Building Hope Newsletter, November 2020

In just two nights, we’re going to go live with our first – and hopefully only – virtual Gala & Auction, and I really, really hope you will join us! Registering for the one-hour event is free (check out all the details in our Spotlight below), and I can assure you that we’ve put in the same energy we always do for what is our biggest and most important fundraiser of the year. We know that for some of our supporters who don’t work with us year-round, it’s our one chance to highlight all we’ve achieved over the year. It’s our one chance to demonstrate to you that not only is your support of HomeAid Northern Virginia well-founded, but that we don’t take it for granted. This year, like always, we’re committed to showing you how your support impacts thousands of lives and is a gamechanger for the non-profit partners with whom we work. We’ll honor and thank those who have shown their tremendous support and who show up for us time and again – even in this crazy year. And while I think all of us would agree that this is a year we never want to re-live, I do recognize the beauty in the chaos, the silver linings, the moments when the pluses take over the minuses. So this weekend, I am looking forward to highlighting the large number of projects we continue to pull off thanks to all of your support and expertise. I can’t wait for you to hear from some of the people whose lives have been directly impacted by our work. No, it’s not easy to do this Gala virtually, but I can promise that it will still show you what it means to be a part of the HomeAid family. Please join us. We need you.

With Gratitude,

[divider line_type=”Full Width Line” line_thickness=”1″ divider_color=”accent-color”][image_with_animation image_url=”22211″ alignment=”center” animation=”Fade In” img_link_target=”_blank” border_radius=”none” box_shadow=”none” max_width=”100%” img_link=””%5D%5Bdivider line_type=”No Line”][image_with_animation image_url=”22683″ alignment=”center” animation=”Fade In” img_link_target=”_blank” border_radius=”none” box_shadow=”none” max_width=”100%” img_link=””%5DJust two more days until we kick off our very first virtual Gala & Auction, MASKarade: Coming Together While Apart, and we want you there! Register today – for FREE – and get ready for what we guarantee will bring the very best of HomeAid right to your living room. Dress up, or wear your PJs! Pop the cork on your very own house party, shake (or stir!) your very own Quarantini cocktail, or settle in with a cup of hot cocoa. No matter how you choose to participate, we can’t wait to celebrate with you from 7:00 to 8:00 p.m. this Saturday, November 14. Our program will include new videos highlighting our impact over the last 19 years as well as our 2020 Project of the Year. We’ll honor the very best of our industry with our 2020 Presidents’ Awards and, we’ll set the stage for carrying our mission forward by offering live and silent auctions and continuing our paddle challenge tradition. All raise critically needed funds in a year that has challenged non-profits like no other!A very special thank you to Doug and Ann Smith for your incredible generosity in providing our Paddle Match of $20,000!


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[divider line_type=”No Line”][image_with_animation image_url=”22690″ alignment=”” animation=”Fade In” img_link_target=”_blank” border_radius=”none” box_shadow=”none” max_width=”100%” img_link=””%5D%5Bdivider line_type=”Full Width Line” line_thickness=”1″ divider_color=”accent-color”]It’s Hunger & Homelessness Awareness Month, when we strive to draw attention to – and help – those who are living on the edge, forced to choose between basic necessities like purchasing food, paying rent, or going to the doctor. Did you know that 43.1 million Americans live below the poverty level; 549,000 Americans are homeless on a typical night; 42 million Americans are at risk of suffering from hunger; and 1 in 5 children in the U.S. live in poverty?
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Representatives from HomeAid Northern Virginia, Bethany House, Van Metre Homes, and Toll Brothers begin the demo and renovation at a house used for Bethany House’s domestic violence shelter program.

It’s been 10 years in the making, but in late October, HomeAid Northern Virginia and co-Builder Captains Van Metre Homes and Toll Brothers kicked off what will be a major midsix-figure renovation of a 1,500-square foot home owned by Bethany House of Northern Virginia.  

Used as a shelter house for women and children who have escaped domestic violence, the home will be essentially gutted top to bottom, redesigned for ADA compliance, and expanded to accommodate seven bedrooms for six families and the on-site house manager.  

“I am so excited to finally move this project forward after 10 long years,” said HomeAid Northern Virginia CEO and Executive Director Kristyn Burr. “A series of events kept us in a holding pattern for too long, but that’s behind us now – I can’t wait to see this come to fruition for Bethany House and for all the women and children who depend on them.” 

