Building Hope Newsletter, May

Executive Director & CEO Corner

Our Builders for Babies diaper drive is kicking off this month, and while everyone knows how essential diapers and wipes are, I wanted to dig deeper into why we focus so much effort on our collection efforts. First, diapers and wipes are expensive, with an average cost of $1000 per baby per year. That adds up, especially when we consider that most babies are in diapers until age three and then in products like Pull-Ups and Swimmer diapers until about age five. Only one federal assistance program – TANF – can be used for diapers, but TANF has to be stretched over expenses, including utilities, rent, clothing, transportation, and other basic needs. The result is one in three families struggles with diaper needs – a lack of a sufficient supply of diapers to keep their baby clean, dry, and healthy.

We’re not immune from these issues in Virginia: 32% of births in Virginia are covered by Medicaid, and a quarter of WIC recipients are infants. Those are families for whom diapers is an enormous expense and often not within reach. Nationwide, more than half of parents experiencing diaper need who rely on childcare said they missed an average of four days of school or work in the past month because they didn’t have diapers. If not having access to diapers persists, a vicious cycle is launched, as without diapers a parent cannot go to work, and not working disqualifies a parent from vital childcare resources like Early Head Start. And that, friends, is where HomeAid and people like you come in. By collecting diapers and wipes for our nonprofit partners who need them, we’re filling a critical gap. We don’t have a lengthy application process we simply ask the nonprofits how many diapers they need and what sizes then we go to work to provide them which is why it’s so important that we meet our 200,000 goal by June 18th. Please join us in our effort, and remember that with every diaper we collect, we’re giving babies and kids access to experiences as varied as feeling comfortable, going to enrichment pre-K, or simply splashing in a community pool.

With gratitude,

In the Neighborhood

New Twists on an Old Favorite

HomeAid’s Builders & Friends BBQ is the perfect mix of great food, live music, collegial games of cornhole, raffle prizes, and the chance to celebrate the builders and trade partners who make our mission of rebuilding lives possible.

This year, the backbone of the event will stay the same, but we’ll be introducing a few new twists:

Be sure to register to attend, and while our Pit Boss and Grill King sponsorships are SOLD OUT, Smokehouse, BBQ Master, and BBQ Chef levels still remain. Find out more about our most popular Summer event!

Attention, Builder Captains & Trade Partners!

If you participated in a HomeAid project between July 2022 and now, you get TWO FREE tickets to the BBQ. Contact Julianna Blaylock to reserve your tickets today.


In Your Community

May is for Mother’s Day and Builders for Babies

On Mother’s Day, we will officially launch Builders for Babies Diaper Drive 2023, which will run from May 14 through June 18 (Father’s Day). Companies and individuals can help us reach our goal of collecting 200,000 diapers and wipes by hosting a donation site or shopping our Amazon Wish list. It’s a great way to get your friends and colleagues involved in HomeAid’s mission and to give back to the community.

Thank you to the following companies and individuals for your commitment to our mission!

Hosting a Drive:

Purchasing Diapers and Wipes Directly:

 If you and your team would like to participate, contact Julianna Blaylock.

Making It Count

Thank You, Care Day Volunteers!

A big hat tip to Toll Brothers, Community Landscape Services, NVBIA Future Leaders, Lennar, Van Metre BASE, and Sun Design Remodeling for your willingness to pay it forward through Care Days, hands-on volunteer service days where volunteers come together to give back to local HomeAid nonprofit partners.

In April, volunteers from Lennar, and Sun Design Remodeling spent the morning organizing, inventorying, and moving clothing, toiletries, and nonperishable food into a newly renovated space at a domestic violence shelter run by Shelter House in Reston. Toll Brothers also partnered with us to organize and inventory two storage units filled with donations for Shelter House in Chantilly. Now, staff and volunteers can more easily and quickly access items they need to serve their clients!

In May, Community Landscape Services partnered with us to provide professional landscaping services for a low-income housing unit owned by New Hope Housing in Springfield, while 35 NVBIA Future Leaders spent the day weeding, trimming, planting flowers, and mulching at five affordable housing units for Cornerstones in the Reston/Herndon area. Together, they made outdoor spaces beautiful places to relax, recharge, and play – just in time for Spring! Also in May, Van Metre BASE installed three raised garden beds and two benches they built for ALIVE!’s Food Hub Garden in Del Ray.

Typical Care Day tasks include landscaping, organizing, and cleaning, which are provided at no cost to the nonprofit, allowing them to use those vital savings in time and money elsewhere. If you or your company would like to participate in a Care Day, please contact Julianna Blaylock.

Support Spotlight

A Different Kind of “Boots on the Ground “Volunteerism

Jennifer Callanan, an architect with Sun Design, has worked in the residential homebuilding industry for more than 20 years and started volunteering with HomeAid last year after reading about our rebranding on LinkedIn. In that time, she’s thrown herself into supporting our events and initiatives, working at our Gala & Auction, hosting a home essentials drive and committing to this spring’s diaper drive, and rolling up her sleeves for a Care Day with Shelter House. How did she discover us and what keeps her coming back? Learn more about Jennifer’s involvement – we hope you’ll feel as inspired as we do!

Jennifer Callanan

Q: What inspires you to get more deeply invested in helping advance HomeAid’s mission?

A: I first heard about HomeAid nearly 20 years ago and have kept tabs on their work; I always admired the partnering of the homebuilding industry with local non-profit organizations focused on serving those experiencing homelessness. I was inspired to finally get involved last Fall. My cousin works with women experiencing homelessness in Minneapolis, doing amazing ‘boots on the ground’ work. Her work and passion helped me realize that we all can play a role in helping those who are unsheltered, and while I’m not able to be a ‘boots on the ground’ person, I can use my time and talents to in a different way. 

Q: What have you been most surprised to learn about homelessness in the area?

A: The overall magnitude of the situation – not just in our local area but across the entire nation – is eye opening, and understanding that homelessness and housing insecurity can impact all socio-economic situations has really been an education. I’ve also found the numbers just staggering when it comes to food insecurity and the volume of people using food pantries and similar programs.

Q: What do you enjoy most about volunteering with HomeAid?

A: No matter how small my contribution, I’m making a difference, and the small efforts of individuals build to a huge combined effort. That is really meaningful to me. I love the synergy of the HomeAid staff – they are uniformly cheerful, helpful, and organized, and communication is terrific. I also love the variety of ways people can contribute; those in the homebuilding industry can provide materials or labor for the construction projects or serve as sponsors, and others can do everything from donate home essentials, volunteer for a Care Day, help plan the year-end Gala, donate diapers or wipes, or organize a drive.   

Q: Tell us about your career with the Sun Design.

A: I am the Director of Design at Sun Design, where I support a team of 14 architectural and interior designers. I love the company’s mission of “Bringing Families Together,” and it’s incredibly satisfying to bring to life our client’s visions and dreams. Our homes should be a place where we feel safe and at peace, where we can re-charge and relax, and where we can feel proud of our lives. My career allows me to help achieve that goal every day, and it dovetails so perfectly with HomeAid’s mission. I’m honored to work for a company that listens to and supports its employees; I brought up the idea of hosting an Essentials Drive last Fall and within a few weeks, Sun Design was helping make it happen. That feels great.

Upcoming Events

Builders for Babies Diaper Drive
May 14 to June 18, 2023

Builders and Friends BBQ
June 15, 2023 4:00 PM – 7:00 PM
North Lake Pavilion National Botanic Garden
26320 Ticonderoga Road South Riding, VA 20152