Hometown Habitat News

Jingle Build-Off 2022 Recap

Shuffield Lowman Jingle Build-Off Winners 2022

What started out as a spark of imagination has grown into a flourishing fundraiser for Habitat for Humanity Lake-Sumter. In its 4th year, more than 100 volunteers were on site in downtown Tavares participating in the construction and decoration of 13 individually themed playhouses.

Teams sponsored the build of each playhouse to support and benefit Habitat’s affordable homeownership programs and preservation services. Teams of any kind can build playhouses – corporate groups, faith congregations, youth and school groups, members of community organizations and groups of friends. Each playhouse takes 3-4 hours to build and paint with the help of 8-10 volunteers.

It is an inspiring opportunity to see something beautiful and meaningful come together out of a few pieces of wood, knowing that it will bring light into the life of a deserving child in the community. After they are decorated, later in the day the parents, some with many family members present, arrived with the children to surprise them with a playhouse of their own in their favorite theme.

The 2022 Winner of Best Playhouse was the team from ShuffieldLowman with their Princess Castle themed playhouse, which was decked out with a pink fur rug, bookcase full of books, and even a pink chandelier!

It was a magical experience for all involved to see the look on the children’s faces when they saw their playhouse for the very first time, lighting up with animation when they realized the special playhouse was their very own home! The Jingle Build-Off is designed to be a stepping-stone to teach young children the pride and joy of homeownership. 

It’s moments like this that reinforce what HFHLS builds within our community! 

Want to get involved for next year’s friendly team build competition?

Would like to receive a playhouse next year?

Contact us! Lacie@habitatLS.org or Melanie@habitatLS.org

Old time radio club donates to Habitat

Old Time Radio Club with Lacie 2022

A $740 check was presented to Lacie Himes of Habitat for Humanity Lake-Sumter by Old Time Radio club president and players director Ed Williams and show producer, Richard Bigelow. The check was presented on Nov. 29 and was collected through the Old Time Radio group’s presentation of War of the Worlds.

The Villages Old-Time Radio Drama Club donated $740 in proceeds from their “War of the Worlds” performance to Habitat for Humanity of Lake-Sumter.

The Old-Time Radio Club and Players staged a performance in the Lake Miona Recreation Center of the famous H.G. Wells radio program – a radio drama that startled millions of people who were listening to it on the original air date of Oct. 30, 1938.

On that same date, 84 years later, Oct. 30, 2022, a theater audience of 250 enjoyed a live re-creation of the original script. In lieu of an admissions charge, The Villages Old-Time Radio Club requested donations in support of Habitat for Humanity Lake-Sumter.

The donations will help support new construction and Preservation and Repair projects in Lake and Sumter counties.

Habitat for Humanity Lake-Sumter’s mission is to bring people together to build homes, community and hope.

Click here to read the full article from Sumter Sun Times

Holiday Appeal

brewington family end of the year appeal 2022

As I look forward to the season of celebration that is upon us, I can’t help but recall the families who have been blessed this year, thanks to your compassionate giving.  

Because of your support, we’ve built 278 new homes and repaired more than 280 homes for families since 1989, providing access to the most valuable gift we can give– a safe place to call home.

But families in Lake and Sumter Counties are facing unprecedented challenges. In this time of tremendous need, here is a powerful opportunity to make a difference.

For the second year in a row, Citizens First Bank has offered an outstanding match (up to $100,000)!

Give today and your gift of $50 will be doubled to become $100.

Your gift of $250 will become $500!

This year’s challenge gift opportunity is coming at a crucial time. Between escalating housing costs and inflation, owning a home feels out of reach for more and more people in Lake and Sumter counties. Families like the Brewington’s face the difficult choice between rising housing costs and life’s necessities, like nutritious food or new shoes for school.

During difficult times, we count on you.

Your donation gives hope to families like the Brewington’s. As a first-time homeowner, Marsha will be able to raise her grandchildren with the safety and stability that comes from home, providing Kaemon and Demyla a place to learn and grow. An affordable home removes barriers to opportunity and provides financial flexibility to build a better future for the Brewington Family.

Will you give the gift of home this holiday season?


Danielle Stroud signature

Danielle Stroud

P.S. Make a gift today and help us double the $100,000 donation from Citizen’s First Bank, so we can make an even BIGGER impact for people in need of decent housing.

The Power of Planned Giving: The Lucille A. Smith Fund

the power of giving 2022


In 2009, a gift of $179,000 was given to the Community Foundation of South Lake to establish an endowment that would benefit Habitat for Humanity of Lake-Sumter, Florida in perpetuity.  Over the past ten years, the fund has awarded $123,347 to Habitat to support the work we do in Lake and Sumter Counties. At the start of 2021, that fund had a value of over $196,000.

When an endowed fund is created, lasting community impact is ensured through a permanent charitable fund. Lucille’s gift is invested over time, and a percentage of the fund’s market value is used annually to make charitable grants to Habitat Lake-Sumter.

Lucille A. Smith may no longer be here, but her legacy lives on through her thoughtful and planned gift to ensure her most cherished charity would be supported. Lucille was born in Elizabethton, TN. In the 1950’s she moved to Clermont, FL to raise her family and where she enjoyed being a part of the First Baptist Church of Clermont, along with many clubs and activities.

Today, and forever, Habitat for Humanity of Lake-Sumter will benefit because Lucille cared enough about her community and had the vision to see the lasting impact of her gift. Anyone has the opportunity to make the same type of impactful gift.

We know that safe, decent, affordable housing provides a cornerstone for families to build healthier lives full of promise. Whether you would like to put your donation to work today or benefit families after your lifetime, a planned gift ensures that your legacy will continue in your community for generations to come.

There are many options to create lasting and meaningful change through Habitat Lake-Sumter, learn how you can build a legacy, now and in the future.

Interested in learning more about leaving a Legacy Gift, but not sure where to start?

  • Call or email Lacie Himes at (352) 483-0434 x 146, Lacie@HabitatLS.org to learn more about how to leave Habitat for Humanity of Lake-Sumter in your will, trust, or annuity plan.
  • Download Example Bequest Language (opens in a new window)
  • Copy and paste our full legal description below when planning a gift to benefit Habitat for Humanity of Lake-Sumter: Habitat for Humanity of Lake-Sumter Foundation, Inc., a non-profit corporation, organized under the laws of the State of Florida, with its principal office located at 906 Avenida Central, The Villages, FL 32159– Federal Tax ID #: 47-2312472

July 2022 – Sponsor of the Month: Home Depot Foundation

Kemp Family Home Depot Foundation July 2022

Habitat for Humanity Lake-Sumter is invested in helping those that have invested in our country, and this month we’ve partnered with The Home Depot Foundation, to fulfill that mission.

Veterans are an important focus among Habitat’s programs. With Lake and Sumter Counties large population of Veterans, we’re committed to improve access to safe and affordable housing for them through our Veterans Housing Initiative.

Veteran-centered projects were renewed thanks to our partnership with The Home Depot Foundation – Repair Corps. The Home Depot Foundation allotted Habitat Lake-Sumter $40,000 to serve our veterans once again.

This money was crucial in completing critical home repairs to areas such as, roofing, sub floors, accessibility, plumbing, and more. The Home Depot Foundation created the means for Habitat Lake-Sumter to help Veterans in need and to improve their living situation. This partnership improved the stability and security for those who deserve it most. It also impacted many lives and communities, one of which was Mr. Kenneth Kemp.

“I was in a very dark place before reaching out to Habitat a year ago…I got the call, and everything in my life turned around! My home is better, my life is better…I’m just so grateful for what Habitat and Home Depot have done for me.” -Kenneth Kemp

Mr. Kemp faithfully served in the Army for 14 years. During his time, he sustained multiple physical injuries which left him 80% disabled. As he journeyed on after his time in the Army, he pursued other professions, all to support his family, but ultimately his disability greatly impacted his life. Now retired, Mr. Kemp has lived in his home for 20 years.  His home began to fall into disrepair due to natural aging of the home and hurricane damage. Due to his disabilities, Mr. Kemp was unable to complete them on his own. He needed assistance and was struggling to find it. Mr. Kemp felt that his home was a reflection of his life, which was currently declining. His home status was impacting his mental well-being.

The Home Depot Foundation created a beautiful opportunity for Mr. Kemp and his home. His home needed subfloor repair, roof repair, and foundation leveling. The repairs needed were unmanageable both financially and physically, but with the funds awarded to Habitat Lake-Sumter, Mr. Kemp was able to receive the necessary repairs.

Since receiving the call from Habitat, Mr. Kemp’s life has changed for the better. He found love again and the couple married this May. He is now proud of his home and happy to share his newly repaired home with his wife.  Mr. and Mrs. Kemp’s home is now safe and ready to be filled with love and new memories.

It was an honor to serve Mr. Kemp and to be a part of the life changing differences that were made through the partnership with The Home Depot Foundation.

Sponsor of the Month: Publix Super Markets Charities

Banner Family with Publix Super Market Staff 2022

“Since Publix finished painting our house, so many of our neighbors and friends have stopped by admiring our home. They love how the blue just makes the home pop out. They really did a great job and we’re so happy!”– Jimmie

Publix Super Markets Charities awards Habitat for Humanity of Lake-Sumter with a $35,000 grant in support of preservation and critical home repairs. As a lead sponsor since 2015, Publix Super Markets Charities has annually contributed $35,000 to Habitat’s Preservation and Repair program and has improved the lives of more than 200 families in Lake and Sumter Counties.

Preservation & Repair has become a vital way Habitat Lake-Sumter addresses the affordable housing need in our community, annually providing access to home repairs and critical improvements for 45 families and individuals. Because of Publix Super Markets Charities support, we’ve increased the number of families served for a total of 67 projects completed this year!

Over the course of two days, Publix team members from 5 districts came together to volunteer on a critical home repair project in Mt. Dora sponsored by Publix. Not only does Publix Super Markets Charities provide a financial investment in the community, but their team members dedicate hours of volunteer time to see the projects successfully completed.

Jimmie and Marian have lived in their home for almost 40 years. When the Banner’s home began falling into disrepair, Jimmie tried his best to manage the repairs on his own. With a background in carpentry, he managed to do some repairs on his own such as replacing the bathroom sink, kitchen cabinets, and some drywall repair. However, as an elder adult and current fixed income, these tasks proved to be too demanding both financially and physically with his health complications. Jimmie and his wife, Marian are thankful that they were referred to Habitat Lake-Sumter and are very grateful for the assistance provided by Publix Super Markets Charities and their local staff in repairing and beautifying their home. In addition to a new roof and windows, the Banners received critical interior renovations, including a new roof and HVAC system,  flooring throughout the home, counter tops, and much needed bathroom fixtures. With the help of the dedicated Publix team, the Banners’ home also received a fresh, vibrant blue exterior painting chosen by Marian. 

We are grateful for the longstanding support Publix Super Markets Charities has shown the Preservation and Repair program, thank you for partnering with us to build strength, stability, and independence for families in our community!


Women Build Update!

Women Build Pre-Celebration Sisterhood 2022

We celebrated an incredible evening with the Women Build Presenting Sponsor, AgeWave Solutions Inc, honoring all the Women Build participants, top fundraising teams and the highlight of the evening: inducting new members into the Sisterhood of the Pink Hard Hats!

This year, we had 66 Women Build participants who rallied their communities to raise over $70,000 to build a home and transform the lives of Sheena Tynes and her children. We’re celebrating our highest goal achieved through Women Build and the growing Sisterhood of the Pink Hard Hats, 15 new members were inducted into the Sisterhood!   



Top Fundraising Team:

Chicks with Sticks raised $18,073 and partnered with Habitat to secure material donations for the home!

Honorable Mentions:

  • Team Nailed It! was the first and only team to have every member inducted into the Sisterhood of the Pink Hard Hats!
  • 9 of the 11 Teams raised over $1,000! View the leadership board here!


Top Fundraiser:

Lisa Carter Harsh from Chicks with Sticks raised $9,012! A record-setting achievement.

Honorable Mentions:

Ruth Pizarro from Chicks with Sticks raised $5,052 and Laurie Bryant from the Hammer Knockers raised almost $3,000 and passed on the title of Top Fundraiser to Lisa Carter Harsh.

The effort of these incredible individuals is supported by our Presenting Sponsor, AgeWave Solutions, Inc and this year’s Hard Hat Sponsor, Sun Kool Air Conditioning.

This year, Women Build participants will be raising the walls for a new home in Eustis, Florida. Construction officially begins on Saturday, June 25th and Women Builders will be on-site for two weeks as we work together to build a home! 

The opportunity to own an affordable home can remove barriers that might have been part of a family’s life for years, if not generations. Thanks to Women Build, we can offer that opportunity for a family who needs it most.


Women Build empowers you to make a difference. Together, we can build homes, communities, and better futures for local families. If interested in learning more about Women Build or joining us for next year’s build, contact Development Director, Lacie Himes at (352) 483-0434 x 146 or Lacie@habitatLS.org

Thank you AgeWave and SunKool Women Build 2022 sponsors

Students help fulfill family’s home dream

The Thomas Family with the Villages Charter School students 2022

A local family of five has finally gotten the home it always wanted. On Friday morning, Habitat for Humanity Lake-Sumter and members of the Construction Management Academy at The Villages High School presented the keys to a brand new home in Wildwood to Shane Thomas, Nicole Brandon and their three children. Thomas addressed the crowd at the dedication ceremony. “This means a lot to my family,” he said. “We struggled a lot for a long time, so to be able to have a home that we can call our own — it’s hard to put it into words.” All 13 VHS seniors in the construction academy were involved in various capacities throughout the build, from flooring to the roof’s trusses, to help them get a real feel for the work.

