habitat for humanity new jersey
meet our volunteers

This December 1st is Giving Tuesday!

Giving Tuesday is a date we commit to making a donation to help our neighbors in need. With your dedicated support, we can continue to give a hand up to our vulnerable community members. We encourage you to read their stories knowing we can help many like them in the future.

 Meet Patty

A Very Cold Winter

In February 2020, just before the Covid-19 outbreak, our staff went to Patty’s home to replace the front and back door to her trailer home. The front door was falling off its hinges, and the back improperly fitted caused frigid air to rush inside Patty’s home. She and her dog, Diamond, had been forced to take refuge in the bedroom with a space heater. “Both Simon and I never took our sweaters off,” Patty said. “To keep going, I reminded myself I once was a medic working out in snow and heat, so I can handle this.”

Years prior, Patty had worked diligently as a single mom to put her son through college as a paramedic in Newark, and in the burn unit at St. Barnabus. One day, out on a call, Patty attempted to save a patient during an opioid overdose. His mother begged, “Please don’t let my son die.” In a desperate attempt to save the boy while his mother looked on, Patty worked quickly. However, the boy woke from the drug-induced coma too quickly and attacked her. Beaten so severely, she was unable to return to work again. “I went from a $50,000 a year job to $20,000 in income.”

Starting Over

Patty needed a fresh start and an affordable residence. She found a mobile home unit in Ocean County and moved in. Little did she know she’d soon face new struggles. Fortunately, Patty learned about our program and soon applied. Since receiving our help, she continues to help others, cooking and baking for her neighbors. Patty has also become a regular volunteer at our ReStore. “People have no idea that when things go bad, they are not alone,” she said. “People need to know that what you do (Habitat) is not a charity, it’s a pay it forward.”

 Meet Stanley

Serving His Country and Family

Military veteran, Stan, moved to Ocean County from Jersey City in the 1970s with his wife and children to offer them a better life. After he retired from Lehigh Valley Railroad, he and his wife moved to a mobile home in Jackson. In 2016, Stan’s wife of fifty years passed away after a five-year battle with cancer. “I promised not to send her to a nursing home,” Stan said. “I took care of her the whole time.
When she got down to sixty-five pounds, I told her it was okay to let go.”

Seeking Help

Since that time, Stan has had a stroke and heart surgery. He reached out to us for help in September 2020. Stan had covered the antiquated windows of his mobile home with thick plastic to keep cold air out in summer and warm air in for the winter. A leaky and dilapidated roof had caused a plethora of problems that all needed attention. Poor health and low income, Stan could not afford to make repairs.

Through the Home Preservation Program, our generous funders, staff, and volunteers made it possible for Stan to remain safe and comfortable in his home. When asked what brings him joy in life, he responded, “Just being alive! I say thank you, Lord, when I wake up, and then I make the bed.”

 Meet Our Volunteers

Without Volunteers, we would have no stories to share.

meet our volunteers

In Memory of our Dedicated Volunteer, Donald J. Tonachio

Don passed away peacefully at his home on November 13, 2020. A dedicated volunteer at the ReStore since 2015. Don also shared his time supporting the local animal shelter as well as a Board Member for Pheasant Run. We will miss his presence, he was a wonderful part of our Habitat family.

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