Realtors® throughout the commonwealth showed their community spirit by volunteering as part of PAR’s Realtors® Reach Out month in October. Nearly 900 members in 22 local associations sponsored activities benefiting local charity organizations.
Last month, Pennsylvania Realtors® raised more than $51,000 for charities, donated more than 200 pounds of food, provided nearly 1,000 meals for Thanksgiving, collected more than 2,000 coats and gave 100 backpacks with school supplies, 80 holiday stockings and 100 personal care items.
“Local associations and their members are dedicated to giving back to their communities,” said PAR President Bill McFalls. “They reach out to those in need to provide food, clothing and services. It’s really inspiring to see the impact they have.” The National Association of Realtors® recently noted that Realtors® volunteer at double the rate of other professions.
The Reading-Berks Association held its first 5K to benefit Habitat for Humanity of Berks County and Neighborhood Housing Services of Greater Berks.
“This event was a huge success,” said RBAR President Mark Mohn. “There were more than 120 participants and we raised nearly $5,000 for these two organizations. We had great support from our members, including a whole different segment of our members, and we’re looking forward to building on this success next year.”
Members of the Realtors® Association of Westmoreland, Indiana and Mon Valley collected more than 100 items for the Union Mission Shelter, whose goal is to provide resources to those without shelter and assist them in building self-reliance.
“Our giving doesn’t stop in October,” said RAWIMV President Tony Molnar-Strejcek. “We’ll be ringing the bells for the Salvation Army and holding a charity auction in December to raise funds for both Union Mission and Habitat for Humanity of Indiana.”
The Bucks County Association collected supplies for Thanksgiving dinners, which are donated to the Bucks County Housing Group’s food pantry clients. More than 20 real estate offices volunteered to collect supplies, which are then sorted to pack the dinners.
“Combating hunger is important to us. We don’t want to see our neighbors having to make a choice between having a good meal on the table or paying for their vital expenses such as housing, utilities, transportation or healthcare. An investment in the well-being of others is one that will always see a return,” said Jessica Finnell, co-chair of the Buck County Association’s Realtor® Reach Out Committee.
Co-chair Susan Langenstein added, “The Reach Out Committee believes in Neighbors Helping Neighbors and the Thanksgiving food drive is one of our biggest events of the year and one we are so proud to provide year after year. Realtors® throughout Bucks County collect for the month of October from clients, friends, neighbors and staff members, along with our own contributions. It’s heartwarming to see the outpouring of donations and how we pull this together providing meals to those in need. It’s a feel-good event all the way around.”
2019 Montgomery County Association President Richard Strahm said his association has a long-standing tradition of giving back to the community where its members live and work. Twenty-five offices participated in a coat drive for the Family Services of Montgomery County. “The Realtors® of Montgomery County are a proud community of residents, employers and employees and have a vested interest in providing time and resources to agencies that enhance our community,” he said.
And the Greater Harrisburg Association members volunteered at five different organizations, pitching in to sort and pack food and donated clothing items, distribute coats to youth and their families and help families in need obtain groceries for the month.
Harrisburg area broker/manager Mark Chidester said, “We’ve had groups from our office volunteer at various events for several years and it’s always such a rewarding experience. We care about the people in our community and recognize how important it is to help out those in need or who are experiencing tough times. The Realtors® Reach Out initiative is a reminder that we need to take time out of our own busy schedules to help others. The charities that our associations support need volunteers all year round, not just once a year.”
Associations participating in Realtors® Reach Out included:
Beaver County – Sponsored Incredible Race to collect food donations
Bradford Sullivan – Hosted a food drive at several locations
Bucks County – Provided 495 Thanksgiving dinners to residents in need in Bucks County
Cambria Somerset – Provided 80 Christmas stockings to Children and Youth Services for children in foster care
Central Susquehanna Valley – Collected food and gift cards for nine area food banks
Clearfield Jefferson – Held a fundraiser for the Gateway Humane Society and food drive for area food bank and food pantry
Fayette – Served at the Salvation Army’s soup kitchen, collected blankets for the homeless and donated to St. Vincent de Paul Society, created a float for a Halloween parade, delivered pizzas for a fundraiser and worked with the Salvation Army’s Project Bundle Up
Greater Erie – Sponsored Purse Bingo to benefit Veteran’s Miracle Center of Erie
Greater Harrisburg – Hosted events for five local charities: New Hope Ministries, Central Pennsylvania Food Bank, Project Share, Cocoa Packs and Downtown Daily Bread
Greater Lehigh – Donated supplies and assembled school kit backpacks, collected coats for children
Huntingdon County – Collected supplies and raised money for the Huntingdon County Humane Society
Lancaster County – Hosted charity dinner for Transitional Living Center
Lawrence County – Held a drive for suitcases, socks, pajamas and stuff animals for Cray Youth and Family Services
Montgomery County – Held a coat drive for Family Services of Montgomery County
Pennsylvania Association – Volunteered at the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank
Reading-Berks – Held a food drive and hosted a 5K to raise funds for Habitat for Humanity of Berks County and Neighborhood Housing Services of Greater Berks
Realtors® of Metropolitan Pittsburgh – Held a clothing drive and a career day for Boys and Girls Clubs of Western PA
Realtors® of York and Adams Counties – Hosted annual Homeless Outreach Event
Suburban West – Collected coats for the Boys and Girls Club of Philadelphia
Washington-Greene – Provided items for feeding students program
West Branch – Filled gift baskets for Dwell Orphan Care
Westmoreland, Indiana and Mon Valley – Collected items for the Union Mission Men’s Shelter
Westmoreland West – Assisted Westmoreland Habitat for Humanity and donated funds, sponsored Excellence in Education program and sponsored a kickball tournament to raise money for children with life-threatening illnesses.