VIDEO: Local Community Comes Together to Help Family Renovate House


HAMMONTON - The Friends of Erik Mendez Community Project completed a renovation of Erik Mendez's home. Mendez, from Hammonton, has cerebral palsy and is unable to speak, His family would have to carry him out of the house for the school bus, help with his baths, and overall moving him around. Local business and community members wanted to help the family, and two years later, Erik can now leave his house with little, to no help.

“The initial thing was we needed to put an addition in to put in a handicap bathroom, which included a fully accessible shower, roll in shower, bathroom, vanity, toilet," said Holly DiDonato, Outside Sales, Seashore Construction Corp. "We also put in a handicap ramp, which was done by Habitat for Humanity, and then after that, we found some other problems, we found some heating problems." DiDonato added, "We ended up putting a roof up on the back of the house because it was sagging, so little things like that we learned they needed when the process evolved.”

Holly DiDonato spearheaded the project and located multiple contractors and groups that were excited to help. Members and volunteers for the project worked together to fix even the smallest problems in the house, so mendez's family can live a little easier.

“Habitat’s mission is to build homes, community and hope, and this is actually what this project was all about,” said Carol Schwartz, Executive Director of Habitat of Humanity, Atlantic County.

The ramp was build with Habitat for Humanity volunteers and they had done some work on the inside.

“The heating, ventilation, air conditioning had to be redone,” said Chalie Flood, Purchasing Department, DJ Wagner Heating and AC. “Everybody, as soon as they heard about it, got right on board with it.” Chalie Flood

Erik’s mother Yamil said that she overwhelmed by all of the support from the community and everyone involved, and this has changed her life for the better. They hope that you can come out tomorrow to the ribbon cutting, and the official opening of the ramp.

“Thank you, I mean, I don’t really know what to say, like, this wouldn’t have happened without any of them,” said Daniel Gutierrez, Erik Mendez’s Brother.