Project Mend-A-House, Manassas, celebrated 22 years of providing thousands of hours of critical home repairs and safety improvements to local residents most in need during its annual “Taste of Town” dinner and fundraiser last week.
The dinner at the VFW Hall in Dale City not only served as a venue to recognize the organization’s many volunteers, sponsors and civic groups but also helped raise funds critical to Project’s continued ability to deliver vital home repairs and home improvement services to the elderly, handicapped and low income residents of Prince William County, Manassas and Manassas Park.
“All year long, our volunteers, business partners and civic organization partners, including the Prince William County government, donate so much of their time, energy and resources to help our vulnerable population,” said Ernestine Jenkins, dinner chairman, “Tonight, we’re taking some time off to thank them for their hard work and generosity.”
Consistent with Project’s approach of reaching out to local businesses and civic organizations, 22 local restaurants donated the evening’s cuisine.
Additionally, students from Forest Park High school Key Club donated their time by helping to serve the food to more than 100 sponsors and dinner guests who came together for the evening.
Entertainment was provided by the New Dominion Choraliers of Prince William County, a non-profit organization dedicated to the cultural growth of the local community and the personal musical development of its members.
“We are very appreciative of the local restaurants who have donated their time, energy and delicious food for this evening,” said Andrea Saccoccia, executive director. “Their support and the support of the Forest Park High School student, Choraliers and our generous donors has enable tonight’s event to be the wonderful celebration that it is.”
Among the local dignitaries who participated in the evening were Del. Michele McQuigg, R-51st District; Supervisor John Jenkins, D-Neabsco District; Sharon Pankak, former county attorney and candidate for Prince William Board of County Supervisors Chairman; and District Court Judge Rossie D. Alston who reminded the evening’s audience that “life is not measured by the number of breaths you take but by the moments our breath is taken away. The work that Project Mend-A-House does, the work that you do, takes my breath away.”
The most touching and poignant moments of the evening took place when Saccoccia recognized Ray Stuckey with the Ernie Kish PMAH Volunteer of the Year Award and thanked Anne and Tom Kreutzer, owners of Woodbridge Plumbing for their 18 years of generous contributions of service and materials.
In recognizing Stuckey, Saccoccia spoke admirably of the totality of his contributions — from the 600 hours that he contributed throughout the year to the many clients whose homes and hearts he helped mend to the back-breaking support literally that he contributed to PMAH’s Builders Year Sale conducted in June.
As for the Kreutzers, Saccoccia said “Throughout our eighteen year partnership, you have been there time and time again for Project Mend-A-House. Every time our clients were in need of plumbing services, I always knew that I could count on Woodbridge Plumbing. You are truly two of Prince William County’s treasures.”
In addition to the local restaurants, many local merchants contributed towards the Fundraiser with gifts to support a silent auction and door prizes, including A Floral Affair, Baker’s Appliance, Contours Express, Curley Dog Mobile Dog Grooming, Dale City Animal Hospital, Jackie’s Teacher Store, Jewelry by Design, Ken’s Speedprint, Lazy Susan Dinner Theatre, O’Brien Photography and Virginia Oaks Golf Club.
About $7,000 was raised which will be re-invested back into the local community in the form of critical building materials and supplies to be used at several ongoing and future projects.
“I am proud of the volunteers and sponsors who have come together to make this evening possible,” said Saccoccia. “More importantly, thanks to their efforts and generosity, Project Mend-A-House has enabled thousands of our neighbors throughout these past 22 years to remain safely and independently in their homes. … none of this would be possible without the generous donations of volunteers, sponsors, business partners, civic organizations at the county government. Without their support, there would be no Project Mend-A-House.”