 The Construction Management Academy is just one of multiple academies available at The Villages High School that prepare students for post-secondary education and the workforce.

“These are kids building a home like this,” Thomas said. “It’s amazing, guys.” 

During the ceremony, each student was introduced, and construction academy instructor Bruce Haberle commented on their performance in the program. VHS Principal Rob Grant also was in attendance.

“It’s one of my favorite days of the year as a principal — being able to come out and see the accomplishments of our kids,” Grant said.

Danielle Stroud, president and chief executive officer of Habitat for Humanity Lake-Sumter, spoke about what building and dedicating a home means for students and the community.

“What you guys built here today will last past your time in school,” Stroud said. “And it will continue to invest in families just like you guys.”

The Brandon family put in more than 200 “sweat equity hours,” which included helping out with the build and taking financial literacy courses, Stroud said. 

Habitat for Humanity Lake-Sumter makes sure the housing is affordable with a manageable mortgage.

Click here for the full story by Garrett Shiflet, Daily Sun Staff Writer

Sponsor of the Month: RoMac Building Supply

romac match 2022 thank you

Fulfilling their 6th year as Habitat Lake-Sumter’s March Match sponsor, RoMac Building Supply continues to be a driving supporter of our Youth Construction Academy. Under the leadership of CEO Don Magruder, the Youth Construction Academy has expanded to 4 schools across Lake-Sumter, with aspirations of making Leesburg High School the number 1 construction academy in the state! To date, the Youth Construction Academy has built 10 homes across Lake and Sumter Counties.

Thanks to the generous donations and community support throughout the month of March and the RoMac Building Supply matching investment of $20,000, we were able to raise $39,450 during this year’s RoMac Match campaign.

This is our highest match result to date, with an estimated $9,000 increase from last year!

We not only met our goal, but we surpassed it! This great accomplishment was made possible because of caring supporters like each and every one of you believing in our youth and the importance of decent, affordable homes!

Every donation received directly supports the vocational training for the students in the Youth Construction Academy, as well as fulfilling the dream of a future homeowner with decent, affordable housing.

RoMac Building Supply continues to pledge their support in Habitat’s mission to build communities, hope, and homes and an unwavering commitment to bettering the opportunities of our youth. Because of RoMac’s devotion to improving the lives of deserving families and future outlook of our students through skilled trades, these families and students will have the tools to brighter futures ahead.

Thank you for supporting and investing in the future of our youth and future homeowners.

Click here to watch this series to see the impact of RoMac’s Annual March Match!

Ro-Mac Building Supply is a family owned and operated lumber and building material supply company headquartered in Leesburg, Florida. Ro-Mac Building Supply has been supplying lumber and building materials to residential and commercial contractors, as well as individual homeowners, throughout Central Florida, since 1945. For more information, please visit https://www.romacfl.com/

March Match with RoMac Building Supplies

x2 the Impact 2022 header

We believe that the path to a stable future includes access to hands-on education and vocational training. Because of your support, our Youth Construction Academy has grown to include 4 school partnerships and over 120 students!

Once again, RoMac Building Supply is partnering with YOU to match every dollar donated in March, up to $20,000!

Your gift will help Caitlynn graduate high school career-ready, with the training and education to enter the workforce in a growing industry!

Today, your gift of $25 will
be doubled to become $50!
And your gift of $100 will
become $200!

Through the Youth Construction Academy, students not only open doors for themselves, but open doors for future homeowners. Each year, students build homes and uplift 4 local families, while gaining life-long skills and impacting our community!

Double your dollar and double YOUR impact with RoMac Building Supply. Donate Today!

With gratitude,

Danielle Stroud signature

Danielle Stroud

P.S. Will you invest in Caitlynn’s future? Donate today!


Cadets ‘Spruce up the Block’ in Habitat for Humanity of Lake-Sumter initiative

Cadets from the Massachusetts Maritime Academy paint a house in Mount Dora as part of Habitat for Humanity’s Preservation and Repair program on Thursday. [photo by Cindy Peterson]

Cadets from the Massachusetts Maritime Academy paint a house in Mount Dora as part of Habitat for Humanity’s Preservation and Repair program on Thursday. [Cindy Peterson/Correspondent]

MOUNT DORA — Habitat for Humanity of Lake-Sumter’s preservation and repair program is underway.

A group of cadets from the Massachusetts Maritime Academy are hitting the streets of Mount Dora, Umatilla and Clermont to revitalize neighborhoods. 

“These ‘block parties,’ as we call them, help assist owners who are disabled or who maybe can’t afford repairs,” academy professor Ed Valla said. “We help with landscaping, pressure washing, light repairs and painting the exterior of the home. It’s an effort to help Habitat for Humanity and build a better community.”

A group of about 30 freshmen cadets are taking part in this two-week project. They are studying emergency management services and have had the opportunity to visit with our local police and fire departments for additional training. 

The initiative is in its sixth year. In that time, more than 200 cadets have come through the program in Lake County alone.  

“It feels good to get out and serve other who need it,” freshmen cadet CJ Manning said. “We learn about giving back to the community and all aspects of being a cadet. We are fortunate to have everything we do and want to help others with it.”

One homeowner in Mount Dora was so thankful for the yard work the cadets provided, that she bought them all pizzas for lunch. 

“Homeowners have had a very positive response,” Valla said. “Over in Clermont, they painted 14 houses in two days.” 

A few senior cadets return to the program as mentors, but all faculty and cadets work together on the projects. 

Click here to read the full article by Cindy Peterson, Special to the Daily Commercial

The Live Well Foundation of South Lake awards $1 Million Transformation Grant to Habitat for Humanity of Lake-Sumter

Live Well Check Presentation, January 18, 2022

South Lake, FL – The Live Well Foundation of South Lake announced Habitat for Humanity of Lake-Sumter as recipients of a million dollar transformation grant in support of critical home repairs through Habitat Lake-Sumter’s Preservation and Repair program.

Through Habitat Lake-Sumter’s Preservation and Repair program, low-income homeowners are eligible to receive repairs to increase the safety, accessibility, and beauty of the home. Critical home repairs benefit individuals and families who are unable to maintain the health and stability of their home by themselves due to age, disability, or family circumstances. This program allows Habitat Lake-Sumter to help maintain the affordable housing stock in our community and ensure that everyone has a decent place to live. 

Preservation & Repair has become a vital way Habitat Lake-Sumter addresses the affordable housing need in our community, annually providing access to home repairs and critical improvements for 45 families and individuals. However, thanks to the partnership of the Live Well Foundation of South Lake, Habitat Lake-Sumter will maintain safe, decent, and secure housing for an additional 40 or more families in South Lake specifically.

The South Lake Preservation and Repair program will address poor housing conditions in South Lake County. “With this South Lake Preservation and Repair grant, homeowners are able to stay in the homes in which they already live, while increasing the safety and accessibility of the home.” Said Dr. Kasey Kesselring, Live Well Foundation of South Lake Board Chair. Identified as a social determinant impacting health in Lake County, poor housing conditions is a key factor in quality of life, mental health, and community inclusion.

Danielle Stroud, CEO of Habitat for Humanity Lake-Sumter says, “On behalf of Habitat for Humanity of Lake-Sumter and the families we represent, we are very grateful for this opportunity made possible by The Live Well Foundation of South Lake and so excited to get started on this life-changing program for South Lake residents!”

Uplifting the homes and neighborhoods of individuals in South Lake will help individuals living there and the surrounding community. It will positively impact performances at work and school, improve health and aging-in-place decisions, and instill a sense of belonging in the community.

To learn more about this partnership or Habitat for Humanity’s programs contact Lacie at 352-483-0434 Ext. 146.


About the Live Well Foundation of South Lake

The Live Well Foundation of South Lake, Inc. was formed with an agreement between Orlando Health and the South Lake Memorial Hospital organization which resulted in South Lake Memorial Hospital relinquishing its seats on the board of South Lake Hospital. Orlando Health generously provided $128 million to the new foundation. The contribution coincided with the South Lake Hospital becoming a controlled subsidiary of Orlando Health. The Live Well Foundation, established in 2019 as a 501(c)(3) and dedicated to inspiring sustainable initiatives that enhance the health and wellness of the South Lake community, aspires to attract and fund much needed healthcare and healthy lifestyle programs to serve residents. Visit Live Well Foundation online at lwfsl.org for more information.  Even at this early stage of our existence, Live Well Foundation of South Lake intends to be a long-term partner in bringing more healthcare choices and healthier lifestyle services to the people of South Lake County.


About Habitat for Humanity of Lake-Sumter, Florida

Habitat for Humanity of Lake-Sumter, Florida has been your local Hometown Habitat serving individuals in Lake and Sumter Counties with access and opportunity to affordable housing solutions since 1989.   As an affiliate of Habitat International we empower local families to achieve strength, stability, and self-reliance through shelter and are united by a shared vision of a world where everyone has a decent place to live. 

Lake County charities gear up to ‘double their money’ during Mount Dora Community Trust’s Giving Week

Karen LeHeup-Smith, a volunteer with LEASH, Inc., says it happens all too often that families surrender their pets to the shelter or, worse, have the animals euthanized when veterinary bills become too much.

Lake County-based LEASH offers financial support to shelters, animal rescues and partners with other organizations to assist private individuals to help with a pet’s veterinary care.

“Since 2015, we have spent more than $140,000 to assist with veterinary care, heartworm treatment, microchipping and spay and neuter procedures in partnership with local shelters, animal rescues and for clients of our partner veterinarians. This includes a trap-neuter-release program for feral cats managed by the Lake County Animal Shelter,” said LeHeup-Smith. “We rely on donations and grants to sustain our services. While we have little overhead in our volunteer-run organization, the demand for these animal procedures keeps growing.”

LeHeup-Smith says LEASH volunteers are prepping to reach out to community donors during the Mount Dora Community Trust’s second annual Giving Week donation drive, November 30 – December 7, and potentially earn thousands of dollars in matching funds for the organization.

“Twenty-eight Lake County charities, ranging from very large to grassroots, have a chance to earn their share of $85,000 that the Mount Dora Community Trust will provide in matching funds,” said Rob English, Executive Director of the Mount Dora Community Trust. “We will offer a dollar-for-dollar match to all participants until the first $10,000 is donated. After reaching that $10,000 milestone, the organizations will compete for additional matching dollars based three winning levels.”

Click here to read the full article

Donations will be accepted online beginning at 9 a.m. on November 30 at https://mountdoracommunitytrust.com/givingweek. Cash or checks made out to Mount Dora Community Trust, with a memo of the donor’s chosen organization, must be received by mail or dropped off at 821 North Donnelly Street, in Mount Dora by 4 p.m. December 7.

Sponsor of the Month: Publix Super Markets Charities

Thank You Publix Super Markets Charities 2021

In December, Publix Super Markets Charities announced it would be donating $2.5 million to support 113 Habitat for Humanity affiliates and 76 additional organizations providing housing and shelter services across the Southeast.

Locally, Publix generously granted Habitat Lake-Sumter with $35,000 to provide safety and accessibility modifications to cost-burdened homeowners. By investing in local programs like Habitat’s Preservation and Repair, Publix has improved the lives of families throughout Lake and Sumter Counties for almost a decade.

Through partnering with Publix Super Markets Charities, we serve dozens of families and maintain the affordable housing stock in our community every year.

Preservation and Repair began in 2015 to serve families who owned their homes but couldn’t afford to keep them in good condition. Our program has grown from minor repairs, like weatherization and yard clean-up, to critical repairs, like ramp installs and re-roofing.

Through the program, homeowners receive repairs to increase the safety, accessibility, and beauty of the home. This year alone, a total of 48 individuals now have improved health and safety in their home. Due to the economic impact of Covid-19, Habitat Lake-Sumter faced many challenges along the way, but because of the generosity of Publix Super Markets Charities, we successfully continued the necessary and critical repair services to families in the most vulnerable housing situations.

Publix representative commented in a press release when announcing the grant award saying, 

“A home often represents stability and independence in one’s life. In what has already been a difficult year, there are far too many people in our country struggling with housing insecurity,” said Publix Super Markets Charities Executive Director Kelly Williams-Puccio. “Through this donation, we remain committed to supporting partners like Habitat for Humanity to help build hope in our communities. We are proud to carry on the legacy of George Jenkins, our founder, to do good, together, for those in need.” 

We look forward to building alongside Publix to provide strength, stability, and self-reliance to even more families this year.

Take a look at just some of the community projects made possible through Publix’s support! 

before and after preservation and repair project sponsored by Publix Super Markets Charites 2021


June 2021 Sponsor of the Month: The Home Depot Foundation


June 2021 Sponsor of the Month: Home Depot Foundation

Habitat Lake-Sumter is proud to partner with the Home Depot Foundation to serve Veterans in Lake and Sumter Counties. Because of the Home Depot Foundation’s generous contribution of $30,000, we are able to serve 5 Veterans and their families through Critical Home Repairs. We believe that every Veteran deserves to live with strength, stability, and self-reliance. 

Lake and Sumter Counties host a large population of Veterans, with over 52,000 veterans living in our service area. As of 2018, Sumter County boasted a 14% veteran population, double to the National average of 7%.

This means that we have the support and involvement of Veterans, but it also means we have a big need to serve. Since building the Umatilla Veterans Village; organizations, public leaders, families, and individuals have continued to seek out innovative ways in addressing Veteran issues in Lake and Sumter Counties. We want to uphold and expand our commitment to the Veterans in our community to do more: to address safety and accessibility modifications for Veterans across our service area, to increase the number of Veteran families served, and to use the Habitat platform to advocate for Veterans and raise awareness of the proactive measures we can take to support our them.