“For women and children who have been living in an oppressive environment and victimized by abusers, this property will allow us to provide safety and comfort,” said Olga Johnson, executive director for Bethany House. “The house has been in desperate need of a facelift for a long time, and now we can make it the kind of place people will want to come home to. There are no words to describe the elation we feel that this is finally happening; we are so grateful to all of the donors and volunteers who are making it possible.”  

The large-scale project will call into play two Builder Captains, a strategy that HomeAid has successfully employed for other large projects. 

Mike Sandkuhler, vice president of building operations for Van Metre, agrees that sharing the Builder Captain role is a good way to manage projects that could be beyond the scope that a builder could handle solo. “Since this is a full gut and rebuild,” he said, “ we designed the timeline so that Van Metre will handle the initial demolition all the way up until right before drywall, and then Toll Brothers will take it from drywall to completion.  

“The beauty of HomeAid,” he continued, “is that the normal competitiveness between builders in the open market goes right out the window, and that couldn’t be more true than with Toll. They are an awesome team to work with, and we share so many of the same trade partners, which makes the process even easier. Van Metre BASE, our production facility in Winchester that makes trusses and other lumber materials, is also joining in, so we’re a trade partner and a Builder Captain at the same time. It’s going to be a great project, and we’re excited to be a part of it!” 

Scott Canan, division vice president for Toll, agrees, remembering that when he first joined the HomeAid Board, Brian Davidson from Van Metre was urging members to step up as Builder Captains – and the Bethany House project was at the top of the list 

“This project was going to be a big one, and we had just completed a big project in Woodbridge … we also were doing charity events, like a golf tournament that raised $60,000 for HomeAidso I felt hesitant to jump in again. But I finally said, ‘Brian, how about we do it as a joint venture?’ He agreed on the spot, and it helped convey the message to others that there are many ways to make a big impact. We’ve worked with Mike and Van Metre for a long time, we’re friends, and we have each other’s backs. This house is going to be another awesome result of the kind of collaboration that HomeAid is so great at encouraging.” 

It’s a misnomer that everyone who has been plagued by domestic violence is financially destitute,” added Johnson. “In reality, people who choose to flee violence often have to also choose to become temporarily homeless, if they don’t have control of finances. It doesn’t mean they don’t come from a place of means; it just means they don’t have access. So to be able to offer a home like this – which will for many women and children more closely match the lifestyle they’re accustomed to  means that kids won’t be frightened beyond measure by the turn not only in their circumstance but also in their environment. A safe home can also be a nice home; they shouldn’t be mutually exclusive.”  

It is anticipated that the project will take six months to complete, at which point Room to Rebloom, a non-profit dedicated to creating healing home environments for survivors of domestic violence, will handle the interior design and non-appliance furnishings with funds from Knock Out Abuse, a non-profit that provides transformational support to women and children escaping domestic violence.[divider line_type=”Full Width Line” line_thickness=”1″ divider_color=”accent-color”]Although Northern Virginia is considered to be one of the wealthiest jurisdictions in the country, it still faces a hunger and poverty rate of 6 percent. This means, based on U.S. Census figures, that more than 70,000 people in Northern Virginia are living in poverty and 30 percent are children.
Source: Food for Others[divider line_type=”Full Width Line” line_thickness=”1″ divider_color=”accent-color”][divider line_type=”Full Width Line” line_thickness=”1″ divider_color=”accent-color”]We love a good fundraiser or collection drive, whether it’s a day-long, sold-out golf tournament or an intimate happy hour, and we are so grateful for two recent NVBIA committee events that combined networking and giving, during the peak of our region’s glorious October weather!

On October 15, Women in the Building Industry held their annual networking event at Paradise Springs in Clifton, where they also collected home essential items for our Helping Hands program. The following week, on October 21, Building Future Leaders met for their annual Oktoberfest, at Caboose Commons in Fairfax, where they collected grocery gift cards and cash donations for our Fill the ‘Fridge program, with a one-to-one match from Thompson Greenspon. Together, we collected more than $750 for these important programs. Thank you, WBI and Future Leaders!

