Donations to Harbor Homes make a difference

United Methodist donates $75,000.


A week after purchasing a house on New York Ave. in Oak Bluffs — their second — Harbor Homes received a total amount of $75,000 from the United Methodist Society of Martha’s Vineyard.

On Sunday, July 25, the United Methodist Society of Martha’s Vineyard held their Annual Meeting near the Tabernacle. On this occasion, Carolyn Stoeber, the president of Island organization handed over a $25,000 grant and presented an additional $50,000 in matching funds to Harbor Homes’ executive director Karen Tewhey. The United Methodist Society gives funds to support and strengthen the church’s programs for outreach, evangelism, and social justice. They approve funding and oversee the carrying out of the projects they approve.

A dozen people attended the meeting. (Unfortunately, due to technical difficulties, members that could not attend the meeting in person were not able to get a Zoom link as planned.) Among members and donors present were Hyuk Seonwoo and Ernest Belisle, both pastor and clergy at the United Methodist Church. After Seonwoo kicked off the meeting with an opening prayer, last year’s grant beneficiary, Deborah Medders of the League of Women Voters of MV, thanked the assembly. Next, Tewhey took the floor and thanked the United Methodist Society of Martha’s Vineyard for donating to Harbor Homes, emphasizing the importance of the timing. In 2020 after two years of “scraping every penny,” the association purchased their first house in Vineyard Haven. This house accommodates six men of very low income.

“After we bought the house, we were pretty cash-strapped,” Tewhey said. Worried about the electricity, water, and heating bills, Carolyn Stoeber came forward, at the same time, with a check from the United Methodist Society of Martha’s Vineyard for $25,000. This was a huge relief for Harbor Homes. “We breathed a huge sigh of relief that we could pay our bills,” Tewhey said. “The first grant helped us cover charges for the Vineyard Haven household.”

In addition to this $25 000 grant, the United Methodist Society of Martha’s Vineyard also proposed a $50,000 challenge grant to Harbor Homes if it could come up with this amount. “When you are fundraising, that’s a huge incentive. It really helped us get people to donate to the cause,” said Tewhey. “Today we are getting a check for $75,000 which is the total amount your organization has given us, but also it helped us pull in $50,000 of private donations. So your decision to help us resulted in $125,000 for our organization.” 

Tewhey said the money was used to operate the men’s Tashmoo House for a year and in addition provide social services by hiring a part-time caseworker to help the young men transition into the community.

The Harbor Homes association has recently purchased the second house in Oak Bluffs. 

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