Because of the generosity and dedication from the Home Depot Foundation, we can bolster our efforts significantly and continue to increase the Veterans we serve and the impact we have on the community overall. 

Thanks to the Home Depot Foundation, we can partner with Veterans to ensure their homes are safe, accessible, and affordable – serving those who have served the most. 


Women Build 2021 Update

Agewave Solutions, Inc. proudly presents Women Build 2021

Women Build is a national initiative to engage and empower women in the effort to provide safe and decent homes for families in need of affordable housing. Locally, YOU have made an impact! Together, we raised $43,853.

Many thanks to AgeWave Solutions, Inc for playing a pivotal role as Women Build’s Presenting Sponsor, thank you to the 11 Women Build teams and to our Hard Hat Sponsor, W.T. Bland Charitable Trust, for also helping us achieve our goal this year.

Take a behind-the-scenes look at the first wall raising and our construction progress so far! Stay tuned for build updates and a future meet & greet with the family we are building for, The Young’s.  

 Thank you to all of the Women Build participants, you’re truly helping us transform lives in our community!





RoMac Building Supply: Match Challenge Unlocked!

Thank You RoMac Building Supply

RoMac Building Supply has been an ardent supporter of Habitat for Humanity’s mission to build homes, community, and hope in Lake and Sumter Counties.

For the past six years, RoMac Building Supply has set a matching challenge of $20,000 in March; even at the height of the Covid-19 crisis in 2020, RoMac stood by their pledge and this year was no different. In March 2021, RoMac’s generous match investment of $20,000 helped rally 95 community members to donate $30,388 during the campaign.

Compared to last year’s campaign, this was nearly a $5,000 increase in giving in the month of March and our highest match result to date!

The increase in dollars raised is only possible because of significant contributions from community members like you! And this year, it matters more than ever. As we face the economic impact of Covid-19 and see an increase of 80% in supply costs, we know that finding an affordable home will become ever more difficult. Because of individual supporters who heard the challenge set by RoMac and took action, we will continue to build strength, stability, and self-reliance for local families.

Through financial and material contributions, spreading awareness about Habitat Lake-Sumter’s work, and being an intrinsic partner to Habitat’s Youth Construction Academies; RoMac Building Supply plays an important role in the community.

“Don Magruder, CEO of RoMac Building Supply, has been a key driver in the success of Habitat Lake-Sumter’s Youth Construction Academy,” says Danielle Stroud, Deputy Director at Habitat for Humanity of Lake-Sumter. “Not only is the financial investment made by RoMac vital to the success of the program, so is the community support promoted by RoMac throughout Lake County.”

Don Magruder leads the charge as Board President of both the Leesburg High School and the Villages Charter High School’s Youth Construction Academy; under his leadership, the Youth Construction Academy program has successfully built 6 homes with Habitat Lake-Sumter and seen successful expansion of the program to include South Lake High School last year, with Eustis High School set to begin their first build in Fall 2021.


Ro-Mac Building Supply is a family owned and operated lumber and building material supply company headquartered in Leesburg, Florida. Ro-Mac Building Supply has been supplying lumber and building materials to residential and commercial contractors, as well as individual homeowners, throughout Central Florida, since 1945. For more information, please visit https://www.romacfl.com/

Sponsor of the Month: AgeWave Solutions, Inc

AgeWave Solutions, Inc. proudly presents Women Build 2021

AgeWave Solutions, Inc is the presenting sponsor for Women Build 2021, in partnership with Habitat for Humanity of Lake-Sumter, Florida. Women Build aims to build and repair homes, while raising awareness of housing issues facing women, their families, and the community.

Every spring, Women Build participants advocate, fundraise, and volunteer to provide access to affordable housing solutions for those who need it. This year, our goal is to raise $35,000 to help build a new home in Eustis, Florida. With three weeks left to fundraise we are more than HALFWAY to our goal, thanks to the generosity of AgeWave Solutions, Inc and the Women Build participates working together to achieve that goal and build a home for a local family! 

AgeWave Solutions, Inc. is an architectural and engineering firm headquartered in The Villages, Florida.  They provide full service building design services in the residential and commercial construction markets.  Specialties include production builder solutions, custom residential design, industrial building design and project coordination, restaurant, retail and multifamily housing design.

Amber Umland, CAD Coordinator with AgeWave Solutions, Inc and awesome Women Builder says, “There is a natural partnership between AgeWave Solutions, Inc. and Habitat for Humanity of Lake-Sumter. We share collective success in translating construction dreams into reality.  AgeWave Solutions, Inc. is honored to be a partner in Woman Build 2021. Our team members are excited and feel very fortunate to lend a helping hand to this important initiative by making one family’s dream come true while promoting the outstanding women in our building community”.

Not only does AgeWave’s support make it possible to build the new home, but they are also responsible for the engineering and design of the house. “We work closely with AgeWave Solutions, Inc for the architectural design, drafting and engineering of our house plans,” says Danielle Stroud, Sr. Director of Programs and Partnerships at Habitat Lake-Sumter. “This home will go from drawing to reality, all while working alongside AgeWave.”

We are so grateful for the partnership with AgeWave Solutions, Inc and the community collaboration! Together, we will build homes, communities, and hope!  

Women Build 2021 elevation

You can support our mission and help build this home by donating to Women Build 2021!

To learn more about Women Build and ways to positively impact your community, contact Lacie at Lacie@HabitatLS.org or (352) 483-0434 x 146

Women Build is an inclusive event, and everyone is invited to build lasting change.


Sponsor of the Month: The Community Foundation of South Lake

January 2021 Sponsor of the Month: Community Foundation of South Lake

Thanks to the generosity of the Community Foundation of South Lake, Habitat for Humanity of Lake-Sumter will be able to provide critical repairs to low-income homeowners in the South Lake area.

The Community Foundation of South Lake has awarded Habitat Lake-Sumter a $20,000 grant in support of the Preservation and Repair program.

Preservation & Repair has become a vital way Habitat Lake-Sumter addresses the affordable housing need in our community, annually providing access to home repairs and critical improvements for 45 families and individuals.

Critical home repairs increase the safety and accessibility for low-income homeowners who are unable to keep up their home by themselves due to age, disability, or family circumstances and struggle to maintain the integrity of their homes; through Preservation and Repair, we ensure that the families who partner with us have housing that will be safe, secure, and a decent place to live.

Due to the economic impact of Covid-19, Habitat Lake-Sumter faced a significant decrease in the number of families we could serve through Preservation and Repair. However, because of the generosity of the Community Foundation of South Lake, we will be able to provide critical repair services to families in vulnerable housing situations. We look forward to working with the Community Foundation of South Lake to bring safe and stable housing to more families in 2021!

Building a Legacy

photos of Nancy


Home was the heart of Nancy A. Penn-Shaner’s life. As a donor to Habitat for Humanity-Lake Sumter, Nancy left a planned gift in her will. Because of her gift, a family now has an opportunity to build a life in a new home.

 Through her gift to Habitat Lake-Sumter, Nancy continues her legacy of generosity. “This has been in her will for quite some time,” says Nadine Foley, Nancy’s friend of more than 50 years and the appointed trustee of her will. Giving back to others has been the theme of Nancy’s life.

As an avid traveler Nancy knew she always had a home to return to. She developed a love for travel in her 20’s as she began driving trucks for a living in Akron, Ohio. Nancy later moved to Umatilla, Florida in the 1960’s where she became a truck dispatcher. 

Nancy’s lifelong friend, Nadine recalls how giving to those around her came naturally, “Nancy was careful and caring to everyone in her orbit.” As a member of Eastern Star, she added to the lives of young women through charity and service.  “Nancy was a truly thoughtful friend who shared her wealth of knowledge in housekeeping and was generous.” She was an avid traveler who “loved to hit the road but loved to get back home.”

Nancy took great pride in her home and loved doing yardwork and upkeep of her house. She always thought of her friends and set aside money in her will to her friends and those closest to her. As Nadine describes, everyone was filled with so much gratitude to receive this gift from their dear friend.

July 7, 2020 is a day that will always be etched in the memory of those closest to Nancy A. Penn-Shaner. On that day, Habitat Lake-Sumter broke ground on the home being built by Nancy’s gift. A small, intimate crowd gathered for the ribbon cutting in celebration of what was to come. “It was a wonderful experience,” Nadine says.

The 4-bedroom, 2 bath home in Mount Dora is now almost complete. As the family awaits the keys to their new home, Nadine reflects on how pleased Nancy would be. Nancy’s legacy of giving back, her compassion and community will live through her contributions to Habitat-Lake Sumter. Reminding us what matters most, having a place to call home.


By: Lauren W.

Interested in learning more about leaving a Legacy Gift, but not sure where to start?

Call or email Danielle Stroud at (352) 483-0434 ext. 133, Danielle@HabitatLS.org to learn more about how to leave Habitat for Humanity of Lake-Sumter in your will, trust, or annuity plan.

Sponsor of the Month: Munns

Meet Habitat for Humanity of Lake-Sumter’s newest partner, Munn’s Air-Conditioning and Heating.

Munn’s has a trusted reputation as a locally owned and operated Heating and Air-Conditioning company and has been in business for more than FIFTY years! Munn’s knows about the importance of a job well-done, that’s why they are investing in the next generation of Youth Construction Academy students by sponsoring The Villages Charter High School’s latest new home construction project. Not only is Munn’s supporting the build but they’ll offering expertise and HVAC training to the students.

Munn’s is generously partnering with Habitat for Humanity of Lake-Sumter by sponsoring the Youth Construction Academy home and they’ll help us kick-off the season of giving by matching every donation made in December!

Dreams Come True for the Brooks Family

meet the brooks family

     On Emilee’s birthday last year, her dreams came true when she accompanied Rey on an adventure to find Chewbacca in a small trading post in Batuu. Walking side by side with her hero, Emilee is strong with the force, and with a mom like Amanda, it’s not hard to see where she gets it from. Now, thanks to Habitat for Humanity of Lake-Sumter’s Youth Construction Academy and Habitat’s newest partner, Munn’s Air Conditioning & Heating, both mother and daughter will find a new happily ever after with their dream home.

         Like their favorite Star Wars heroes, Amanda Brooks and her daughter Emilee know how to use their powers for good. Having volunteered recently with Habitat Lake-Sumter, Amanda is excited to play the role of mentor for both Emilee and students who will be building her dream home. She hopes that the Villages Charter High School students feel accomplished building her and Emilee’s future home, learning strong foundational principles like hospitality, hard work, stewardship, and creativity. “I encourage my daughter to stick by these core values. I would also encourage the high school students to stick to these core values and to reach for their goals,” said Amanda.           

          Amanda volunteered on a Preservation & Repair project recently and helped re-paint a house, she said it was nice to meet other future Habitat homeowners and volunteers and learn about their journeys. Now that she’s on the receiving end of the program, Amanda says she’s still taking it all in. “Honestly, I’m still in a state of ‘is this really happening?’ ‘am I really getting this?’, I don’t think I’m going to be in shock anymore until I’m finally moving in.”

        Students enrolled in the high school’s Construction Management Program began active construction on Amanda and Emiliee’s home in late-August, with the house completion slated for May 2021. This highlights the school’s third year being involved in Habitat Lake-Sumter’s Youth Construction Academy and third house built with The Villages Charter High School. The program was created to provide students with valuable hands-on training and viable career opportunities after graduation. This year, Munn’s Air Conditioning & Heating will be providing support of the project by sponsoring the build and offering expertise and HVAC training to the students.

         In the end, just like the magic of Walt Disney World, Amanda and Emilee will be able to create new precious memories in their future home, where Emilee also dreams of using the extra room as a Star Wars playroom. For Amanda and Emilee, their new home just might be the happiest place on Earth.


By Olivia Knight


Sponsor of the Month: Wells Fargo

September 2020 Sponsor of the Month: Wells Fargo


The issue of attainable housing has been a layered and often, complex problem to address. In a year of new norms and unexpected crisis, precautions and change; the need for housing affordability solutions remains. Even expanding as more families face financial insecurity and housing instability exasperated by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Yet in the midst of uncertainty, Wells Fargo has maintained their commitment to champion affordable housing solutions in Lake and Sumter Counties. The collaboration with Habitat for Humanity of Lake-Sumter and Wells Fargo Builds is part of a nationwide effort for capacity building and direct mission support to build, renovate and repair more than 350 affordable homes across the United States. 

Habitat Lake-Sumter was awarded a $30,000 grant to build an affordable home in Leesburg, FL and critically repair a home in Wildwood, FL.

Danielle Stroud, SR. Director of Programs & Partnerships shares how exciting this grant is for Habitat Lake-Sumter, “This is the largest award amount we’ve been granted through Wells Fargo Foundation and it directly impacts our affiliates mission by increasing Habitat’s capacity to serve even more families in Lake County.”

Typically, Wells Fargo hosts a statewide “Day of Service,” a day where team members are encouraged to engage in service projects by volunteering in their communities. Nationwide, “Day of Service” has generated millions of hours in volunteer time and created an environment where ‘community giving’ is embedded in the culture and attitude of Wells Fargo.

However, due to restrictions caused by Covid-19, Wells Fargo employees will not be on-site for the two upcoming projects with Habitat Lake-Sumter. Although the goodwill and camaraderie of the Wells Fargo volunteers will be missed, the output of a critical repair project and a new home build will be invaluable for 2 local families.