Interested in making HomeAid Northern Virginia the beneficiary of your organization’s upcoming meeting or event? Please contact Kristyn Burr, and let’s make some plans![divider line_type=”Full Width Line” line_thickness=”1″ divider_color=”accent-color”]In Fairfax County, an estimated 56,350 people are food insecure. With the average meal cost at $3.75, that means an annual food budget shortfall of $36,081,000.
Source: Feeding America[divider line_type=”Full Width Line” line_thickness=”1″ divider_color=”accent-color”][divider line_type=”Full Width Line” line_thickness=”1″ divider_color=”accent-color”][image_with_animation alignment=”” animation=”Fade In” border_radius=”none” box_shadow=”none” max_width=”100%”]Since COVID-19 upturned our lives and economy in March, food insecurity has risen dramatically; the Capital Area Food Bank reports a 400 percent increase in food insecurity throughout the region, which is expected to last well into next year. Pre-COVID, the Prince William Food Rescue (PWFR) – a program of ACTS, a long-time shelter care provider partner of HomeAid Northern Virginia’s – were regularly running about 250 food rescue operations a month, saving about 50,000 pounds of food. Since March, they’re now completing 300 rescues a week, moving 400,000 pounds of food to 72 distribution sites throughout Prince William County.

Clearly, hunger is a pressing need, and organizations like the PWFR are making massive inroads to help meet it. And while the pandemic increased food insecurity and hunger to startling levels, the lessons learned – and the new infrastructure built to help support increased need – will benefit our region long after the pandemic is behind us.

Aaron Tolson, PWFR program director for ACTS, says the breakdown of food supply happened quickly and will take a long time to rectify: “In March and April, the national food supply imploded around the country, as grocery stores quickly ran out of products and couldn’t restock fast enough to meet demand. Even when they finally did re-stock, they placed limitations on how much any one person could purchase. People couldn’t buy ‘extras’ of anything to donate to food pantries, leading to bare shelves while need was increasing. Many pantries had to shut down when senior citizens – one of our country’s biggest corps of volunteers – had to stay home for safety. Supply became a problem almost immediately. 

 The solution was to expand PWRF, whose original sole purpose was to rescue food from institutions such as grocery stores, farmers markets, and restaurants and get it to the food pantries. PWRF had started ramping up about a year prior, following a model established by a Pittsburgh-based organization called 412 Food Rescue and developing an app to help identify need and organize donors and volunteers. 

 “Prince William County also pitched in by sharing warehouse space with us in Manassas,” Tolson said, “and by partnering with the Capital Area Food Bank and the USDA’s Farmers to Families Food Box program, we were soon delivering 9,600 boxes of food every week to the community – the equivalent of about nine tractortrailer loads. The County also gave us $1 million to buy non-perishable food, which volunteers used to build food boxes that feed a family of four for four days.”  

 To help address food insecurity for those who can’t leave home, either due to quarantine or physical limitations, PWFR set up a food helpline, with bilingual volunteers answering phones Monday to Friday and working with the County’s mapping site to determine the closest pantry. If a person couldn’t get the food themselves, volunteers gather dietary needs, household size, and address, and another volunteer delivers food directly to their home. To date, more than 1,000 contactless home deliveries have been made.  

 “There are just three of us on staff, and none of this infrastructure existed pre-COVID,” Tolson added. “It’s a massive community effort and a great way to involve a lot of people – from drivers to warehouse managers to the food rescue heroes who move the food. Add in the pantries, and their own staff and volunteers, and we have a multi-layered partnership that is doing huge work. This need existed all along … COVID just helped shine the light on it. Even in a year or two, when need will likely drop, we won’t go back to the way we used to do thingsWe’ll always need this sort of operation.” 

 ACTS is working next to launch a subsidiary, Northern Virginia Food Rescue, to help surrounding counties replicate efforts. To find out more about PWFR – as a volunteer, donor, distribution partner, or recipient – visit, call 703.441.8606, or download the free Prince William Food Rescue app.  

 Find a resource, or help be the resource. We’re all in it together. 

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Volunteers with Prince William Food Rescue pack thousands of pounds of food every week for distribution throughout the County.

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Sammy Velasquez

Sammy Velasquez, president of Velasquez Contractor, Inc., has long said that the company’s most important partnership is with their clients; instead of partnering with lumberyards and truss providers, for example, they brought everything in-house to give homebuilders exactly what they need to meet their time, cost and quality commitments. And it’s with that kind of personalized service outlook that Sammy and his team have become one of HomeAid Northern Virginia’s most dedicated partners. They’ve worked on nearly a dozen projects, have contributed generously in sponsorship and event registrations, and have never said “no” when we needed help. Mike Sandkuhler, vice president of building operations for Van Metre Homes and former president of HomeAid Northern Virginia, says of Sammy, “I cannot say enough about him and what he’s done for Van Metre and HomeAid. If you ask him to do anything, there’s never a question or concern. He just makes it work. He’s a great partner and we’re lucky to have him.”

