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State Farm celebrates its centennial with philanthropy

A century ago, George J. Mecherle set out to provide protection to farmers and rural communities, tailoring insurance policies to meet their needs. Continuing the tradition of meeting the unique needs of the community, Lewes State Farm Officer Jeanine O’Donnell exemplifies what it means to be a good neighbor. For his efforts, and as part of State Farm’s centennial celebration, the society asked O’Donnell to choose two local nonprofits to receive thousands of dollars in donations during an appreciation day. customers on June 30. 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 first-hand knowledge of the group’s work and its impact on the community. O’Donnell chose the nonprofit to receive $10,000 from State Farm to continue her mission in Sussex. Kevin Gilmore, CEO of Sussex Habitat, said the money will be used to build more homes for people in need. O’Donnell said she was involved with Sussex Habitat because she expanded beyond building.

“It’s not just about building houses; we have the ReStore, we are renovating, there is financial education [and] there are opportunities for volunteers,” O’Donnell said. “I have been fortunate to serve on the Board of Directors for many years, and my volunteerism continues in many ways. »

Pathways to Success, another nonprofit O’Donnell is involved with, received a $4,500 donation. Fayetta Blake, executive director of Pathways to Success, said O’Donnell’s relationship with her organization spans many years and she is one of the most philanthropic people she knows.

“We serve approximately 400 children across Sussex County,” Blake said. “We are now in four different school districts, and we will be entering a fifth. There’s never a moment or a moment where Jeanine hasn’t stepped in. Food dumplings [to] can drive, she delivered food to us.

O’Donnell also gave space to Anshu Sharda and Leena Maharaj, rising seniors at Sussex Academy who raise money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Sharda was on hand to answer questions about the fundraising efforts, along with her sister Aarna. Although Leena couldn’t make it, the girls plan to be at some of the Hudson Fields events this summer to continue raising money for their cause.

Along with entertaining her customers with free swag and live music, O’Donnell provided free food from various food trucks and baked pastries made by her staff. She also organized a food drive to benefit the Cape Henlopen Food Cart, which eventually filled the floor of O’Donnell’s State Farm van with donations.