“Habitat Lake-Sumter exists to create access and opportunity to affordable housing solutions,” says Danielle, “We partner with families and build an affordable housing product which we are only able to do because of partners like Wells Fargo, who care enough about the end goal: communities where everyone has a safe and secure place to call home.”

Habitat Lake-Sumter is grateful for the legacy of giving from Wells Fargo. In the uncertainty of 2020, Wells Fargo continues to be a community partner and housing champion!


Sponsor of the Month: Bank of America

Bank of America Sponsor of the Month in August 2020


Here at Habitat Lake-Sumter our mission is to bring people together to build homes, communities, and hope. But we know that we are only one piece of the puzzle; to build and repair homes for deserving families, we align ourselves with the future homeowners, volunteers, and community partners to make each and every home possible.

One such community partner is Bank of America, whose support of the work Habitat Lake-Sumter does and the families we partner with is emblematic of their commitment to the communities they reside in. On a national level, Bank of America’s partnership with Habitat for Humanity includes nearly $80 million in philanthropic funding and volunteer efforts in local markets and regions around the world, including 35,000 hours of volunteer time annually.

Locally, Bank of America has partnered with Habitat Lake-Sumter to invest $56,000 in grants over the past several years for our Preservation & Repair program and new home construction.

This year, we’ve joined forces with Bank of America for a new home build in Mount Dora, Florida. The new home construction is made possible in part by a $10,000 grant from Bank of America and stems from a shared vision that providing access to affordable housing advances economic mobility and enriches the community.

Future homeowners with Habitat Lake-Sumter invest 200 hours of their time through “sweat equity” and help build their homes alongside volunteers, homeowners also participate in financial education courses and pay an affordable mortgage. Because of Bank of America’s generous support, a new Habitat homeowner will achieve the strength, stability and independence they need to build a better life for themselves and for their family.

Better, affordable living conditions lead to improved health, stronger childhood development, and the ability—and financial flexibility—to make forward-looking choices. With Bank of America’s collaboration, Habitat Lake-Sumter is able to provide an affordable housing product and create sustainable solutions for our community.

On July 7th, we hosted a ceremonial ribbon-cutting at the site of the future home, 602 E. Jackson Avenue. However, due to precautionary health measures in regards to Covid-19, the site is currently closed to volunteers. But the home is quickly progressing, with walls raised and trusses being set just weeks later.

During a time when where you live is more important than ever, Bank of America has stood alongside Habitat Lake-Sumter and the families we serve to ensure equitable housing is available to those who need it most.

Women Build 2020: Preservation & Repair

 I’ve been involved with several Habitat projects, but it was this one that touched me so deeply. It was all because of The Dragon Sister’s, Kevin, Habitat staff and sponsors. But most importantly, because of Miss Dorothy, for sharing this experience with us- Kim Thayer, Dragon Sisters

At the core of Women Build is a group of people who are willing to advocate for attainable housing, garner support from their sphere of influence, and take action to create change in their community.

This year, Women Build came to an unexpected halt. Typically, Women Build begins in March and participants raise funds for 6 weeks, followed by the volunteer and build phase in May. But when the coronavirus halted everything, it seemed like Women Build would be indefinitely delayed.

But then something incredible happened. Women Builder’s started to reach out.

They asked questions like: What can I do? How can I help someone during this time? Is there a family who needs a little extra support right now?

So we told them. Habitat Lake-Sumter shared the stories of families who needed help before Covid-19 and who would still need our help as we began to recover. Families who were struggling and vulnerable in their housing situations and who, without our help, would only feel the exacerbated effects of sheltering in unsafe housing conditions.

Leesburg Evening Rotary, BSmart Masonry, The Dragon Boat Sisters, and Zonta International adopted 2 projects, raising the funds needed and offering their volunteer time to make it happen. After all of the changes to Women Build and with safety precautions in place, we were finally able to see the Women Build projects come to fruition.

In July, two Women Build Preservation & Repair projects were completed thanks to some incredible individuals, businesses, and civic organizations who took action to strengthen and unite our community.

The project took on more than originally scoped – the Dragon Sisters did some major landscaping, as opposed to just “trim back the bushes so the house could be painted” approach.  Also, the house would not stand up to power washing before painting, so the Sisters washed the entire house by hand so that it could be painted.  Without the Dragon Sisters, there’s no way this house would have been done by Friday.  As a club they also supplied plants, mulch, landscape fabric, and a garden flag and the pictures don’t do it justice, but the landscaping alone was a difference-maker- Kevin, Habitat Site Leader

Women Build may look decidedly different this year but the one thing that remained steadfast were the people willing to take on key leadership roles and direct action in helping families in Lake & Sumter County.

First of all we have a group of THE MOST generous, caring, funny and loving women I have EVER BEEN ASSOCIATED WITH.  And most everyone else will say the same thing. Each day when we arrived we all knew what had to be done and we just went right to work, no direction needed. At the end of each day whether it was a sisters first day or not, each went home feeling good knowing we were helping make a difference in a sweet woman’s day.

Ms. Dorothy fed us and praised us and she even prayed that God would put us to use to help someone else in need. I asked her if she could ask him to use us in cooler days since the heat index was not under 106° the entire week. She laughed!  But not one sister complained about the work that was needed. On our last day Ms. Dorothy came out to see her freshly painted, repaired home and freshly landscaped and cleaned flower beds and shrubs. She had a poem she “gave” us and it is this :

A bells not a bell till its rung

A songs not a song till it’s sung

But love wasn’t put in our hearts to stay

Loves not love till you give it away !

We ALL gave love away that week and we ALL are better for it. Thanks for the opportunity. Hugs!  -Vicki McMillan, Dragon Sisters  


Project #1: Caitlyn and her 3 young sons have lived in their home for 8 years. Caitlyn was approved for a matching grant through USDA and Habitat. Leesburg Evening Rotary and BSmart Masonry sponsored the project to match funds for windows and roof to be replaced, and provided the family with a gate (for an added feeling of security for Caitlyn and her boys). As a final touch, both Leesburg Evening and Sunrise Rotarians volunteered to paint, giving her home a fresh feel to go along with the new windows and doors.

Project #2: Ms. Dorothy is 87 years old and lives on her own in Wildwood. She is a widow of an Army Veteran. She has lived in her current residence for 61 years and was facing loss of insurance unless she could get the roof repaired. The Dragon Boat Sisters and Zonta assisted in raising funds to repair her roof, fix her a/c, paint and build her a new accessibility ramp.












Fraternal Order of the Eagles Aerie & Auxiliary #4273 Ellen Wiebe Madam President, Jim Ross Eagles President, Lacie Himes HFHLS, Nettie Goeler co-chair, Linda Lewis co-chair

The Lake County Eagles Auxiliary No. 4273 recently surprised Habitat for Humanity of Lake-Sumter with a $10,000 grant to be used towards their upcoming building project, The Cottages at Heritage Grove.

With infrastructure slated to begin in late fall, the cottages will be Habitat Lake-Sumter’s first 55+ community in Tavares. Construction on the 23 units is set to begin early 2021, according to Lacie Himes, associate development director for Habitat for Humanity Lake-Sumter.

Each cottage will be around 730 square feet, feature nice green space and a community pavilion. The cottages will be styled similar to the prototype four cottages Habitat recently constructed in Coleman.

Click here to read the full article by Akers Editorial


St. Louis Ave House

Habitat for Humanity of Lake-Sumter and Lake Cares Food Pantry are partnering together with last minute touches on a newly built Eustis home for a single mom, Rachel Storey and her son, Jackson, 6.

Lake Care has made it a tradition with every Habitat family to provide a well-stocked pantry and refrigerator prior to move-in day, and on July 21, Irene O’Malley, executive director from Lake Cares, will be delivering groceries to the Storey house with some help from Habitat’s Family Service Coordinator Veronica Troxell.

“As anyone knows, moving in is time consuming and we (Lake Cares and Habitat) want to make sure the home is ready with groceries and meals that can be prepared for the coming weeks and provide stability for the homeowner,” says Lacie Himes, associate development director for Habitat for Humanity of Lake-Sumter.

Rachel and her son are eager to move into their new home.

“I’m looking forward to just being with my son and having our own house to call home,” Rachel told Style in an earlier interview. The pair has been living at her parents’ Grand Island home, which they moved into when Rachel was going through a divorce.

“My parents helped me with my son, too, because he was younger at the time,” she says. “I started going back to church and it was like God was putting me back piece by piece. I’m just so thankful for everything. God led me to the right people at the right time and Habitat couldn’t have been better to work with. I am beyond grateful.”

Click here to read the full article by Theresa Campbell of Lake & Sumter Style Magazine

Fraternal Order of Eagles helps community

Fraternal Order of the Eagles Aerie & Auxiliary #4273 Ellen Wiebe Madam President, Jim Ross Eagles President, Lacie Himes HFHLS, Nettie Goeler co-chair, Linda Lewis co-chair

The organization recently gave $10,000 to Habitat for Humanity of Lake-Sumter for its Cottages at Heritage Grove project and $13,050 for the Lake Sumter Children’s Advocacy Center.

Although the bank accounts are running low these days due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Fraternal Order of Eagles in Okahumpka is still doing its part in helping the community.

Most recently, the organization gave $10,000 to Habitat for Humanity of Lake-Sumter for its Cottages at Heritage Grove project and $13,050 for the Lake Sumter Children’s Advocacy Center.

Read the full article by Cindy Peterson / For the Daily Commercial


Mount Dora Mayor Catherine T. Hoechst, Nadine Foley, and Monica Wofford pose for a ribbon-cutting ceremony on July 7 for a new home to be built by Habitat for Humanity of Lake-Sumter.

Mount Dora Mayor Catherine T. Hoechst, Nadine Foley, a friend and representative of Nancy A. Penn Shaner Trust, and Monica Wofford, a Habitat Lake-Sumter board member, took part in a ceremonial ribbon-cutting ceremony July 7 for a new Habitat home to be built at 602 E. Jackson St., Mount Dora.

Bank of America will be the corporate sponsor for the project along with community involvement provided by bequest gifts from the Ohlsson Charitable Trust and Nancy A. Penn-Shaner Trust.

“The community involvement is stemming from individual donors who had the forethought to contribute this way,” says Lacie Lacie Himes, associate development director for Lake-Sumter Habitat.

She adds that the collaboration between Habitat and Bank of America has generated $56,000 in grants over the past several years for new home construction, preservation and repair.

Due to COVID-19, the building site on Jackson street in Mount Dora will be closed to volunteer workers. “We are slowly opening certain locations for volunteers, but we tend to gauge the response the current climate,” says Lacie.

Also before the coronavirus hit, Habitat had planned on female builders to start building a new home construction project in Leesburg, but they had to scale back fundraising and postpone the home build.

“Many awesome female leaders in our community still wanted to support local families,” says Lacie. “So, they raised funds as a group and funded two critical home repairs that had been delayed and were at risk of not happening due to lost resources because of COVID-19.”

Click here to read the full article by Theresa Campbell of Lake & Sumter Style Magazine

Eagles surprises Habitat for Humanity

Fraternal Order of the Eagles Aerie & Auxiliary #4273 Ellen Wiebe Madam President, Jim Ross Eagles President, Lacie Himes HFHLS, Nettie Goeler co-chair, Linda Lewis co-chair

The Lake County Eagles Auxiliary Post 4273 in Okahumpka surprised Habitat for Humanity of Lake-Sumter with a $10,000 grant benefitting its upcoming project, The Cottages at Heritage Grove. The 23-unit pocket neighborhood in Tavares will be Habitat Lake-Sumter’s first 55-plus community.

Infrastructure work is slated to begin in the fall.

The Eagles has a long-standing history with Habitat for Humanity and were sponsors of Habitat Lake-Sumter’s original pocket neighborhood in 2016, The Umatilla Veterans Village.

Details: Lacie Himes at 352-483-0434, ext. 146.

Publix Super Market Charities



Habitat Lake-Sumter’s Preservation & Repair program has become a vital way we serve families in our community. While our flagship program of home ownership provides access and opportunity to owning a home, Preservation & Repair maintains the safety and accessibility of homes. This program ensures that homeowners (some who have lived in their home for 40 years!) are able to safely live in their homes once again, this also lowers the risk of losing their homeowners insurance or losing the house itself.

One company has continued to show their support for the safety and stability of every single person in our community. Not only does Publix Super Market continuously care for their customers, their compassion extends beyond the doors of their stores every single day.

Since 2012, Publix has partnered with Habitat for Humanity of Lake-Sumter; as one of the top donors of your Hometown Habitat, Publix Super Market Charities gave $35,000 to our Preservation & Repair program this year.

We completed a total of 45 projects and served 97 individuals through Preservation & Repair, including 7 veterans. Because of Publix’s generosity, we are able to serve families who otherwise would not be able to maintain the safety of their home.

Families like the Duckham’s, Matthew and his three children were living with a badly leaking roof that led to dry wall issues within their home. We replaced the roof and repaired the leaks in the ceiling to prevent water from coming into the home, keeping the family safe and dry during hurricane season.

Although each project may seem small, the impact it has on a family is huge. Whether they’re a multi-generational family living under a tarped roof for 2 years, a disabled veteran who no longer leaves the home due to accessibility issues, or families like the Duckham’s, who had to rely on towels and buckets during Florida’s storms – each home repair project changes the lives of the families living inside.

Thank you, Publix Super Market Charities, for your shining example of leadership and commitment to making our community a better place to live!