Read on to find out more about why Sammy is so committed to our mission!

Q: You and your team are enormous supporters of HomeAid, always going above and beyond for them. What were your earliest impressions of HomeAid, and why did you decide to get involved?

A: We believe there should never be children without a home, so when we were given the opportunity to help by working with HomeAid, there was no doubt in our mind to support the cause as much as we could. Fast forward over a decade later, and after many projects we couldn’t be happier with the decision we made by partnering with HomeAid.

Q: What makes you keep saying “yes” to HomeAid?

A: Again, the idea of families or individuals being without a home is simply something I cannot accept. I will continue to help in any way possible!

Q: What has surprised you most about working with HomeAid, especially in terms of homelessness in Northern Virginia?

A: HomeAid has come a long way since I first partnered with them. The amount of enthusiasm and hard work to help the homeless families continues to impress me year after year.

Q: Tell us about your company … what do you love most about your career?

A: We are a residential framing contractor who has been involved in homebuilding for over 30 yrs. I love being a big part of building a house for a family to call home.

Q: If someone was thinking of working with HomeAid, what would you tell them?

A: If you like to help people – especially people in need – then this is the organization to partner with![divider line_type=”Full Width Line” line_thickness=”1″ divider_color=”accent-color”]

Builders for Babies
Our Third Annual “Builders for Babies” collection drive is in full swing! Please help us collect diapers and wipes for our communities’ littlest citizens, and counteract the reality of what can be a $1,000 annual expense, per baby.

Thank you to those who have already contributed to our collection drive:

If you are a non-profit currently in need of diapers, wipes, and formula, please contact us directly and let us know what your needs are.

Coming Soon …
Please keep an eye out for our Annual Campaign postcard, with one of the most critical appeals for giving we’ve sent since our founding in 2001. Please think of us when you’re considering year-end donations; the COVID-19 pandemic has been hard on all of us, and as a non-profit that depends on charitable giving, we need your support. Thank you!

Gear Up for GolfAid
Registration is now open for HomeAid Northern Virginia’s 4th Annual GolfAid – a fundraising and business-building event that will be held at TopGolf Loudoun on March 4, 2021. This event features three hours of unlimited golf & networking with home builders, trade partners & industry leaders in climate-controlled hitting bays. Register today, before it sells out!

HomeAid Northern Virginia is Hiring a Full-Time Programs Manager
We’re hiring and looking for candidates with excellent organizational and project management skills, who are looking for a way to use them for the good of their community. This full-time position will involve managing our smaller renovation projects at shelters—from the first administrative details and forms, to visiting construction sites with builders, to planning events to celebrate the completion of projects. More details and application guidelines are available online; please help us find the perfect new addition to our staff!

Shop for a Cause
Supporting HomeAid can be as easy as shopping at your local Giant Grocery Store. Simply pick up a $2.50 reusable Community Bag at the Giant Food located at 2551 John Milton Drive, Herndon, VA in December, and we will receive a $1 donation for every bag sold![divider line_type=”Full Width Line” line_thickness=”1″ divider_color=”accent-color”]

The HomeAid Northern Virginia office will be closed on Thursday and Friday, November 26 and 27, so that our staff can enjoy an extended Thanksgiving holiday. We will also be closed the week of December 28 in observance of the winter holidays. 

Virtual 19th Annual Gala & Auction MASKarade – Saturday, November 14, VIRTUAL

4th Annual GolfAid Fundraiser – Thursday, March 4, 2021, TopGolf Loudoun, Ashburn, VA

2021 Annual Housing Forum – Thursday, May 13, 2021, Reston Community Center, Reston, VA

12th Annual Builders & Friends BBQ – Thursday, June 17, 2021, Location: TBD

7th Annual HomeAid Golf Tournament – Friday, September 17, 2021, Raspberry Falls Golf & Hunt Club, Leesburg, VA

20th Annual HomeAid Gala & Auction – Saturday, November 13, 2021, Lansdown Resort & Spa, Leesburg, VA

In this newsletter:
Executive Director & CEO Corner
This Saturday! HomeAid’s MASKarade: Coming Together While Apart Virtual Gala & Auction
HomeAid, Van Metre Homes, Toll Brothers Launch Major Renovation for Bethany House
Third Party Collections Support HomeAid’s Outreach
Homelessness & Hunger Awareness Month Snapshot: Prince William Food Rescue
Because Everyone Deserves a Home