CBI Associates Participate in a Weeklong Home Build to Support Local Resident of West Virginia

CBI Associates (from left to right) John Kline, Thom Klingman, David Longo, Kenny Sondys, Laura Magera, Jeff Jordan, Seth Duvernay and guests Felipe Izquierdo and Jim McAllistor pose for a picture after a day of homebuilding in West Virginia. 

Last month, seven CBI Associates and two guests traveled to Dunlow, West Virginia to meet student volunteers from Immaculata High School and Seton Hall University to participate in a weeklong home build for local resident Greg Sowards. Dunlow is an area of extreme poverty where many in the community struggle to make ends meet day after day. Greg is a disabled veteran who is known well in Dunlow for his service to others and regularly volunteers his time assisting Billy and Addie Likens, the husband and wife team responsible for providing extensive outreach and resources to individuals and families in need in the area. 

Billy and Addie regularly partner with CBI, the Live Love Serve Foundation and other community groups to make an impact in their town, and a few years aga built and began operating an amazing new recreational center where children from the community can hang out after school and where local families can get support and services that range from employment coaching, substance abuse counseling, financial counseling and more. 

CBI and the Live Love Serve Foundation have a unique tradition of outreach in this area and for the last six years, CBI has sponsored a Christmas Event at the Dunlow Rec Center, where Associates visit and serve residents a warm meal, hand out gifts and necessities and offer a heartwarming Christmas experience that many families would not have if it weren’t for the donation of others. This year, CBI took their holiday outreach a step further when they volunteered to participate in this exciting homebuild for Mr. Sowers.  

“This year was the first year CBI participated in the homebuilding work camp in Dunlow,” says David Longo, CBI’s Founder, Chairman and CEO. “Our company has strong relationships with many of the residents of this area because of our service at Christmastime. It was incredibly special for our team members to be able to come back this summer and participate in a different type of outreach that still supports the individuals we have gotten to know and love.”  

The first day the team showed up onsite, they were full of energy and ready to get started with the build. Greg joined the team and contributed greatly to the development of his new home. The walls of the home were already prefabricated by a group of high school students in the area studying carpentry. The first day of the build consisted of putting in floor joys, building the deck and standing all the interior and exterior walls by the end of the day. Trusses were up by the end of day two and the roof, windows and doors followed. 

Thom Klingman, VP of New Business Development at CBI, was part of the crew and says of the experience, “It was really neat to see these high school and college kids from Immaculata and Seton Hall in action. The kids did the bulk of the heavy lifting with guidance from adult team members. It was inspiring to see how excited and committed they were to the cause and it was really nice to be able to teach them new things in the process.” 

This was the first trip to Dunlow for Laura Magera, Senior Design Project Manager at CBI. When asked what her favorite part of the experience was she said, “I particularly liked that we got to visit the community and meet residents from the area. One of the most inspirational parts of the trip was speaking to two volunteers whose house burned down several years ago and were helped by the organization to build their new home. They now volunteer whenever they can to pay it forward, even though one of the individuals suffers from ALS. The locals in Dunlow live such simple lives and are grateful for whatever they have. When you’re around that kind of energy it’s infectious, and it makes you realize how important the work is that we are doing.” 

Not only was the outreach aspect of this trip important, but it was also a great week of connection. Many of the students involved in the build knew of each other in school but were not necessarily friendly or close. Same with some of the CBI Associates who participated from different markets. By the end of the week, many of the students were exchanging phone numbers and making plans to get together at home, and CBI Associates developed new bonds with colleagues they don’t get to work with each day. 

Laura says, “I also enjoyed spending time with the CBI Team in a different setting. At work we are always doing some many things at once we don’t often have the time to slow down and catch up personally. It was great to be able to spend some time having casual conversations with my colleagues while working with each other and the students.”

“Our relationship with Billy and Addie and the teams at Immaculata and Seton Hall is nothing short of amazing.” says David “Our associates look forward to our visit every year at Christmas, and now they look forward to making the homebuilding trip a tradition. Not only did the CBI team show up and help build the house, but they are responsible for raising the $40,000 in funds that were needed to purchase building materials, tools, paint and more to make this happen. I am extremely proud of our Associates and the passion they have for this ministry. We are truly blessed as a company to have such amazing people willing to give their time, talent and treasure.”

CBI and the Live Love Serve Foundation are proud to partner with Immaculata and Seton Hall to support the people of Dunlow each year. Learn more about our annual Christmas event in the town here, and consider joining us on our next trip to Wayne County. 

Associates from CBI’s Raleigh Location Volunteer their Time at the Local Food Bank

Associates from CBI’s Raleigh office recently took some time to give back to their local community by volunteering at the Foodbank of Central and Eastern North Carolina in Raleigh. The Food Bank of Central & Eastern North Carolina (the Food Bank) is a nonprofit organization that has provided food for friends and neighbors facing hunger in 34 counties in central and eastern North Carolina for 40 years. Through partnerships, education, and programs, the Food Bank empowers communities to overcome hunger, creating an environment where all North Carolinians thrive. 

 

While at The Food Bank the CBI Team helped sort food into different categories so it can eventually be shipped to other food pantry locations.

Rachel Lawver, a CBI Project Manager, says “Volunteering at the Raleigh Food Bank was an amazing experience for our team. We were part of a larger group effort, and over a 4-hour time period, we contributed to sorting 10,900 lbs. of food which is the equivalent of 9,108 meals for North Carolina Residents.” 

