Women Builders put in sweat equity on Habitat home

Pat Thomas showed the peach-colored paint on her work gloves at the Habitat for Humanity home site.

“This is from the toolboxes we’re giving to new homeowners. We painted a house up the street a pretty yellow” said the Boca philanthropist.

Two years ago, she and Deanna Wheeler were on a team lifting the roof trusses. So, how does helping build a new house for a deserving family make them feel? “Great!” Wheeler said for both of them.

You could tell the Women Build volunteers by their pink hard hats. Out of 150 who responded to this call, about half are from Boca, noted The Dream Girls team captain, publicist Bonnie Kaye. Among her team members are Arlene Herson, Marci Yunes, Barbara Spiller and Shari Notowitz.

So far, the team had collectively raised more than $19,900 for Habitat as of May 7. Mother/daughter Beverly Raphael Altman and Robyn Raphael-Dynan co-chaired the Women Build again.

Habitat had to schedule smaller work shifts over Mother’s Day weekend on the Boynton site because of the turnout and Covid, Kaye said, so people were coming and going.

But that didn’t stop die-hard volunteers like Laureen Pannullo, who dedicated her Thursday afternoon shift to her mom, Rosemarie Maiorana. “Today’s her 86th birthday,” she said, imitating the Women Build logo.

Workers taking a break sat under open tents across from the home site. Some painted playhouses donated by Home Depot, a sponsor, said Crystal Spears, Habitat’s neighborhood revitalization director.

When the family house is finally done, the keys will be turned over to Suzie Michel, a widowed mom and her four sons 4 to 11. She had to commit to 300 hours of work and qualify for a special Habitat mortgage. A property manager, it was a working day, so she wasn’t at the site, Kaye said.

Women Build was Habitat for Humanity of South Palm Beach County CEO Randy Nobles’ last major event before he signs off for retirement on June 30, leaving the reins in the hands of Jennifer Thomason.

Pat Thomas showed Nobles her paint-splattered work gloves. “You did good,” he said.

The 2021 Women Build signups are over, but it’s never too late to donate, Kaye noted.

By Marci Shatzman


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