MANVILLE, NJ  - Valairco Heating and Cooling presented a $500 check to Jan Homstrup, executive director of Raritan Valley Habitat for Humanity as the recipient of the seventh Valairco Cares giveaway.

"We are honored, and we think what you're doing for the community [through Valairco Cares] is just great," said Homstrup when she accepted the check. 

Valairco Cares was created to celebrate their 50th year in business by donating back to the communities they service. Kevin McHugh, president of Valairco Heating and Cooling and founder Richard Valenti have enjoyed learning about all the organizations nominated and are impressed by the number of volunteers and their impact on the communities they serve. Because of their intrigue and appreciation of each of these organizations, they have decided to continue the Valairco Cares program.

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The group toured the 15,000 square foot retail space. This ReStore location is one of about 10 in the state of New Jersey, however, it was the first to open in central New Jersey, said Homstrup. The store opened its doors in October 2018 and is a great way to promote the fact that we're here in the community, she said. All items are donated by businesses, building contractors, suppliers, and individuals, and are available for sale to the public. "The revenue that we obtain from the store will be put back into the community to build and rehab more affordable homes."  

Since COVID-19, ReStore has increased their online presence and has been very busy since re-opening after the closing due to Governor Murphy's executive order.  They are accepting drop-offs through appointment only and have resumed their free pick-up service. The store provides a military discount and seniors shop at a discount on Wednesdays. Visit the Habitat for Humanity ReStore website for more information. 

Colleen Fry, assistant manager at ReStore, said that working for Habitat for Humanity ReStore is more than a job, "it's a community now, especially as the store becomes part of the community." Fry has lived in South Bound Brook her whole life, and she said she knows many of the people that come to the store. "We want to connect with each other and help each other," she said. It's also a family affair for Fry, with her son working as the donation coordinator, her husband is an IT volunteer -- and her daughter works the Friday live auctions. "We've always been a family of service," she said.

When Fry learned of the Valairco Cares program, she "drummed up a lot of excitement about the competition," said Homstrup. Valairco Cares' quarterly give away asks for the community to vote for their favorite charity or non-profit and at the end of the quarter, Valairco donates to the organization with the most votes. 

After the ReStore tour, Homstrup showed McHugh and Valenti their latest housing project and introduced them to the young family who were given a "hand-up" and are now living the dream of being homeowners. She explained that the homeowners are equally engaged in the building process and work alongside the community to build their home. 

"Raritan Valley Habitat for Humanity builds permanent affordable housing for low-income families by mobilizing a cooperative volunteer effort. RVHFH and community volunteers find the site, raise the funds, and select a family for each new home. The selected family works side-by-side with RVHFH and community volunteers on the construction of their new home. The family purchases the home upon completion with the help of a low interest, no down payment mortgage provided by Raritan Valley Habitat for Humanity. Mortgage payments are recycled to fund the construction of more houses. To ensure the continued availability of affordable housing in the community, the deeds to the properties are restricted," according to the Raritan Valley Habitat for Humanity website.

Raritan Valley Habitat for Humanity's vision is "a time when everyone in Hunterdon and Somerset counties has a decent place to live." 

Raritan Valley Habitat for Humanity will be celebrating their 30th anniversary servicing Somerset and Hunterdon counties. To learn more about donating, volunteering or owning your own home visit their website:  

To learn more about Valairco Heating and Cooling and the ValaircoCares Program, visit their website,  ‘Click here’ to cast your vote for your favorite charity to be the recipient of the eighth ValaircoCares donation.