Giving Tuesday Now: a day together

Giving Tuesday Now: Homes, communities, hope + you

#GivingTuesdayNow is a new global day of giving and unity that will take place on May 5, 2020  – as an emergency response to the unprecedented need caused by COVID-19.

Families who were already struggling before the public health crisis began now face exacerbated setbacks caused by the economic upheaval. Local families continue to struggle in the financial instability and uncertainty of recent times.

In fact, the families who partner with us are often those who are particularly at risk. The uncertainty so many of us feel today, many families have felt for a lifetime- if not generations.

As a friend of Habitat for Humanity of Lake-Sumter, join us and use the individual power of generosity to stay connected and help heal our community. Whatever you can do — monetary or not — will mean a lot.

Read the rest of this entry »

Ask the Attorney: Christina Campbell

Ask the Attorney: Christina Campbell, McLin Burnsed

Answers to Frequently Asked Estate Planning Questions
Christina Campbell, Estate Planning and Elder Law Attorney – McLin Burnsed

There are many ways to be involved with Habitat Lake-Sumter but unarguably, one of the greatest gifts you will ever give, will be the legacy you leave behind. Leaving a legacy gift is easy and Christina Campbell from McLin Burnsed is here to offer insight and guide you through the first steps to estate planning.

When you give to Habitat for Humanity of Lake-Sumter, Florida through your estate or long-term financial plans, you are forging your life legacy with the mission of building homes, communities, and hope and ensuring that later generations can secure decent, safe and affordable housing right here in Lake and Sumter Counties. Read the rest of this entry »


CARES Act, family

On March 27th, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act was signed into law and Congress passed a long-awaited for “universal” giving incentive, this is particularly beneficial for taxpayers who do not itemize their deductions.


If you are someone who does not itemize on your taxes:

The CARES Act makes a new above-the-line deduction available for total charitable contributions of up to $300 per taxpayer. The above-the-line adjustment to income will reduce your AGI, and thereby reduce taxable income. Additionally, you will not have to itemize other items to claim this deduction (Section 2204 of the CARES Act).

The incentive applies to cash contributions made in 2020 and can be claimed on tax forms next year.


If you are someone who itemizes on your taxes:

The CARES Act also lifts the existing cap on annual contributions for those who itemize, raising it from 60 percent of adjusted gross income to 100 percent. For corporations, the law raises the annual limit from 10 percent to 25 percent. (Section 2205 of the CARES Act).


What does this mean for you? You can support Habitat Lake-Sumter’s mission and receive new tax benefits typically reserved for higher thresholds of giving.

The duration of the COVID-19 pandemic has caused a public health emergency to bring a spotlight to the housing crisis. The uncertainty so many of us feel today, many families have felt for a lifetime- if not generations.

The time is now: to begin the work of building back our community, the foundation is the place to start. Living in a safe, healthy, and affordable home alleviates the burden of unreliable rent costs and out-of-reach mortgages; a home with Habitat gives families the opportunity to build a better future and make today more manageable.


 The CARES Act is the first giving incentive Congress has passed in response to a disaster or national emergency—an acknowledgement by Congress that the work of nonprofits, like Habitat Lake-Sumter, is an essential service.

4th Annual RoMac Match!

RoMac Match: 4th Annual

As we reflect over the past few months, it is clear that 2020 will be a year of unexpected change. One thing that Habitat Lake-Sumter has been able to rely on is the consistency of community partner, RoMac Building Supply. In the midst of the many unknowns caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, RoMac Building Supply stood by their pledge to match up to $20,000 in March.

And the results are in! As the annual RoMac Match came to a close, RoMac’s commitment helped to rally 66 businesses and individuals to donate $25,605.00!

This marks the fourth consecutive year that RoMac Building Supply has been the lead sponsor and generously contributed to Habitat for Humanity of Lake-Sumter through the month of March. Since the beginning of RoMac and Habitat Lake-Sumter’s partnership, the RoMac Match in March has encouraged significant contributions from community members like you. “Together we have raised over $190k in the last four years,” said Danielle Stroud, Sr. Director of Programs & Partnerships at Habitat Lake-Sumter.

Aside from donating $20k this year, they’ve also invested time and effort into making more homes possible for families throughout Lake & Sumter. Don Magruder, CEO of RoMac Building Supply, is a huge proponent and supporter of the Youth Construction Academy program; students from Leesburg High School and the Villages Charter High School receive hands-on education and industry mentorship while building a home from the ground up, with Habitat for Humanity of Lake-Sumter.

Don Magruder leads the charge as Board President of both the Leesburg High School and the Villages Charter High School’s Youth Construction Academy; under his leadership, the Youth Construction Academy program has successfully built 3 homes with Habitat Lake-Sumter and seen the program expand each year to include additional high schools, including the South Lake High School in Fall 2020.

“Sponsors like RoMac Building Supply are what makes the mission of Habitat Lake-Sumter possible. But true thanks go to our individual supporters as well, those who heard the challenge set by RoMac and took action. Our sponsors and individual supporters who invest a monetary amount, along with their time and effort, are the reason we are able to do this work: building homes, communities, and hope,” says Danielle.

The need for affordable home ownership in Lake and Sumter Counties has never been more evident than now. As a community, we have been forced to consider the fundamental importance of home—having a safe, decent, and affordable shelter.

Together, we can build back our communities to be stronger, and more stable than before.

RoMac Match- the power of giving (DOUBLED)

March Match the power of giving, 2 times the impact

RoMac Building Supply has been in business for over 70 years and is well-known for their community investments. In a lasting partnership with Habitat for Humanity of Lake-Sumter, RoMac Building Supply will match all donations for the 4th annual March Match, up to $20,000!

Those interested in donating during the Match period can do so by going to www.habitatls.org/give or by mail to 906 Avenida Central, The Villages, FL, 32159.

RoMac’s March Match benefits new home construction and future homeowners in the community, in addition to supporting the Youth Construction Academy in Leesburg, Florida. In partnering with RoMac, your gift will impact future generations for a lifetime!

Affordable home ownership is a key that unlocks the doors to better health, to better education, to stability and self-reliance. You can provide a safe, affordable home and invest in the skillful education of our students. The students enrolled in Habitat’s Youth Construction Academy can continue to gain experience, acquire employable skills, and engage in the social responsibility and community impact that shapes professional and personal development.

Thank you to the leadership of RoMac Building Supply CEO, Don Magruder, for encouraging and sponsoring the growth of Leesburg High School’s Youth Construction Academy with Habitat Lake-Sumter and for generously matching all donations made in March!

Join RoMac Building Supply in making Lake and Sumter Counties a better place to learn, work, and live!


First National Bank of Mt. Dora Raises the Wall and Lifts the Community

hard hats sitting on trusses

It was a beautiful, clear morning on Tuesday, February 4th as executives of First National Bank of Mount Dora, directors from Habitat for Humanity of Lake-Sumter, and Lake County officials met at a newly set slab of concrete on West St. Louis Street in Eustis, Florida.

There to commemorate the first wall raising of the home being built in partnership with First National Bank of Mount Dora, Bob White, the president and CEO expressed why he was excited to play a role in this project with Habitat Lake-Sumter, “Home ownership in Lake County is a big part of making people productive citizens and of course, as a bank we are excited to be part of that financial well-being.”

For 30 years, Habitat Lake-Sumter has relied on committed partners like First National Bank of Mount Dora, who share a vision of the world where everyone has a safe and stable place to call home. As our county grows, so does the need for affordable housing that is within reach for hard working families; in the state of Florida, 1 in 7 households pay 50% or more of their income on housing. But by building a home with Habitat Lake-Sumter, we continue to bridge the gap to home ownership and make it possible for one less family to spend half of their income on housing.

Although it’s not just corporate partnerships that make new home construction possible. In the month of December, almost 90 individuals and local partners donated to our Holiday Match Campaign and raised $74,067 to be matched by First National Bank of Mount Dora; making the home on West St. Louis a reality for a future homeowner in Lake County.

After helping to raise the first wall, Commissioner Leslie Campione summed it up by saying, “It is because of community involvement and people coming together to help each other, it makes all the difference in the world and this house really represents hope and joy and stability for a family, and that’s what Habitat is all about.”

Interview with Bob White, CEO/Pres of FNBMD
Interview with Leslie Campione, Lake County Commissioner

Sponsor of the Month: Kelley Painting

Kelley Painting logo, January Sponsor of the Month

Amanda Kelley: Painting Central Florida

Our vision at Habitat for Humanity of Lake-Sumter, a world where everyone has a decent place to live, is simple in words yet it remains an extraordinary goal. One that could never be realized without the self-less contributions of time, talent and treasure that individuals, businesses and the community so graciously invest to that end. As we work towards that vision of safe and affordable housing, we find ourselves ever so fortunate to have benefited from a steady stream of businesses and area residents willing to support one project or another. Among those casual patrons of our cause we often find true partners; those with whom we build a lasting relationship, those who continually share in our mission to build homes, communities and hope.

Amanda Kelley is one of those community partners that has, time-and-again, supported not only Habitat Lake-Sumter, but our mission, as she’s gives back to the community in so many ways. Amanda Kelley, who owns Kelley Painting Services of Florida is a transplant from Chicago, circa 1985, and a graduate of Leesburg High who now considers Central Florida her home. And, as she’s done for countless homes in the area, she’s dedicated to making this one as beautiful as it can be.

Kelley regularly participates in Habitat Lake-Sumter projects and was involved in the organization’s first peer-to-peer event, Women Build, last March. When pressed for her thoughts on the challenges of the event, Kelley simply shared that she loves working with other women, whether it’s in construction or professional services, but this particular event was “just fun!” Kelley says, “as long as we were laughing and making someone smile, that’s all that matters.”

Kelley is also heavily involved with the Youth Construction Academy, a partnership between Habitat for Humanity of Lake-Sumter and local high schools that gives students an opportunity to learn skills in various construction trades while earning credits towards graduation and giving back to the community. “I believe strongly that kids with a hands-on experience in this industry can go as far as their college counterparts,” says Kelley who helps teach them standard skills she says any painter starting out in the industry should know. Kelley says she likes to connect with the kids, hear about their goals in the industry and have some fun along the way. “We give them fun things to do like caulking … we get to see their mad skills and also how much they can get on themselves,” she says with a laugh.

When Hurricane Dorian struck the Bahamas in the fall of 2019, community partners stepped in to help convert a few shipping containers into homes as part of an international relief effort. Kelley, who has made community service part of the culture at Kelley Painting Services of Florida, wanted to help and so did her team. “Habitat mentioned the project and I said, ‘then let’s make them pretty and stand out’,” said Kelley. “They let me pick me the colors and, of course, I went BOLD!” Kelley and her team that volunteered with her completed the paint job in half a day.

With all the good that Amanda Kelley and her team has done, and continues to do, her motivation is simple. “I’m just paying it forward,” she says. “If times were reversed, I hope someone would do the same for me.” But in speaking with her, something more comes across. Many people are motivated to help better their community because “it’s the right thing to do.” However, Kelley seems to genuinely enjoy both the effort and the outcome of her occupation and volunteerism alike. At Habitat for Humanity Lake-Sumter, it’s something we often see in the pride-of-ownership displayed by new homeowners.

As Amanda Kelley continues painting Central Florida, whether it’s with Habitat Lake-Sumter or Kelley Painting Services of Florida, we’re sure her “pride-of-ownership” will show through as she helps make our homes and hers the best they can be.

By David Larrick

First National Bank of Mount Dora #GivingTuesday Match Sponsor

First National Bank of Mount Dora #GivingTuesdsay Match Sponsor

Any organization that continues to thrive after nearly 100 years of service to their community has earned the right to be called a fixture of that community. However, First National Bank of Mount Dora has also earned the right to be called a “member” of our community, a distinction clearly defined by their engagement in philanthropic endeavors and their eagerness to serve the area’s residents well beyond the walls of the banks they operate throughout the Golden Triangle.

First National Bank of Mount Dora is building upon their legacy of giving back to the community by sponsoring the construction of a new home to be built for a family in Eustis, FL. In addition, they have graciously agreed to be Habitat for Humanity’s Holiday Match Partner, matching any donations given to Habitat for Humanity of Lake-Sumter between December 3rd and December 31st, up to $75,000.

The bank’s President, CEO and Vice Chair of the Board, Bob White, says the bank’s commitment to the community is part of their identity, having never strayed from the vision of their founders to remain an independent community bank. “We work and live in Mount Dora and the Golden Triangle area,” says White. “And we are pleased to be able to support our community in many ways, through the participation of our board and our employees.”

As it has been since the beginning, the board, management, and staff of The First National Bank of Mount Dora are members of the community, and the bank continues to be locally owned and operated. Now in its fourth generation of leadership, the executive team at First National grew up in the bank. White himself was born in Eustis and attended school in Mount Dora. And, as is the case with First National Bank, it’s often seen that organizations with a foundational connection to the community are among the first to give back when called upon to do so.

White noted the bank has been deeply involved in the community since the very beginning. “Employees have served on numerous boards and organizations including local Chambers of Commerce, Hospital boards and committees, Community Redevelopment agencies, Junior Achievement and the list goes on,” said White. “Donations have been as much in time and hours as monetary.  That involvement is something we find extremely important.”

In addition to sponsoring a home and their generous financial support during the Holiday Match program, First National Bank of Mount Dora has signed on to participate in Habitat for Humanity’s first annual Jingle Build-Off on December 7th. This friendly competition challenges teams to build a custom playhouse based on the interests of the child assigned to their team. “We have a great group of employees that are excited about being able to provide a child with a playhouse,” says White, who also shared that the bank expects to have more than 75 volunteers signed up to help build the home in Eustis during 2020.

