Habitat to benefit from Jazz Funeral


Coastal Point • Submitted Assistant Co-Chairman Marie Wright portrays ‘Sister Marie’ as one of the collection of mourners to celebrate the passing of the summer season in Bethany Beach for a past Bethany Beach Jazz Funeral. This year’s event will take place on Labor Day, beginning at 5:30 p.m.Coastal Point • Submitted Assistant Co-Chairman Marie Wright portrays ‘Sister Marie’ as one of the collection of mourners to celebrate the passing of the summer season in Bethany Beach for a past Bethany Beach Jazz Funeral. This year’s event will take place on Labor Day, beginning at 5:30 p.m.One of the goals of the Bethany Beach Jazz Funeral this year is a serious one — to help improve the health and wellbeing of families in the greater coastal areas by supporting Sussex County Habitat for Humanity, according to Carolyn Bacon and Marie Wright, the assistant chairpersons of this year’s Jazz Funeral events.

All those who help organize and participate in the annual Jazz Funeral have a high level of appreciation for Sussex County Habitat for Humanity, said Bacon.

“The purpose of the Sussex County Habitat for Humanity programs are to build simple, decent, affordable homes in partnership with low-income families in Sussex County,” Bacon said. “This year’s 31st Bethany Beach Jazz Funeral and our 11th annual Jazz Funeral Silent Auction are dedicated to Habitat for Humanity.”

More funds are needed to continue SCHH’s Sussex County programs, according to Wright, who said she believes their need for “grassroots support” helps explain their approach to helping others.

“Habitat for Humanity’s philosophy is simple and straight-forward,” Wright said. “Habitat provides a ‘hand-up, not a hand-out.’”

Working in conjunction with the Bethany Beach Jazz Funeral is Sussex County Habitat for Humanity’s Development Director James A. “Jay” Gundy III.

“For 25 years, Sussex County Habitat has been putting God’s love into action by bringing people together to build homes, communities and hope,” Gundy said. “It is a proven fact that when low-income families move out of substandard housing situations into simple, decent and affordable homes, they become healthier, the families are able to contribute to the community, and children learn and perform better in school.”

“Many low-income families find themselves stuck in mold-infested, and often sub-standard and unhealthy rental situations. Once they partner with Habitat, the families begin not only to build their new homes but also build hope for a better and healthy life.”

He said each adult in the Habitat Partner families contributes 250 hours of “sweat equity” building and volunteering on Habitat projects, in addition to attending monthly partner family classes that help teach them about home ownership.

Families are selected on the basis of the need for housing, ability to pay a no-profit, no-interest mortgage, and their willingness to partner.

“Habitat begins every build with a special ceremony where the overall project is blessed,” Gundy said. “The ceremonial shovel is dug into the ground, and the approved future homeowners see a healthier and brighter future for their families.”

As part of the program, Habitat holds a 30-year not-for-profit mortgage, and mortgage payments go into Habitat’s Fund for Humanity, which is used to build more houses with more families in the future. As a show of appreciation, homeowners often personally bring in their monthly mortgage payments to the Georgetown Habitat office, Gundy said.

SCHH Executive Director Kevin Gilmore encouraged each family to “be good neighbors, strong contributors to the local community, and to remain committed to their responsibility of Habitat homeownership by faithfully paying their monthly mortgage so that Habitat can continue to build more homes and change more lives.”

Back for its 11th year and benefitting SCHH is the Bethany Beach Jazz Funeral Silent Auction, scheduled to be held on Friday, Sept. 2, from 3:15 to 4:45 p.m. at Bethany Blues.

“We will kick off the Labor Day weekend on Friday with our Silent Auction and close out the weekend with the 31st annual Jazz Funeral,” Bacon said. “The goals of both Jazz Funeral events are to continue to raise funds for worthy charities and celebrate the end of the summer season in Bethany Beach in a lighthearted manner.”

A local direct mail campaign and an email campaign are in the process of being organized to let area businesses and organizations know about the upcoming Jazz Funeral events.

“Members of the Jazz Funeral committee are in the process of contacting local businesses to spread the word about this year’s Silent Auction,” Bacon said. “All the funds raised at our silent auction will go directly to the Sussex County Habitat for Humanity.”

The 31st annual Bethany Beach Jazz Funeral will take place on Labor Day, Monday, Sept. 2, beginning with a private “Wake” at 5 p.m. The “Solemn Procession” follows around 5:30 p.m.

This year’s procession, accompanied by the music of three Dixieland jazz bands, will start at the north end of the Bethany boardwalk. The event is free and family-friendly, and the general public is being invited to attend.

At the conclusion of the event, those who attend the Jazz Funeral are encouraged to enjoy the rest of the evening by dining at local restaurants in the greater Quiet Resorts area.

Anyone interested in helping out with the Jazz Funeral events or needing general information can leave a message at (302) 537-1585 or email jazzfuneral@comcast.net. An overview of the event can be viewed at the website at www.jazz-funeral.com.