Realtor® associations across the commonwealth sponsored a variety of events to benefit their communities during PAR’s 15th annual Realtors® Reach Out month in October. Twenty-three associations hosted events that raised more than $80,000 and collected more than 500 pounds of food.
“Realtors® have tremendous dedication and commitment to building strong communities and helping their neighbors,” said PAR President Christopher Beadling. “Our local associations and members have done a phenomenal job reaching out to provide aid to a host of organizations throughout Pennsylvania. When we work together, there’s no limit to what we can accomplish.”
The Lancaster County Association of Realtors® held their annual fundraiser for Lancaster’s Transitional Living Center, a program of Tenfold, raising $28,500 for the organization. TLC is a 52-room shelter that provides temporary housing and supportive services for people experiencing homelessness to help them attain housing stability. The event was held at Lancaster’s Clipper Magazine Stadium with a cornhole tournament and live auction, where more than 200 members participated.
Donna Giovingo with Berkshire Hathaway Homesale Lancaster has chaired the charity event for about 10 years. “Before I got involved, I wasn’t aware of what the organization did,” she said. “I learned more about what they do and what the volunteers do to help people get back on their feet. It’s just an amazing program. They offer a helping hand, not a handout. And I’ve had the opportunity to speak with people who were going through the program at the time.”
“I’m really proud of the Lancaster County Association of Realtors® and their efforts to help this program,” Giovingo added. “Thanks to the support of our members and sponsors, we’ve raised about $591,400 for TLC over the past 34 years.”
The Greater Erie Board of Realtors® held another successful annual designer bag bingo event, raising more than $20,000 for Veterans Miracle Center of Erie. In the five years since the fundraiser began, GEBOR has raised more than $70,000 for the organization.
Jennifer Funk with Regina Baldwin Realtors® heads up GEBOR’s Consumer Outreach Committee. “We were looking for a need the community had and discovered the Veterans Miracle Center,” she said. “They offer veterans and active-duty military personnel who are in need of services and supplies. They build ramps into homes and they provide clothing, personal care and hygiene products, houseware items and more. It’s a pretty amazing charity.”
“We really appreciate the help from our members and sponsors from the real estate community who all help make this event a success,” Funk added. “It fills your heart when you’re giving back to such a worthwhile organization.”
The Reading-Berks Association of Realtors® sponsored its third annual Run for Shelter 5K, raising more than $8,000 to benefit Habitat for Humanity of Berks County and Neighborhood Housing Services of Greater Berks. The two local organizations aim to educate prospective homebuyers, expand access to financing and assistance programs, build quality homes throughout Berks communities, restore properties and provide individuals with a foundation for building generational wealth.
“The turnout this year was the best we’ve ever had and showed that Realtors® are committed to supporting NHS and Habitat for Humanity,” says Darren Kostival, chair of the Run for Shelter 5K Taskforce and a Realtor® with RE/MAX of Reading.
“We took a different approach this year and really encouraged Realtors® to raise money for these two charities who are committed to people achieve homeownership. We were completely blown away with the response,” Kostival added. “Everyone really worked together, thanks a ton of hard work by the RBAR committee, members and staff and all of the participating real estate teams. The weather was perfect and it was an awesome event.”
Local associations and their Realtor® Reach Out activities include:
- Beaver County – Hosted a general membership food drive to benefit Mt. Carmel Presbyterian Food Bank and Cornhole Tournament food drive to benefit the Salvation Army.
- Bucks County – Held a Thanksgiving food drive for Bucks County Housing Group food pantries, packing more than 150 meals.
- Butler County – Participated in Butler County Stand Down event, providing free services, support and resources for veterans and other people in need.
- Central Susquehanna Valley – Collected grocery gift cards for “cards for a cause” for local food banks and hosted a smoke detector drive to distribute to area fire companies.
- Clearfield Jefferson – Held annual Thanksgiving food drive for local food pantries.
- Greater Erie – Held annual purse bingo and raised $20,077 for Veteran’s Miracle Center in Erie.
- Greater Harrisburg – Volunteered to help at six different charities throughout October including Community Cares, New Hope Ministries, Wildheart Ministries, Central Pennsylvania Food Bank, Rebuilding Together and Family Promise
- Greater Scranton – Held a food drive for the NEPA Breadbasket and raised $400 for the charity.
- Huntingdon County – Held a food drive and collected $1,280 for the Huntingdon Food Pantry.
- Lancaster County – Held an annual cornhole tournament and live auction, raising $28,500 for Lancaster’s Transitional Living Center and members donated boxes of diapers for their annual diaper drive.
- Lawrence County – Collected donations of personal care items, baby and childcare items and kitchen items for local crisis center, ARISE.
- Lebanon County – Held auction to raise funds for Habitat for Humanity, raising more than $260,000 for Habitat in 26 years.
- Luzerne County – Sponsored a Habitat for Humanity workday.
- Pennsylvania Association of Realtors® – Volunteered at the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank.
- Pike/Wayne – Held a basket raffle, raising $2,080 to benefit the Wayne/Pike Shriners and Victims Intervention Program of Wayne County.
- Pocono Mountains – Collected socks for Street2Feet charity that serves the homeless population.
- Reading-Berks Association – Held third annual Run for Shelter 5K to benefit Habitat for Humanity of Berks County and Neighborhood Housing Services of Greater Berks, raising more than $8,000. Also held food drive for local food bank and collected more than 7,175 pounds of food.
- Realtors® Association of Metropolitan Pittsburgh – Collected winter coats, hats, gloves, sock and sweatshirts for Shepheard’s Heart Fellowship and Veteran’s Home and the Light of Life Rescue Mission. Also held a Curb Appeal Day in Mt. Washington neighborhood to clean up the roadside in partnership with the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy.
- Realtors® Association of Westmoreland, Indiana and Mon-Valley – Donated 40 boxed meals to the Welcome Home Shelter and Mutual Aid in Greensburg and collected more than 400 non-perishable food items for the Westmoreland and Indiana County food banks.
- Realtors® Association of York and Adams Counties – Volunteered at a homeless outreach event serving more than 100 members of the community, feeding breakfast and lunch, assisting with IDs and birth certificates, providing bikes, necessities and food.
- Tri-County Suburban Realtors® – Sponsored annual coat, hats and gloves drive for the Boys and Girls Club of Philadelphia through Nov. 15.
- West Branch – Held a canned food drive for the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank and collected donations for Delaney Heller Foundation, a charity that helps children and their families who are battling cancer and other health issues.
- Westmoreland West – Participated in a central Westmoreland County Habitat for Humanity build and volunteered at the store.