White says he and the rest of the bank’s leadership team has always been proud of the level of participation of their employees. “Community involvement is encouraged, and we believe it’s something that comes naturally in great employees which in-turn translates into a great banking experience and a great bank.”

Through the generosity of the bank, its employees and those that participate in the Holiday Match program, Habitat for Humanity will be able to share the gift of home ownership with another deserving family in our community. Sponsors like First National Bank of Mount Dora not only make an impact on their own, but they encourage and enhance the impact of so many others and for that we are thankful to have them as a both a fixture and member of our community.

Double your holiday donation to Habitat for Humanity by clicking here and entering “Holiday Match” in the comments section.



Sponsor of the Month: Citizens First Bank

october sponsor of the month citizens first bank photos

Citizens First Bank has vision.

Last year, they partnered with Habitat for Humanity of Lake-Sumter and The Villages Charter High School for the inaugural class of the Youth Construction Academy, they were the first to support the students in building a home, to encourage hands-on education, and to see the benefits: 12 students, future- ready and 1 family having the safety and stability of home for the first time.

Once again, Citizens First Bank has chosen to partner with the Youth Construction Academy and be the lead sponsor for the second year in a row; building the second home, supporting the next graduating class from the Villages Charter High School, and honoring their commitment as “a bank created specifically to fill the needs of our community.”

This week, the Villages Charter students begin framing the walls of the house they will build throughout the school year. From beginning to end, the students will have the opportunity to experience the hard work, planning, and details that go into building a home. During the project, students will work alongside Habitat’s construction staff and industry professionals; they’ll use methods they’ve learned in class to work on every phase of the build, including the foundation and framing, electricity, plumbing, windows, doors, flooring and painting.

Thanks to Citizens First Bank’s investment in the community we are able to not only educate the students on practical skills in the construction industry, but also what it means to be a good community member and to give back to those in need. Throughout the school year, we aim to offer our students hands on knowledge as well as the social understanding of the impact these homes will have on the lives of the families who will receive them.

“Success is a community of people who can rely on each other, people who joyously and enthusiastically strive to lift each other up on a personal level,” says Brad Weber, Chief Lending Officer at Citizens First. “This feeling is not only contagious, but also exponentially raises the confidence and productivity of each of us in a community, resulting in a much higher quality of life.”

Citizens First Bank is a major piece of the “good community” puzzle, partnering with Habitat Lake-Sumter to invest in tomorrow’s future generation; providing students a career option with a strong financial outlook for them to pursue, and working as a team to make our community a better place to live.

Women Build Sponsors Highlight

Habitat for Humanity of Lake-Sumter’s ‘Women Build’ event brings women of all ages and abilities together to make a difference by raising money and volunteering on Habitat build sites.
Alongside personal fundraising efforts, sponsors such as American Residential Products, Inc and Atlas Roofing, make events like these possible through monetary giving or by donating materials for the home.

American Residential Products Inc, an insulation contractor, has worked with Habitat for Humanity affiliates all over Florida for many years. They have provided insulation in the past, and recently sponsored Habitat of Lake-Sumter’s ‘Women Build 2019’ with a $2500 gift; this gift serves to underwrite the cost of construction for the two ‘Women Build’ homes and bridges the gap to keep the homes affordable.

Stephanie Vaughn of American Residential Products also personally participated as a Women Builder this year on Team ‘Hammer Knockers’. When asked if she thought an event like this was successful in helping to remove the barrier between women and construction, she said;
“The barrier between women and construction is getting smaller. I think an event like Women Build definitely showcases that. Construction is a fast paced, exciting industry. Every day is different, every day is challenging and every day is rewarding. It’s great to see younger women embrace the industry and I think Habitat encourages that with Women Build.”

Stephanie also had encouraging words for women who are thinking about volunteering, “Go for it! Habitat makes it easy to set up a team and individual website for fundraising. There are several pre-build events to get to know the other volunteers and the homeowners. The day of the build is all about teamwork & there are tasks for all abilities.”

Atlas Roofing was also a sponsor for this year’s Women Build event. They are donating all of the necessary roofing materials such as the underlayment, starter shingle, shingle, hip and ridge cap for the Women Build house in Eustis, FL. Roofing can be an expensive aspect of homebuilding, but thanks to Atlas Roofing, our family will be forever grateful for the gift of having a roof over their heads.

Thank you to our sponsors, Atlas Roofing and American Residential Products, for partnering with Habitat families and investing in real change. Together, we build homes, communities, and hope!

By Lauren Lester
Realtor & Habitat Volunteer

Publix Partnership Spotlight

Publix Super Market prides themselves on their long-standing tradition of being the kind of company a community can count on, beginning with their founding in 1930 and continuing to today; Publix Super Market Charities began its support of Habitat for Humanity of Lake-Sumter in 2012 and has continued to be a generous partner for 8 years. Throughout the years, Publix has proven to be a committed, community partner to Habitat for Humanity of Lake-Sumter, FL; as one of the top donors of your Hometown Habitat, Publix Super Market Charities gave $35,000 to our Preservation & Repair program this year alone.

Our Preservation and Repair program began in 2015 to serve families who owned their homes but couldn’t afford to keep them in good condition. The program provides help with the exterior of a home – weatherization, safety, accessibility, and beautification – with the belief that every homeowner should experience safety, stability, and self-reliance within their home.

In 2019, the Publix partnership supported Habitat Lake-Sumter in serving 45 families in need of critical home repairs and accessibility modifications. For homeowners like Priscilla Tolbert, who did not have access to running water in the home because of a broken pump, or The McMurphy’s, a family of three whose home needed repairs but as a double leg amputee, Dan McMurphy, had no way of getting into the home with his wheelchair to make those repairs; Publix Charities has made a world of difference.

Replacing a water pump for Priscilla to have clean, running water or installing a ramp so that Dan could get in and out of the house easily – to make a better home for himself, his wife, and his daughter are just a few examples of how Publix Charities has had a daily impact on those we serve.

Publix Super Market Charities believes in Giving; in making sure their customers and communities are taken care of. Thank you for helping Habitat Lake-Sumter families build better lives for themselves; building Homes, Communities, and Hope in partnership with Publix for the past 8 years has truly been our pleasure!

If the Shoe Fits

“It was harder than I thought it would be,” says Frances Garrandes after pounding nails with other women volunteers to construct and raise a 55’ wall on a home in Eustis. “But I’ll be back next year!”

Hammering in the heat and humidity didn’t slow her down. That determination to accomplish goals is evident throughout her life, including going back to college to finish her undergraduate degree at Stetson University, then finishing her Master’s Degree at age 50 through Strayer University. As a Property Manager at Disney, she’s even exploring ways to further her education as a Project Manager, a field she finds exciting and rewarding.

“I’ve been blessed in life and feel I need to give back.” When she heard about the Women Build campaign at an International Women’s Conference, she knew she wanted to get involved.

“I believe in Habitat’s program. They don’t give houses away; potential home owners have to go through the mortgage application process, they must give back through volunteer hours and by supporting someone else’s home construction.” She adjusts the pink hard hat on her head and smiles. “This program is a great boost to help someone who can’t do it on her own.”

She signed up for the Women Build events and began posting about her volunteer plans on Facebook. She was determined to raise at least $1,000 so she could be inducted into the Sisterhood of the Pink Hard Hats. By using social media to spread the word, she ultimately raised $2,200 and received the affiliate’s first-ever traveling trophy, “The Most Excellent Fundraiser” purple shoe.

Having raised three children as a single mom, she understands the importance of closing the gap between the cost of renting versus buying a home. Habitat’s program often means a mortgage payment is several hundred dollars less than a typical monthly rent. That financial “space” gives a family the financial breathing room it needs for other important things, such as healthcare.

And what does she get out of all this?

“I get the satisfaction of knowing I’m helping someone else. This will be my first time helping to construct a home, but it won’t be my last!”

-Lee Owen, Habitat Volunteer and Community Advocate

Youth Construction Academy Program Sponsor: United Way

Youth Construction Academy Program 2019 Sponsor United Way of Lake & Sumter Counties

Jasmine Jacobs held tightly to her 6-year-old daughter’s hand as they walked up to their new home together. Awaiting their arrival were some of the people who helped her become a first-time homeowner, including 11 seniors from the construction management academy at The Villages High School. The young builders stood proudly outside the brand-new home on Winners Circle in Lady Lake as it glistened in the sunlight Friday morning.—Rachel Stuart, The Villages Daily Sun

As the first graduating class, the success of the partnership between the Villages Charter School and Habitat for Humanity of Lake-Sumter was evident in the smiling faces of the new homeowner, students, teachers, and sponsors alike.

As the Youth Construction Academy expands to include Leesburg High School and over 70 new students; the success and growth of the Youth Construction Academy is due in no small part to United Way of Lake-Sumter. United Way has chosen Habitat for Humanity of Lake-Sumter to receive an education grant in support of the Youth Construction Academy.

The Villages Charter High School students worked alongside industry professionals, instructors, and Habitat Construction Manager, Barry Martin, to build the house as part of their capstone project; construction began in August with the students building as their first period class.

“They were able to hone their construction skills and get a realistic feel for the business,” said Bruce Haberle, instructor of the construction management academy. “It’s a team-building experience where they were able to give back to those who are less fortunate.”

United Way’s mission is to “advance the common good by focusing on education, income and health,” Habitat of Lake-Sumter and United Way share in the belief that these three things are the “building blocks for a good life—a quality education that leads to a stable job, enough income to support a family through retirement, and good health.”

Thanks to United Way of Lake-Sumter and their ongoing partnership with Habitat’s Youth Construction Academy, the graduating class will be the first of many students to gain experience, acquire employable skills, and engage in the social responsibility and community impact that shapes professional and personal development.

“It’s been amazing, and they’ve done a great job,” said Danielle Stroud, Senior Director of Development for Habitat for Humanity of Lake-Sumter. “We really hope they learned something along the way, which is the purpose of this partnership.”

Check out some photos from the dedication on our Facebook Page!

Romac Match


RoMac Lumber and Supply’s Match for March continues in 2019 with an unprecedented offer; in the month of March all donations will be matched, dollar for dollar, up to $20,000 and will benefit the Youth Construction Academy of Leesburg. Those interested in donating during the Match period can do so by going to www.habitatls.org/give or by mail to 900 Main Street, Ste 210, The Villages, FL, 32159.

Leesburg High School students will begin their Youth Construction Academy program in August 2019. Partnering with Habitat for Humanity Lake-Sumter, selected students will get the hands-on training of building a home from the ground up. Students who have entered the Youth Construction Academy in their Junior year will learn safety standards, plan reading, basic rough carpentry and framing; along with many other subjects that are necessary in the construction field.

During their Senior year, the students will take what they’ve learned in the classroom and spend a daily class period at a live construction site. Hands-on training of the techniques and safety standards previously learned will be applied as students practice concept reinforcement and acquire a certificate of completion that can be used when pursuing higher education or entering the workforce. By the end of the student’s senior year they will have the finished product of their labor standing in front of them, a brand new affordable home.  Students will be invited to join the dedication ceremony, meeting the Habitat family that they built this home for.

“Don Magruder, CEO of RoMac Lumber, has been a longtime supporter of Habitat for Humanity Lake-Sumter and our mission of providing housing for all.  As the president of the construction academy advisory board at Leesburg High School he is eager to invest in the students,” says Danielle Stroud, Director of Development.  “The construction advisory board wants this program to be the best in the state…so we are going to work to ensure that is a reality.”

RoMac’s Match is a limited time opportunity to double your impact for double the cause! Build a safe, affordable home in the community and invest in skillful education for our students, while building foundations in the community that will benefit home ownership and the future of our workforce for years to come.


Growing Needs – Growing Solutions

As many of you know, Habitat Lake-Sumter started our Preservation and Repair program in 2015 to serve homeowners who didn’t want or need a new house, but couldn’t afford to keep their current one in good condition. The program was meant to provide help with the exterior of a home – weatherization, safety, accessibility, and beautification – and we quickly realized how large the need was in our area. Since then, the program has grown rapidly, serving over 50 families last year with the help of specialized funding and a large pool of awesome volunteers.

However, the need is still larger than our ability to meet it, and because of that we’ve continued to explore new ways to help grow our abilities. So many families are in need of more than we usually provide and we’ve decided to seek out ways to provide ‘Critical Home Repair’ services. The newest method to accomplish this is with funding through the United States Department of Agriculture’s Rural Housing Preservation grant program. These funds are meant to help agencies in rural areas to serve homeowners with similar assistance to what we’re already doing, but with more significant backing, allowing us to expand the scope of our projects. We were selected to receive a grant this year and we’re already looking forward to how to implement it. Part of the USDA guidelines are that funds expended are matched, and through a partnership with Bank of America we’re ahead of the game there as well.

Bank of America has regularly partnered with us through the years and they’ve continued to support our efforts as we move ahead into 2019. This will help us reach the matching requirements needed to obtain even larger funding, which means larger projects and larger impact, and that’s what we’re all about. Things like a new roof, interior work like replacing failing floorboards or replacing doorways with handicap-accessible frames, and more come with additional expenses; this new source of funding will help us handle that in stride and continue to provide this work to families in need at no cost to them.

Sometimes these jobs seem like nothing to us, but the impact it can make on a family is huge. Whether they’re a small family that’s been living with a tarped roof for three years, a disabled vet who can barely leave the house due to accessibility issues, or the multi-generational family who has to find towels and buckets during Florida’s storms – one day of our time results in a changed life for them.

