Randolph, NJ:  While it may have been cold and dreary outside, inside 300 people warmed up the evening with great food, drink, dancing, and camaraderie. Morris Habitat for Humanity hosted its 10th Annual Hearts & Hammers Gala the end of February at the Meadow Wood Manor in Randolph, NJ.

The event was a great success for raising much needed funds to meet its goals of  building safe and affordable home building programs for families in need. The event raised more money than it ever has in the past. It was a complete sell out!  Before the actual event, top sponsors attended a VIP cocktail reception; met and mingled with celebrity guest, Ines Rosales, traffic reporter on Fox 5's "Good Day New York."

All attended a cocktail hour where several stations were chock full of food and appetizers (including lobster), which were also circulated by the attentive staff.  Silent and live auction items abounded, including some very special ones such as tickets to TV shows, like the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon and The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, tickets to If/Then with Idina Menzel, full meals at local restaurants, hotel stays, gym memberships and many more. The wine pull was also very popular, and even though there wasn't much room left after the appetizers, a fabulous dinner, almost everyone found several favorite desserts to choose from and had fun at the chocolate fountain.

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This year represents 30 years of providing housing in the Morris County area.  Through those years, accomplishments include the fact that 68 homes have been completed.  Forty eight of those were new construction, 19 were rehab projects and 2 were “home in a box” projects for hurricane victims. Currently 5 homes are under construction and 12 more will be started during 2015.  Additionally, there are 35 projects in the pipeline for 2016-2017.

Morris Habitat’s CEO, Blair Bravo said that, “We at Morris Habitat couldn’t be more pleased that 2015 is another very special milestone.  Morris Habitat has reached its 30th Anniversary of helping families achieve the dream of homeownership.  We could never have reached this milestone without partnerships...whether it is a financial contribution, time volunteered at the construction sites, office, or ReStore, or by attending events like the Gala.”  She went on to add, “this is the way we were able to help hardworking families achieve a better life and for that we are most grateful. With this fund raising event being so successful it enables us to increase our home building program. This last year alone, we completed 5 units, had 15 homes under construction and completed 10 Home Repair projects. Going forward, we will continue to expand our programs”.

Participants also heard some stirring words from Jasmine Smith, one of the new homeowners, who said she was “grateful about having all the best wishes from the various construction  volunteers on the wood beams for the house.  Wishes from members of the Woodswork youth group that came up from Maryland for 9 days to help work on her home are especially meaningful to her.” She said she would cherish the idea that those warm thoughts will be all around her in her new home.  She is determined to make a better life for herself and her daughter.

Further, in honor of the 30 year anniversary, a proclamation from Morris County Board of Chosen Freeholders as well as a Citation and flag from Congressman Rodney Frelinghuysen and the United States Congress was presented to those attending, to honor Morris Habitat’s accomplishments gained through the years.

 This celebration honored some very special people whose passion and concern for the critical need for affordable housing has given hope to families seeking the American Dream!  Those who have done so much for Morris Habitat during the past year, but also helped to prepare Morris Habitat for the next 30 years!

  • Founders Award: Richard A. Sleece, President, Richard A. Sleece Associates
  • Beth Everett Award: Ruth Ryan, Vice President, Chubb Insurance
  • ReStore Pioneer Award: Rick Ostberg, ReStore Director (Retired), Morris Habitat for Humanity
  • Corporate Partnership Award: Metripolitan Builders and Contractors Association of New Jersey

Morris Habitat for Humanity is deeply grateful to the Premier sponsors of the Gala, BASF, Bayer Healthcare and PWC.  Other sponsors included: Investors Bank, New Jersey Natural Gas, Wentworth Associates LLC, Fratelli Beretta, USA, Inc., New Jersey Association of Realtors (NCJAR) and Fox Rothschild LLC. Sponsors both large and small and guests helped to made this Gala such a success!

To support Morris Habitat for Humanity or get more information on Morris Habitat call 973-891-1934 or visit www.MorrisHabitat.org. 

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About Morris Habitat:

Morris Habitat for Humanity is part of a global, nonprofit housing organization operated on Christian principles by building homes, communities and hope. Morris Habitat is dedicated to eliminating substandard housing locally and worldwide through constructing, rehabilitating and preserving homes; advocating for fair and just housing policies; and providing training and access to resources to help families improve their living conditions.  Habitat for Humanity was founded on the conviction that every man, woman and child should live in dignity and safety, and that decent shelter in decent communities should be a matter of conscience and action for all. Morris Habitat welcomes volunteers and supporters from all backgrounds and serves people in need of decent housing regardless of race or religion.  

Since 1985 Morris Habitat has served 305 families though home ownership opportunities, home preservation, and international home building programs. During the past year Morris Habitat has completing 5 units, with 15 under construction, and finished 10 home repair projects. Thirty eight projects are in the pipeline for 2015-2017.  In addition, proceeds from the ReStore, opened May 2007, have built 14 homes and diverted 4,400 tons of useable material out of landfills.  Located at 274 South Salem Street, Randolph. Store hours: Tues 12 - 8 p.m., Wed & Fri 10  - 6 p.m., Thur 10 - 8 p.m., Sat 10 - 5 p.m.