Written by Suzi Liu, Berkshire Hathaway Home Services

When growing up on South Shore Drive, Crystal Lake, IL, we always had a place for those who needed it. Be it a foster child, a neighbor, or a friend who was having a hard time. My dad never met a stranger, just a friend he didn’t know yet. He would spend most of his time in the garage. We didn’t know if he was actually working on anything, but people would stop by for his advice, which would lead to dinner, followed by games afterwards and all that would sometimes lead to them staying with us. My Mom knew how to stretch a meal from the 5 of us to 10, to 20 in an instant.

And I learned early on how to share a home.

Having been raised with that mentality, it was natural to raise my family the same way. My family and I take immeasurable joy in giving what we had, if we had it to give. Tuesdays, for instance, were our Burrito Bar Days. Perfect for stretching a meal from 5 to 10 or more in an instant. Sometimes, a few kids would stop by to eat, needing help with homework, advice, or a place to stay when things at home weren’t supportive.

Because of that, my children and I branched out from our own home to volunteer with local philanthropies. From Girl Scouts to National Charity League, we eventually supported, in different ways, sixteen various organizations in the area. One day, we discovered Many Mansions. As past president of National Charity League, Vista Robles, I was in charge of arranging an evening where we gathered together and painted bowls for the upcoming Bowls of Hope event. Ann Sturman was on site and gave us a tour of the homes. She shared how families were able to relax in the library, use the computers, find after school help, and grow vegetables in the garden for food when needed.

It sounded a lot like HOME. My childhood home. My children’s home. And, the home we wished for all families.

Home is so important. It’s more than a place, or an address; it’s a sense of belonging and feeling good about who you are. It’s knowing those around you support you in all your daily struggles. We were so happy to find a place that cared about local families that were working hard and trying their best to provide for their families. They just needed a place to call HOME.

I have been contributing a portion of my sales to help support Many Mansion and their amazing mission. My real estate partner, Cindi Gortner, and I are happy to be a part of the Many Mansion Real Estate Alliance, Founders Circle. It is so natural and right to give when you can, especially to those in your community.