In North Carolina, 1,417,440 people are facing hunger - and of them 419,470 are children. Organizations like the Foodbank of Central and Eastern North Carolina make it possible to provide food to people in need while building solutions to end hunger in our communities. We are extremely proud of our CBI Associates for taking the time to support this organization and those in their community facing hunger. 

Learn more about the Foodbank of Central and Eastern North Carolina and how you can join the fight against hunger here.
 

Live Love Serve Board of Directors Spotlight: Christine Longo

The Live Love Serve Foundation is lucky to have a passionate group of individuals on its Board of Directors who are dedicated to serving their fellow neighbors and local communities. 

This month our Live Love Serve Board of Directors Spotlight features Christine Longo who told us more about why she and her husband, David Longo, founded the organization and have made it a priority in their lives to give back to others. Read more about what drives her to Live, Love and Serve below. 

Q: You and your husband founded the Live Love Serve Foundation together. Tell us more about what inspired the idea and about how the Foundation came to life. 
Christine: The mission of the Live Love Serve Foundation is to live a God-centered life focused on love; and from a very young age David and I were taught to love others and place God at the center of our lives. As children, we were both brought up with the understanding that giving back and taking care of others was important. We kept those ideals a priority in our married life and instilled the same values in our own children as we raised our family.

We founded the Live Love Serve Foundation in 2018 as an extension of CBI, and it is a  vehicle that allows us to support non-profit organizations in our local community, offer assistance to CBI Associates who need it and provide a hand-up to individuals that we encounter who are facing hardships at specific moments in their lives. Since forming CBI in 1993, David always had a vision of creating a separate branch of the business that teaches people how to be Jesus’ hands and feet on Earth, and I would say that the Live Love Serve Foundation does just that. 

Over the last four years the Live Love Serve Foundation has provided support to numerous organizations and individuals. It is truly amazing to see the reach the Foundation has had and to hear success stories from those we’ve supported. 

Q: It sounds like the Live Love Serve Foundation is the result of a life of service for both you and David. Tell us a little bit more about the types of outreach you were involved in before founding the Live Love Serve Foundation.

Christine: I have been volunteering with various organizations since I was a teenager. In fact, David and I met as young adults when we were working as counselors at Camp Fatima in New Jersey, which is a non-profit organization that provides free summer camp programs for children and adults with special needs. Working with these special needs individuals was such a gratifying experience for me, and it truly inspired me to continue giving my time and skills to other organizations throughout my life.

When we moved to Charlotte in 1993, I became very involved in ministries at our church, St Matthew’s Catholic Parish. One of the ministries I joined was the RAIN Support Team where I volunteered my time taking care of AIDS patients who did not have family support. In the early 90’s, the treatments for HIV and AIDS were much different than today, and there was far less information out there about the disease. Many patients didn’t have people in their lives to help them through their illness, which is why the RAIN Support Team was so important. I helped care for two individuals diagnosed with the disease and did everything from driving them to doctors appointments, helping with meals, providing comfort and prayer and even taking care of them in hospice. Working on the RAIN Support Team was a completely humbling experience, and I continue to pray for those individuals I cared for even now. 

Today, I am still very involved at our church in different areas, and the Live Love Serve Foundation also keeps me busy. 

Q: What would you say is your primary role on the Board at the Live Love Serve Foundation? 
Christine: I have oversight for a few different areas of the Live Love Serve Foundation. First and foremost, David and I work together to create and implement the strategy for the Foundation. When we started Live Love Serve, we created a strategic 4-year plan outlining goals and objectives and detailing the types of organizations we wanted to support. That plan is coming to an end, and we are now working on developing a new plan to take us into the next 4 to 5 years as an organization. 

I am also on the committee that reviews and approves donations, grant and scholarship requests. Anytime an organization or an individual requests support from the Live Love Serve Foundation they are asked to fill out an application stating their need and providing a little bit more information about themselves. The Board reviews the requests on a regular basis and decides on the amount of money we can provide financially. 

Finally, I work very closely with David to determine and approve a budget for the Foundation. I also help vet large organizations that we contribute to financially. 

Q: It sounds like you have a lot of responsibility on the Board. What really drives your passion for helping others? 
Christine: I would say I really learned about giving back to others and volunteerism from my parents. They did not have a lot of money to give back financially, so instead they gave their time to family members in need. Before I was born, my Mom and Dad opened their home to my small cousins when their parents were ill and couldn’t take care of them. It is examples like these that instilled my passion for helping others, and these are also the types of examples that I try to set for my kids. 

The Live Love Serve Foundation is a family-built Foundation, and it’s been wonderful to see my kids as adults with the same passion and desire to give back to our community and our neighbors in need. 

Q: Wonderful! For our last question, tell us what you do with your time when you aren’t giving back to the community. 

Christine: I have three amazing kids and two wonderful grandchildren. When I’m not working for the Live Love Serve Foundation or with my church, I am playing Nana to Margaret who is 3-years old and James who is 6-months. David and I also love to travel and enjoy visiting our son Tommy in Bend, OR, planning summer beach trips and getting up to the North Carolina mountains when we can. 

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If you are interested in learning more about the Live Love Serve Foundation and how it partners to support local communities, please visit www.llsfoundation.com