Montclair contractor’s calling- Putting a roof over those who need it

 In News

Chuck Anania is no fiddler on the roof.

The longtime Montclair contractor knows his way up a ladder, making a living with hammer and nails and fixing roofs for more than 20 years.

But after a trip two years ago to Central America, where he found families living in shacks, Anania has been using proceeds from his company to help give shelter to the less fortunate in New Jersey and elsewhere.

“I’ve always wanted to be a part of something bigger than myself, to be able to look back and know I helped make a difference,” said Anania, owner of New Jersey Certified Roofing in Montclair and founder of what he calls the Roof4Roof project.

Anania said for every roofing job he gets, he now sets aside a portion of the profits to donate a roof for someone in need, so far helping at least two dozen people in New Jersey who needed roofing repairs, as well as providing emergency roofing service in developing countries.

John Lubarsky of Parsippany was among those reaping the benefits of Anania’s goodwill project.

Lubarsky, whose white, single-family bungalow was damaged during Tropical Storm Irene, had gotten assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, but had not been able to fix his roof.

But this fall, Anania showed up with a work crew, repairing the damage, resealing the chimney and gutters, and completing carpentry work on the back of the house where the wood had deteriorated due to mold and water damage.

Earlier this year, Anania called the rabbi of Congregation Beth-El synagogue in Rutherford, after the house of worship was firebombed in January.

“It was almost like a dragon’s breath,” described Rabbi Nosson Schuman of the fire. His bedroom was engulfed in flames after someone threw five Molotov cocktails through a second-floor window that night.

Anania found Schuman through a Google search and offered to repair the synagogue’s roof for free, fixing the double-pronged roof and replacing a section on the back of the roof that had experienced the most damage.

The rabbi was taken aback by the offer, which he said stood out in an emotional outpouring of support from all over the world.

“We are a small synagogue with limited resources,” Schuman said. “This was a saving grace for us.”

The Newark Gospel Tabernacle Church had already been a customer of Anania’s, but when it was unable to pay for additional repairs, its mortgage company contacted Anania, who installed a whole new roof on the pantry for free.

Anania said he got the idea for the roofing assistance project during a 2010 trip to Colombia, where his wife is originally from.

The level of poverty was so much worse there than it is here in the United States, he recalled, and countless families were mired in unsafe living conditions. The contractor said he figured he could help them as well as any nonprofit group could, and began setting aside a portion of his profits in a separate account for charity work.

Over the past two years, he and his business have contributed close to $100,000 to fund this project.

In June, Anania and a team of workers traveled to Guatemala City, where with local help they were able to repair six roofs. He has installed more than 60 roofs in Colombia, and is now fixing or replacing roofs throughout the tri-state area for people without the means to get the work done.

Anania’s goal for his Roof4Roof project is to replace 1,000 roofs a year.

“Roof4Roof is more than just a project. This is something that I dedicated my life to,” he said.

Proceeds from every project are used to help families in need…
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