World Humanitarian Day: Realtor’s Partnership With FFTP Is a Lesson in Helping Others
COCONUT CREEK, Fla. (August 19, 2022) The desire to help the less fortunate comes almost as naturally as breathing for Jennifer Patterson, a Durham, N.C., Realtor whose donations helped build 30 homes for impoverished families in the Caribbean and Latin America through her partnership with Food For The Poor.
“It gives me a sense of purpose when I come to work every day knowing that I’m doing something that is making a difference – instead of just making money,” Patterson said. “Money is an avenue for good, if you use it that way.”
Patterson shows how one can make a profound impact on the lives of families through their day-to-day endeavors – in her case, through her “Build a Home by Buying or Selling a Home” program. She is a fitting example of the kind of people the United Nations intended to honor when it created World Humanitarian Day, celebrated on August 19, as a global recognition of people helping people in times of crisis.
“Our program is like making an impact on future generations down the river of life,” Patterson said. “It’s not just about feeding the poor – it’s about uplifting them with a space to make family memories. Family is a gift from God, and anything that supports families supports the future.”
Patterson learned about FFTP through her church, St. Thomas More Catholic Church in Chapel Hill, N.C. She felt called to work with the charity because its housing program fit perfectly with her desire to bring the joy of owning a home to people who had virtually no means of doing so on their own.
“Jennifer’s desire to provide housing for the less fortunate is a testament to her care and compassion for those who are in the greatest need,” FFTP President/CEO Ed Raine said. “We are blessed that she chose to partner with Food For The Poor in her effort to provide safe, secure homes for impoverished families.”
The “giving” page at www.jpattersonrealty.com/giving spells out Patterson’s commitment to helping others. If her company sells a home valued at less than $1 million, the company donates $500 toward building a home through FFTP. If the home is valued at $1 million or more, she donates $4,900, which is matched by FFTP donors and provides enough funds to build a house.
Patterson’s clients are gratified to know that they have a role in her effort to help people experience the joy of having their own home. She gives them a beautifully packaged announcement about their gift at the time of closing and then follows it up one year later with a photo of a family proudly standing in front of the home the client’s transaction helped to build.
That photo is “like the final punctuation of their new chapter,” Patterson said. “It’s really uplifting for my clients to know that if they trust me, not only will they buy or sell a home, but they’ll be part of building a home for someone else.”
Patterson’s husband, Henry “Pat” Patterson, also plays a role. He contributes through his company’s charitable gift-matching program, making the donation a partnership in giving. Since 2016, the Pattersons have donated more than $158,000 toward building 30 homes, as well as providing water pumps, animal husbandry projects, food donations and other initiatives in the Caribbean and Latin American countries where FFTP works.
“I have one of the most loving and giving spouses in the world,” she said. “We’ve been married almost 28 years and it’s always been important to my husband and me to not only say something, but to do something and teach our daughters that to whom much is given, much is also expected.”
Their daughters, Riley, a 24-year-old cinematographer, and 22-year-old Meredith, an aspiring aerospace engineer currently interning at NASA, are supportive of their work with FFTP. Together, the family is strong in their faith in God and in their desire to bring hope to those in desperate need.
“At the end of the day, I think we work for mastery, for contribution and for impact,” Patterson said. “And, to me, if I died tomorrow, I know 30 families are living somewhere that they would not have otherwise lived without our program. That gives me the hope that God will work within my life, just as God has worked within other people’s lives.”
Food For The Poor, one of the largest international relief and development organizations in the nation, does much more than feed millions of hungry children and families living in poverty primarily in 17 countries of the Caribbean and Latin America. This interdenominational Christian ministry provides emergency relief assistance, clean water, medicine, educational materials, homes, support for vulnerable children, care for the aged, skills training and micro-enterprise development assistance. For more information, please visit www.FoodForThePoor.org.