Technical College, learning how to start my own blog and Etsy business,” she stated, noting that her inventory will be available soon on her site,
View some of Debra’s pieces on Instagram.

Debra’s first stop when searching for materials is, of course, the Manatee Habitat ReStore. “I tell everyone to go to the ReStore when looking for anything,” she laughed, “I comb through both stores all the time. I want everyone to donate to Manatee Habitat if you can. Donate time, donate money, donate to the ReStore... just donate. I see all of these homeowners’ dreams coming true. Now mine is, too, because of Habitat.”



Habitat Dedicates Home 119

cruz-family-webOn June 6, 2015, Manatee Habitat dedicated house number 119 and home to Millie Cupeles and Jose Cruz and their 2 sons. Thanks to sponsors Bank of America and PepsiCo. Andy Minor presented a plaque to the family on behalf of Bank of America. Michael Martz from PepsiCo and Habitat Board members gave the family a lovely housewarming gift. Millie and Jose worked a total of 500 hours of sweat equity to be eligible to purchase their Habitat home. 

Jose Luis Rodriguez Cruz and Miligros (Millie) Cabrera Cupeles are married and have two sons ages 12 & 13. Both boys are “A” students. Joshua is in the 8th Grade and Michael is in the 6th grade, and both attend Electa Lee Middle School. Jose works for Florida Marine Research, Inc. in Sarasota. Miligros is a stay at home mom.

Their previous housing situation was very poor. They lived in a tough neighborhood on 8th Street Court, East in Bradenton that is drug infested and crime ridden. They are paying $625 for a very small, two bedroom, one bath home. The heating and air was unsatisfactory and the lighting in the home is very poor. Habitat is thrilled to help provide them a new, safe home in which to live.