If you’d like to get involved with our Preservation & Repair program, we’d love to have you! You can go here to see our volunteer schedule and contact Carlos to get started.

Are you a homeowner who wants to see if you qualify for our Preservation & Repair program?  Contact Veronica  to learn more.

Sponsor of the Month – CVS

Community Collaboration

Partnering with local businesses, civic groups, and more has always been crucial to building Habitat’s ability to, well, build. Without a reliable network of volunteers and donors, our mission would be dead in the water, and the dream of safe, affordable housing would remain just that for so many people. As part of our growing network, we’ve teamed up with CVS Pharmacy to reach some families in need in the Wildwood area! CVS will be sponsoring three days of work through our Preservation and Repair program, which helps people remain in their homes while ensuring safety and accessibility needs are met, at no cost to the homeowner.

What We’re Doing

The Preservation and Repair program is vital to helping us make the most of the existing affordable housing stock and allowing people to remain in the homes they already own. The work involved can run anywhere from simple clearing of debris to replacing windows and doors or, often times, installing an accessibility ramp to allow easier access to their home. These projects, while often low difficulty for us, many times mean the world for those we serve, and the program has grown quickly in the last couple years. Here’s the details on this upcoming partnership project:

Date: September 18, 19, 20
Time: 8AM – 1PM
Location: 5175 CR 144, Wildwood, FL 34785 and 308 Jackson St., Wildwood, FL 34785

We need volunteers! To get involved, please contact Carlos at 352-483-0434 x119 or carlos@habitatls.org.

About CVS

CVS Pharmacy is a proud partner with Habitat for Humanity of Lake-Sumter. As a company, they always lead with heart and their mission is to help people on their path to better health in all aspects of life.  CVS recognizes the importance of Habitat for Humanity’s mission to build homes and and helping make our community as healthy as we can.

They are also excited to introduce a WALK-IN hearing center in your community. Within the CVS Pharmacy store in The Villages on E. County Rd 466, the Hearing Aid Center is offering WALK-IN hearing exams, over the counter hearing aids, and FREE fittings & cleanings. Stop by today and HEAR what they’re all about, ask questions, or get any existing hearing products serviced. The Hearing Aid Center is located in the CVS Pharmacy at 5208 E County Rd 466 at the corner of Belvedere Blvd and open Tuesday – Friday (10am – 5pm) and Saturday (10am – 3pm).

Sponsor of the Month: Citizens First Bank


Hospitality. Hard Work. Stewardship. Innovation & Creativity. The pillars of Citizens First Bank were put on shining display this year as they sponsored our inaugural Youth Construction Academy class! Recognizing the value of hands-on education for the next generation, our longtime partner decided to invest in the Youth Construction program and help us ensure it gets off to an amazing start. Beginning on August 9th, the house in Lady Lake will be built from the ground up by seniors from The Villages Charter School’s Construction Science program, with guidance from experienced Habitat supervisors and instructors from the school. By the end of their year in May, they will have completed a full build, from concrete to keys, and be invited to participate in the dedication ceremony for the low-income family moving in.

Citizens First Bank was founded in 1991 and is headquartered in The Villages, Florida. Their two branches, one in The Villages and one in Leesburg, provide top-quality service focused on the needs of their area. By providing comprehensive banking resources and personalized experiences to their community, they are able to fully embrace their place as a hometown bank, and share a special relationship with their clients. For more information on the services they offer, check out their website here or give them a call at 352-753-9515 or 800-707-1893.

Sponsor of the Month: The Villages Insurance

As National Women Build Week came to a close, so did The Villages Insurance’s second Team Build with us. This group has been a strong partner of Habitat Lake Sumter for a while, promoting our cause and supporting our events. This month, they came out to work on-site during Women Build and helped us serve a family in Leesburg with some much-needed repairs and renovations. Having strong community partners is key to doing the work we do, and The Villages Insurance helps to fill those ranks with some great people and a drive for service! We wanted to learn more about what continues to drive them to participate in our mission, and this is what they had to say.


  1. Why does The Villages Insurance enjoy getting involved in Habitat’s mission?
    Scott Robertson, former president of The Villages Insurance, was passionate about Habitat for Humanity and its mission. It was important to him that the agency partner with Habitat and our colleagues take a hands on approach in assisting with projects. The first build the agency participated in took place one week before Scott’s unexpected passing. We continue our involvement because it brings us great joy to give back to our community and lend a hand up to families working hard to pursue their dreams of owning a home. Participating in builds and preservation projects is a truly humbling experience. The fact we are working side by side with the homeowner, seeing the excitement and pride first hand, is heartwarming; reminds us that the sweat, sore muscles and bruising are so worth it!

  2. What experience has been the most meaningful/impactful?
    They are all unique and hold special memories in their own right. If I must choose then I’d have to say the first one in November 2015. As I mentioned earlier, this was one week before Scott passed away so it holds extra special memories for everyone who was involved. This was our first experience working with the Habitat team and all the amazing people who work hard to make every step of the program possible for the volunteers, homeowners, professionals, and sponsors. This build was for the Elien Family home, and what a joy it was to see their daughter’s room decorated beautifully at the dedication knowing we helped put the nails in the foundation for her to grow on.

  3. What are your thoughts on National Women Build Week and the message behind it?
    Love it! I think many people still believe you have to be a man with strong muscles to build a home. The National Women Build reminds us all that we can do anything we put our minds to. It’s not necessarily about physical strength (although that certainly helps!) but more about the willingness and desire to help fellow humans wanting to improve their lives and open a world of opportunity for their family. Hard to believe I know, but quite a few of us in the agency are not carpenters or painters. Ask us how to protect the home and we’re your expert! Ask us about what nails to use in which board and we rely on the experts on site to show us the way! We cannot say enough good things about our experiences with Habitat for Humanity. Thank you for the opportunity to be involved, we only have one question – when’s our next our project?

If you think you’re as passionate as The Villages Insurance and would like to share in the experiences they’ve had, reach out to Matt at 352-483-0434 x146 or matt@habitatls.org to discuss upcoming opportunities and how we can get your and your group involved!

Sponsor of the Month: My Favorite Things

One of the ways we get our community involved with our mission, beyond writing a check or attending an event, is to get them out on the work site on a Team Build. This creates a sense of ownership and engagement with the project and can feel so rewarding that some groups come right back for more! While many businesses, churches, and civic groups will come out once a year, some want the back-to-back experience; one of these groups is My Favorite Things out of Eustis, and they put in some serious work at the Veterans Village.

My Favorite Things emphasizes a culture of giving in their mission statement and focuses every aspect of their operation on fostering that mindset. A family-run business, they want to make sure that all employees are treated as one of their own and that everyone gives back, as a group. Putting their hands behind their words, their first Team Build in March was some low-glamour, high-necessity work at the Veterans Village. Their team primed an entire house with a healthy, paint-ready coat, and they scraped the floors in another house to have it ready for flooring. While it wasn’t the flashy stuff, the work they did was crucial for the next steps to happen on schedule.

On their second work day in April, we treated them to some more hands-on type of work. Splitting into groups, one worked on installing flooring and the others prepared the kitchen cabinetry for installation and finished up some decorative patio pillars. They breezed through the flooring like it was second nature and the patio is ready for some final touches, and as they wrapped up for the day said they were excited for the next one!

It’s this type of engagement and enthusiasm that keeps our projects ahead of schedule and helps us further our mission. If your group is interested in joining us, reach out to Matt at 352-483-0434 x146 or matt@habitatls.org to get hands on for a hand up, not a hand out.

Facebook Album Team Build 3.22.18

Facebook Album Team Build 4.19.18

The Reason to Give

A Beginning and an End

On April 14th, Habitat of Lake-Sumter was proud to dedicate three new homes and officially welcome the Homrich, Dyhr, and Mabry families to the Veterans Village!  The families were honored for their hard work and dedication through the completion of the Home ownership program, and were celebrated on beginning the first chapter of their new journey.  This event came as the perfect ending to a season of generosity in our community, as local donors alongside RoMac-Lumber & Supply raised money in support of the community through the March Match campaign.

The Veterans Housing Initiative has always been a special cause to Don Magruder, CEO of RoMac, and his pledge to match donations, dollar for dollar, inspired donors to give generously… doubling their investment in affordable housing. This year, the match ran through the month of March, and because of the community’s generosity and dedication to the mission, the campaign met and exceeded the goal of $10,000!

Our Community Partner

As one of our long-standing partners, RoMac Lumber & Supply has been a huge contributor to our mission and has enabled us to continue reaching the community across Lake and Sumter county. RoMac has been a staple of Lake County for over 70 years and has expanded to serve much of the Southeast United States. Whether it’s wood, trusses, doors, or otherwise, RoMac has remained a steady supplier of quality materials and service for central Florida and beyond.

Our Homeowners, The Reason to Give

In attendance to greet and celebrate our three Veteran families were 20 community members. The joint home dedication, gave an opportunity for food, fellowship, and viewing of the families homes.  Each homeowner has their own story to tell, but here is little bit about each family:

  • Greg Homrich served in the United States Marine Corps, Army, and National Guard, and is still serving his community as a dispatcher for the Leesburg Police Department.  Upon getting to know Greg, you will quickly find out that he is most excited about becoming a member of this unique community, having already built relationships with many of his neighbors.
  • Beth Dyhr, is the spouse of her late husband who proudly served in the United States Marine Corps.  As Beth’s first home as a single women, she is thrilled to start a new chapter in her life and instill her own passionate, vibrant spirit into the home.
  • Kathleen Mabry was a member of the United States Army, and her ability to define strength through adversity left a mark on our staff.  She is proud to be a new homeowner, and shared that the opportunity is most special because it offers a safe and secure home for her to raise her 10-year old grandson.

About the Community

The Veterans Housing Initiative led us to develop the Veterans Village in Umatilla, Florida, where veterans and their families enjoy safe, affordable housing built in a small neighborhood that focuses on relationships. Our ability to meet the needs of our local veterans is due to the compassion and generosity of our community and through partners like RoMac. We also teamed up with Combat Veterans to Careers to offer extra services to the residents – things like healthcare, transportation, and help navigating the Veterans Affairs system, to name a few. This ensures that we’re providing not just a house but a community network of support, which for many veterans is crucial for the stability they seek.

As a community-based and community-focused organization, it’s always inspiring to see how much can be done on a local scale. Your consistent support, whether it’s financial or volunteering or both, never ceases to amaze us, and we thank you so much for it! We’re looking ahead eagerly to the next big project and can’t wait to bring you along for it.


Matching Donations for the Month of March!

There’s a big reason happy hour is usually so happy – buy one, get one! Everything is better when it’s doubled, and it’s no different for your donations.

We now have an amazing opportunity to make your $25, $50, or $100 donation go twice as far and help us build twice as many homes for low-income veteran families in the community. For the entire month of March, our longtime partner and sponsor, RoMac Lumber & Supply, will be matching every dollar donated to Habitat for Humanity of Lake Sumter, up to $10,000!  All proceeds under this program will go towards our Veterans Village in Umatilla, Florida, and will help us place more veterans in need into a new home. For many of these families, home ownership is just out of reach, but with your help we’ll be able to give them a hand up and help them towards a more stable future.

In a month otherwise known for its madness, take a moment and donate towards someone’s peace of mind, brought by the fact they now have a safe, affordable home to call their own. You have through March 31st to double your dollar!

Double Your Donation Now!

About Ro-Mac:

Ro-Mac Lumber & Supply was founded in 1945 by the McDonald and Robuck families when they jointly purchased Woods Lumber Company in Green Cove Springs, Florida. A second yard was opened in Tallahassee, Florida in 1945, and the company officially took the Ro-Mac name with the purchase of Leesburg Lumber and Supply in 1947.

The flagship store in Leesburg went through a major renovation in 1950, and was a leading provider of construction materials in the Central Florida area. In 1972, a fire devastated the facility, and the Robuck family, along with members of the community, rebuilt the facility.

During the 1980′s, the company added its door shop, and expanded the Leesburg operation to offer more services to the professional customer. In January 1988, Dan Robuck, a successful practicing attorney in Central Florida, took the lead and became sole owner and CEO.

Under Dan Robuck’s direction, the company opened a store in Lady Lake, and acquired Golden Triangle Supply in Mount Dora in the early 1990′s. The company greatly expanded its garage door installation business with several acquisitions, and it became a leading provider of commercial doors and hardware.

Click here to learn more about our sponsor.

Sponsor of the Month: R.L. Mace Universal Design

Impact Report 2017

For many organizations, the check you write, the cash you donate, or the credit card you charge is the last you see of those funds. However, we don’t want you feeling like your donations are sent to a mysterious account with unknown results; to help ensure that doesn’t happen, we provide an annual Impact Report that details the work we’ve done and how your contributions have been put to use in the community. With various initiatives and passions among our partner base, we know it’s a reassuring and rewarding feeling knowing that your desire to help a certain program has measurable and tangible results!

Read over our report and take a look at the last year of progress, and remember that all those lives affected have been due to your continued support; on behalf of your Hometown Habitat and the homeowners we serve, thank you!

June 2016-July 2017 Impact Report

Sponsor of the Month: Publix Super Market Charities

Publix Super Markets Charities has been a consistent partner in our Preservation and Repair program for the third year in a row. They just recently announced a major partnership with Habitat for Humanity International and numerous affiliates; here’s a snippet of their press release, but for the full spread you can check it out by clicking here!

LAKELAND, Fla., Dec. 7, 2017 — Publix Super Markets Charities (PSMC) announced today it would donate $5 million to more than 125 Habitat for Humanity affiliates, including those impacted by Hurricane Irma, and over 30 shelters and other nonprofit organizations across the Southeast.

