EXETER TWP., Pa. - An Exeter Township family says they were left heartbroken over the cancellation of a home renovation project promised by a non-profit foundation.
It was an unexpected visit similar to the old Publishers Clearing House surprise only this one was for the winners of a home renovation contest. Paul and Elisabeth Laskowski were excited to learn the home they share with their six children, four of them adopted and some with special needs, was getting a makeover.
A friend recorded cell phone video of the announcement when the family was notified in May.
"When they came they looked at everything and said we're going to touch every room in the house. This is great. They really pumped it up," said Paul. The Laskowski family found about the contest back in January. A non-profit called the HBA Restoring Hope Foundation advertised it in a local newspaper.
"They were asking specifically for middle-class families that pay their bills that are involved with community service or activities outside of the house," said Elisabeth. They were told the makeover would happen September 5 through the 14.
"They said pack up your house, pack up all your belongings, go through everything, weed out everything you don’t need and get rid of as much as possible. We're going to refurnish," said Elisabeth. So they did just that.
"Saying goodbye to stuff with this great anticipation and that when I come back we're going to have a house that we don't have a project in. That's phenomenal," said Paul. But then this month they got a certified letter stating “The board has met and due to anticipated insufficient staffing and volunteers for this project we must withdraw our offer to make improvements to your home”.
"It was complete shock," said Elisabeth. The letter was signed by Diane Salks chair of the board of directors.
"You kind of feel a punch in the gut," said Paul who also says they've reached out to the organization for more than the one line letter but say no one has responded.
"The organization is called Restoring Hope so we had such hope for them that they were going to come and help us," said Elisabeth.
FOX 29 left a message for the board chair of the foundation. We are waiting to hear back from her. FOX 29 did get a response from the Home Builders Association of Berks County saying, "The Restoring Hope is a separate entity from HBA and has its own board members. The HBA board is currently looking into this matter."