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👷👠 ICYMI: Habitat’s Hard Hats & Heels Gala

Celebration, teary-eyed tales, community recognition and much-needed donation dollars. Habitat for Humanity of Gaston County shares the stories and successes of its annual Hard Hats & High Heels Gala, hosted on Saturday, Sept. 30, in Gastonia, N.C.

What they're saying: “There wasn’t a dry eye in the house on Saturday,” said Habitat Gaston Board Chair and Gaston Business Association President and CEO Patrick Mumford. “This gala is often marked by merriment and fundraising, but it’s our homeowners – our humble, grateful, hard-working Habitat homeowners – who truly make Hard Hats & High Heels a memorable occasion.”

Amid tears of gratitude and happiness, two homeowners and their children took the stage to share their life-changing Habitat Gaston experiences with event attendees. Their speeches were some of several highlighting the night’s festivities.

The 2023 recipient is Donna Beringer, president of Carolina Federal Credit Union located in Cherryville, N.C. Said Beringer of the honor, “This award reflects back to Carolina Federal Credit Union and what we try to do as a good steward to our communities, to the members that we serve and to the communities that we’re in.”

She noted that the Credit Union, through partnerships, is able to extend monetary downpayment assistance to Habitat homeowners. “That $15,000 downpayment helps to reduce the price of the mortgage, which gives the homeowner a more affordable payment.”

Added Beringer, “It is so rewarding, and to watch the family grow, and see how the family dynamics change once they get a safe and affordable home that they can live in, it’s incredible to watch that growth.”

Hard Hats & High Heels is an annual occasion hosted by Habitat Gaston at the Johan Newcombe Event Center. The evening event is an opportunity for volunteers, donors, partners and other Habitat contributors to gather for dinner, celebrate accomplishments, provide support and look toward the future of making homeownership dreams come true.

By the numbers: Through moving commentary and recognition of Habitat Gaston’s 35th anniversary serving Gaston County, Saturday’s Hard Hats & High Heels raised more than $290,000 in the single night celebration.

  • Half of the funds were collected through direct contributions and during the occasion’s live and silent auctions.

  • The other half was donated as a matching grant to the gala’s raised funding.

  • Thanks to that matching grant, Habitat Gaston successfully raised enough dollars to fund the complete construction of a home in its mixed-income Dixon Village community in North Belmont, N.C.

“Our donors changed a family’s entire life in just one day,” said Mumford.

“We are grateful to each and every person who raised a glass and an auction paddle with us on Saturday while also opening their hearts and wallets to a growing need in our community. We cannot wait to extend the exciting news to a deserving Habitat Gaston family.”


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