Habitat Newburgh Home to be Built Using Lumber from 2015 Rockefeller Center® Christmas Tree

The following article was provided by Habitat for Humanity of Greater Newburgh

Lumber from the 2015 Rockefeller Center® Christmas Tree became part of the future home of the Talamante family during a special build day on Tuesday, June 28. The lumber helped frame one of four gut rehab projects located on South Miller Street in the City of Newburgh. On hand for the build day were members of the Talamante family, and volunteers from Tishman Speyer.

Executive Director of Habitat Newburgh, Cathy Collins, expressed, “Today was a special day as the lumber from the tree became a permanent part of the house that the Talamante family will purchase. The tradition of the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree represents so much joy and hope. This spirit will live on in this home and in this neighborhood that we are building in partnership with the families in our homeownership program. We are grateful to be part of this tradition that takes this special tree from symbol, to lumber, to home.”

In a nearly decade-long tradition, Tishman Speyer, the owner and manager of Rockefeller Center, has donated lumber from the tree to Habitat for Humanity. “The Rockefeller Center Christmas tree is a gift that keeps giving. It brings joy to people during the holiday season, which continues as it becomes part of a Habitat home,” said Jonathan Reckford, CEO of Habitat for Humanity International. “We’re thankful to Tishman Speyer for donating the tree to Habitat for the ninth consecutive year and for supporting our mission as we help families build strength, stability and independence through shelter.”

This is the second time that this iconic holiday symbol has become part of a Habitat home in Newburgh. Lumber from the 2010 Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree was used to build the Exantus family home, and is now a permanent part of Habitat Newburgh’s E. Parmenter Street Neighborhood.

Tishman Speyer first partnered with Habitat for Humanity in 2005 when employee volunteers framed houses for one week in Rockefeller Plaza to help families affected by Hurricane Katrina. The partnership expanded in 2007, the first year lumber from the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree was donated to Habitat for Humanity.

About Habitat for Humanity of Greater Newburgh: Seeking to put God’s love into action, Habitat for Humanity of Greater Newburgh brings together people to build homes, communities and hope. Founded in October of 1999, Habitat Newburgh is one of nearly 1,400 local affiliates of Habitat for Humanity International and is the largest and most productive affiliate in the Hudson Valley. We have completed 79 decent and affordable homes in one of the most distressed urban areas in the United States and the largest contiguous historical district in New York State.

The E. Parmenter Street Neighborhood, a 22-house development on what was formerly one of the most blighted blocks in Newburgh, is now a thriving community of Habitat Newburgh homeowners. To date, 95 families (265 children and 172 adults) earning between 30-60% of the area median income, have demonstrated a willingness to partner with Habitat Newburgh by investing sweat equity into the construction of our homes, participating in required homeowner education classes, and signing a mortgage. Habitat Newburgh homeowners contribute nearly $390,000 per year in school and city taxes. Thirty Newburgh homeowners have participated in our A Brush With Kindness minor home repair program. In addition to our work in this community, Habitat Newburgh has helped nearly 100 families in Haiti, Ethiopia, India, Jordan and Mexico secure shelter.

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About Habitat for Humanity International

Driven by the vision that everyone needs a decent place to live, Habitat for Humanity has grown from a grassroots effort that began on a community farm in southern Georgia in 1976 to a global nonprofit housing organization in nearly 1,400 communities across the U.S. and in over 70 countries. People partner with Habitat for Humanity to build or improve a place they can call home. Habitat homeowners help build their own homes alongside volunteers and pay an affordable mortgage. Through financial support, volunteering or adding a voice to support affordable housing, everyone can help families achieve the strength, stability and self-reliance they need to build better lives for themselves. Through shelter, we empower. To learn more, visit www.habitat.org.