A century ago, George J. Mecherle set out to provide protection for farmers and rural communities, tailoring insurance policies to meet their needs. Continuing in the tradition of looking out for the unique needs of the community, Lewes State Farm agent Jeanine O’Donnell exemplifies what it means to be a good neighbor. For her efforts, and as part of State Farm’s centennial celebration, the company asked O’Donnell to choose two local nonprofits to receive thousands of dollars in donations at a June 30 Customer Appreciation Day. O’Donnell, one of two Delaware agents selected, chose Sussex County Habitat for Humanity and Pathways to Success.
As a former board member of Sussex Habitat, O’Donnell has firsthand knowledge of the group’s work and its impact on the community. O’Donnell selected the nonprofit to receive $10,000 from State Farm to continue its mission in Sussex. Kevin Gilmore, CEO of Sussex Habitat, said the money will go toward building more homes for those in need. O’Donnell said she is involved with Sussex Habitat because it has expanded beyond building.
“It’s not just building houses; we’ve got the ReStore, we do refurbishment, there is financial literacy education [and] there’s opportunities for volunteers,” O’Donnell said. “I was blessed to serve on the board for many years, and my volunteerism continues in many different ways.”
Pathways to Success, another nonprofit in which O’Donnell is involved, received a donation of $4,500. Fayetta Blake, executive director of Pathways to Success, said O’Donnell’s relationship with her organization spans several years and she is one of the most philanthropic people she knows.
“We serve about 400 kids throughout Sussex County,” Blake said. “We’re in four different school districts now, and we’ll be going into a fifth. There has never a point or time when Jeanine has not stepped up to the plate. From food drives [to] can drives, she’s delivered food to us.”