'Like a Good Neighbor'

State Farm lends a hand for Habitat for Humanity project

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GREEN COVE SPRINGS – State Farm Insurance closed its offices in Orange Park and Middleburg Thursday morning to help out with a Clay County Habitat for Humanity project in Green Cove Springs.

“The State Farm tagline is ‘like a good neighbor’,” said Katherine Baustert of the Middleburg office. “Because of that we feel like we’re invested in helping the community. We like to do these community events.”

Baustert was joined by the office of Barbara Coleman, who is based out of Orange Park. Coleman has been a Habitat supporter for years and recently made a $5,000 donation to the organization through State Farm.

“We made the donation as a commitment to our community,” Coleman said. “If we keep families in homes, we are stabilizing their quality of life. Home ownership is one of the most important things for improving your quality of life.”

Habitat’s Ryan McIntyre has seen the positive influence Coleman has had on Habitat through continued volunteer efforts and donations to the organization.

“She’s really helped whenever we need it,” McIntyre said. “Mrs. Coleman has supported Habitat for a long time. She’s great.”

The project features two houses on a single lot that was donated by Wells Fargo where demolition and lot prep began in 2016 during the Collegiate Challenge. After dividing the lot into two spaces, Habitat began construction on the homes, one of which is already spoken for by a prospective owner. McIntyre said the other house has three interested people from Habitat’s waiting list who will tour the house and decide who will move in.

“It’s really nice when we get two together like this, side-by-side,” McIntyre said. “Especially when we have a lot of volunteers like we do today, everyone has something to do.”

McIntyre expects the homes to be finished sometime this fall. Then, two families will move in and be given the opportunity, after lots of waiting, to finally become homeowners.

Habitat for Humanity requires its homeowners to invest what’s called sweat equity into the creation of their new family home. Sweat equity may come in the form of working alongside work crews building the new home or the home of another Habitat family or helping clean up the construction site.

Habitat for Humanity families must also take part in homeowner classes where they learn such topics as how to manage their finances, insurance, maintenance and safety.

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