This generous donation continues the Foundation’s commitment to meeting the basic needs of the communities it serves through additional financial support for housing, transitional support and client service programs.

“No individual or family should have to worry about the basic needs of food or shelter,” said Carol Jenkins Barnett, President of Publix Super Markets Charities. “I am honored our Foundation is continuing my father’s legacy of supporting the communities Publix serves. And I am so proud of our Publix associates for giving their time and talents to building houses and providing hope to those in need.”


Thanks to a generous $100,000 gift from the Home Depot Foundation, Habitat for Humanity of Lake-Sumter, Florida will join Home Depot’s associate-led volunteer force, Team Depot, on Saturday to celebrate Veterans Day and to continue building Veterans Village in Umatilla.

The grant allows Habitat of Lake-Sumter and volunteers to start work on the second phase of the building low-income homes for veterans.

Click here to read the full article.

Sponsor of The Month: The Home Depot Foundation

We are excited to announce The Home Depot Foundation as one of our new partners of the Veterans Village – a community for our service men and women in Umatilla, Florida.  Recently, the Home Depot Foundation awarded Habitat for Humanity’s Veterans Village a grant of $100,000 to support the building of homes for low-income Veterans.  Kent Adcock, Habitat for Humanity’s CEO states “We are extremely grateful for the support of The Home Depot Foundation, they have been a long standing partner of Habitat for Humanity and do so much for the Veteran community across the nation.”

As a partner in the Veterans Village, The Home Depot Foundation will not only support the Veterans Village financially but also through volunteerism.  Team Depot, a group of Home Depot associate volunteers, work to improve the homes and lives of U.S. military veterans and their families.  We are excited to have the support of local Team Depot members who will be working at the Village over the next year.  To kick off the partnership and start up the onsite building with Team Depot, both local store managers from Lady Lake and Leesburg are gathering Team Depot members for their first event on Veterans Day – Saturday, November 11th.

Below are a few photos from the first Team Depot project in Coleman, Florida.  They did an amazing job!

Check out the full story of the project!




Sponsor of The Month!

This year marks the 30th year of Bank of America’s long-standing partnership with Habitat for Humanity in our shared goal to connect working families to affordable housing in order to build thriving communities.

Read More

Want to Get Involved?

What is a Team Build?

Exactly what it sounds like!  A group of people from a company, church, or club who want to get together to work with Habitat for Humanity of Lake-Sumter on a local housing project.

Benefits of Partnering

  • Get to know your employees, club, or congregation members on a more personal level.
  • Assist in projects that provide a better future for other individuals.
  • Provide a deeper connection to the area around you.
  • Create a more stable environment for those in need.
  • Share an experience that you can take back to the office, club, or church.
  • Co-brand your company, club, or church with Habitat – Let us assist in getting your name out in the community.

Frequently Asked Questions

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Sponsor of the Month: Wells Fargo

September 2017 sponsor of the month wells fargo

Thank you Wells Fargo and The Wells Fargo Housing Foundation, along with local bank employees for rallying around the Veterans Village!  On September 9th, local employees will be onsite volunteering at the Veterans Village, working on homes that Wells Fargo and The Wells Fargo Housing Foundation helped fund.  We couldn’t do it without you!  Thank you for helping our Veterans build strength, stability, and self reliance through shelter.


Wells Fargo support thousands of national and community-based nonprofits annually to help revitalize and strengthen communities. They are among the top corporate cash donors among U.S. companies, donating $281.3 million to 14,900 nonprofits in 2016 to support financial education, community development, affordable housing, education, disaster relief, clean technology, job training, environmental education, and other critical social, economic, and environmental challenges around the world.

Wells Fargo and the Wells Fargo Foundation provide monetary support, expertise, and volunteers to national and local nonprofit organizations and causes that align with our business priorities, values, business expertise, and geographies. They focus philanthropic activities on creating long-term, strategic relationships with nonprofits and other organizations to create innovative, sustainable solutions to meet local needs. Their team members help make an even bigger impact through their passion, time, and expertise.

Sponsor of the Month: Garney Construction

sponsor of the month_ garney construction(2)

Members from Garney Construction joined us for a Team Building day in support of our Veterans Village.  Team Builds are a great way to support the community, promote team moral, and gain exposure for your company or club.  Through Garney’s Team Build they made a financial investment as well as a physical investment, through hands on volunteering to rally together to support our Veteran families and supply them with a beautiful place to call home.  A big thanks to our partners at Garney Construction!


Garney is all about water. Clean water or dirty water. We move it. We treat it. We store it. Whatever your water needs, there is one simple solution – Garney.

Our relationship with water didn’t just happen. It’s been built project by project for more than half a century. As we’ve made the water flow, people across the country have come to depend on us for quality, integrity and the customer satisfaction that comes from getting more than your money’s worth. We are one of the nation’s leading water and wastewater contractors because we deliver more than water. We deliver excellence.

Garney. Advancing Water.

To learn more about Garney Construction visit them at http://www.garney.com/. To learn more about the Veterans Village or how to participate in a Team Build email danielle@habitatls.org.



Estate Planning FAQ’s



How often should I review my estate plan?
No Estate plan is permanent. Estate plans should change as personal circumstances change. You should review your estate plan every two or three years at a minimum, or more frequently should your personal circumstances change significantly. For example, it is a good idea to review your estate plan with an attorney if you move to a different state, lose your spouse, get divorced, have additional children or grandchildren, or if your financial position changes significantly. Read the rest of this entry »

Vets Village Open for Visitors

vets village open for visitors

Over the past few years women of the Villages Decorating Club have supported local Habitat families and our mission of providing affordable housing. Typically the club sponsors homes in The Villages area, but excited at a chance to give back to the Veteran community they donated $4,000 to provide new microwaves for each of the Veterans Village homes.  In gratitude of their gift, and to show off the newly installed microwaves, Habitat for Humanity invited the club for a sight-seeing tour of the Veterans Villages neighborhood.

On a very hot and busy day at the Village, two buses filled to the brim with over 90 women arrived to see the community first hand – the first of many tours coming to the Veterans Village this year. After a short introduction by Danielle Stroud, the club members were able to walk through all 6 veterans’ houses and ask questions about the project.

The tours proved to be a fun, educational, and successful event and Habitat is hopeful that the tours to follow will be just as successful. This November Habitat plans to provide free tours to donors and volunteers, as well as the general public to see the grounds and available homes.

Read the rest of this entry »

Sponsor of the Month: Ace Hardware Umatilla

july 2017 sponsor of them month newsletter

CARTER’S ACE HARDWARE is committed to providing solutions to our customers, community, and associates with honesty and integrity.  This year we are excited to partner with Habitat for Humanity of Lake-Sumter, right here in Umatilla, as a house sponsor in their Veterans Village!

Local, family-owned businesses are the heart of Lake County. Roy Carter and his family have owned and operated various stores dating back to 1964, the year that he and his business partner Ken Reutebuch purchased Tavares Ace Hardware. They established a goal to provide customers with the highest level of service and quality products at competitive prices. Read the rest of this entry »

Habitat to Americorps: A Volunteer’s Journey

lake county article

At twenty years of age, what does the strong, independent woman look like today in America? Is she well spoken and hard working? Does she desire unique experiences and the ability to give back to her community? Well, Monica Couture, a young woman from Lake County has shown to be all of these things. And Habitat for Humanity has just been one pit stop on her way to changing the world, one project at a time.

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Sponsor of the Month: Rotary Club

june sponsor of the month

Over the next few months Rotary Clubs from Lake and Sumter county will pull together to donate over $12,000 towards affordable housing.  The Wildwood Rotary club is supporting our new home we are building in Wildwood, Florida for the Jackson family and the Villages Evening, Villages Noon, Leesburg Evening, and Leesburg Noon clubs will be supporting one of the next four homes being built at the Veterans Village in Umatilla, Florida.  As sponsors of these homes, Rotarians from all over will join together to roll up their sleeves and support our Habitat homeowners.  Below are a few photos from the first work day, with many more to come.  THANK YOU ROTARY!!

Read the rest of this entry »

Sponsor of the Month: Lowes

may sponsor of the month

Lowe’s helped launch National Women Build Week in 2008 to empower women to advocate for affordable housing and spotlight the homeownership challenges faced by many. Each year, Lowe’s provides the support of their employee volunteers, Lowe’s Heroes, and conducts how-to clinics at stores to teach volunteers construction skills so they can feel equipped to take part in the builds.

Sponsor of the Month: Villages Home Decorating Club

sponsor of the month_ april 2017

The Villages Home Decorating Club is a social club comprised of over 650 residents living in The Villages who love learning, creating and sharing home decorating ideas and activities.

In 2013, the club decided to put their expertise into action and partnered with Habitat of Lake Sumter on their first outreach project, furnishing a home for a Vietnam Veteran in Wildwood.

Since then the club has sponsored an additional three families in Lady Lake and one in Fruitland Park (with a babies room!…so fun!), providing each one of them a unique and beautifully furnished home prior to their move in date.  The club is looking forward to partnering with another family in Wildwood later this year.


Read the rest of this entry »

2017 Massachusetts Maritime Habitat for Humanity (EM Winter Experience)

Our good friends from Massachusetts Maritime Academy sent us this video of their recent trip with Habitat…

Cagan Management Group Donates Appliances to Habitat for Humanity



Habitat for Humanity of Lake-Sumter ReStore is making room in its store for a large donation. When the Bristol Lakes Apartment complex, owned and operated by the Cagan Management Group, was ready to upgrade the appliances in several units, property manager Linda Vandiver, decided to contact the local ReStore. “It seemed like a natural fit since Habitat for Humanity renovates and builds new homes in our area,” Vandiver explains.

Click here for the full article.

Matching Gifts through March

Matching Gift

It is always a good time to get on board and donate to the Veterans Village… but if you’ve been on the fence or dragging your feet – the time is NOW!  RoMac Lumber and Supply will be matching dollar for dollar gifts to the Veterans Village throughout the month of March (up to $10,000).  Join us in saluting our Veterans and providing them a safe place to call home.  Your gift will provide much needed support for neighbors in need.  To learn more about the Veterans Village or ways to give, contact Danielle – 352-630-3318.


Sponsor of the Month:  RoMac Lumber & Supply

In addition to the Matching Gift through the Month of March RoMac Lumber is a proud sponsor of two homes in the Veterans Village.  The organization is deeply rooted in the community and is a wonderful partner.  Here is a bit of their history:

Read the rest of this entry »

Local Bank Builds Veteran Home


On Saturday, February 4th board members, executives, and staff of United Southern Bank were onsite at the Veterans Village to volunteer. United Southern Bank has been a longstanding partner of Habitat for Humanity of Lake-Sumter and their vision of providing affordable housing to local Veterans.

Read the full article here!

Legacy or Trophy?

585f08131c720-imageplanned givingdsc_1087

We all go through or lives collecting items and memories, or as I like to say trophies. We hang our diplomas on the wall, place our medals, pictures, and plaques on desks and shelves. The rational is simple: “I worked very hard to accomplish that” or “I am very happy Read the rest of this entry »

Get Involved in 2017!

Fridge photo Read the rest of this entry »

Habitat for Humanity teams up with Noon Rotary Club for first project of the year


Habitat for Humanity of Lake-Sumter collaborated Friday with the Rotary Club of The Villages Noon to conduct their first project of the year in Lady Lake.

The project was to provide extensive landscaping, siding repair and painting for a home in Lady Lake.

Read the full article here!

In The Community: With Team Depot

Team Depot with Davies Family

Team Depot with Davies Family

The restoration of this home means more to us than you will ever know.  The structure is more than 60 years old, built by hand by our father.  We grew up with love, family and faith in that home.  It is more than a house, it is our parents legacy.

No words can ever express how great we feel because of your unselfish and tireless efforts.  

– Karen D. Bennett, Dorothy Harris & Thomas Davis

In August our team had the opportunity to partner with Home Depot for a critical preservation and repair project.

Thomas Davis lives in Coleman, FL in a home that had been in the family for over 60 years.  This childhood home was a safe space that he cherished dearly – but he needed some help bringing it back to life.  Considering his options, he filled out an application to take advantage of Habitat’s repair program.  After the Habitat team met with Thomas and visited his home, we started work on preparing to approve his application – we joined forces with Team Depot as the sponsor and volunteer crew for the project to allow us to provide the funding and hands on labor needed to perform the job.

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Habitat for Humanity of Lake-Sumter wins $25,000 grant for Veterans Village


Habitat for Humanity of Lake-Sumter has been chosen as a recipient of a $25,000 Open Doors Homeownership Grant from CAHEC to assist in the costs of development of the Veterans Village in Umatilla. 

Please click here for full article.

Wells Fargo Team Members Help Build Home


On Sept. 19, 14 employees from various branches of Wells Fargo Bank throughout the county rolled up their sleeves and started work on a new Habitat home for a family in Fruitland Park. Soon to be homeowners, Lovely and Jethro came out to greet and thank the volunteers as well as work alongside them.

To kick off the work day, Lake-Sumter District Manager of Wells Fargo Bryan Cornell presented a check for $10,000 on behalf of the Wells Fargo Housing Foundation to assist in funding the home.

“We couldn’t be more excited to have Wells Fargo as a sponsor of this home. Without committed volunteers and community partners such as Wells we wouldn’t be able to achieve our mission of providing affordable housing,” said Kent Adcock, CEO of Habitat for Humanity of Lake-Sumter, Florida.

Click Here for Full Article (opens in new window)