The DeLuca Toyota crew has handed over a lot of keys in their day, and they recently took part in a key exchange of a different sort.

Frank DeLuca & DeLuca Toyota has worked in partnership with Habitat for Humanity of Marion County, Inc., sponsoring home construction projects for deserving families who have been carefully selected by the organization.

“Since 2007, a total of nine home sponsorships have enriched the lives and reduced the struggle for 12 adults and 28 children. We are building hope. Giving back gives me great contentment and satisfaction to help others in need.” comments Frank DeLuca, owner/president of DeLuca Toyota. Those contributions make Frank DeLuca the largest single annual donor to the Habitat for Humanity of Marion County cause.


On February 23, Habitat for Humanity of Marion County held a key presentation ceremony for a recent build. After a special program for the honored recipients, the Gavin family proudly accepted the keys to their new home. The house, both created and earned through blood, sweat, and tears, represented a blessing and a goal achieved for Quanese Gavin.

For Gavin, it was a long-awaited moment that was highly anticipated and earned through considerable effort. As per Habitat requirements, Gavin completed sweat equity hours—461 to be exact. This typically involves the partner family assisting in other home builds, becoming familiar with the ins and outs of the Habitat for Humanity organization, and taking classes on the fundamentals and logistics of home ownership. It’s safe to say that in doing so, participants learn aspects of home ownership that allude a great many modern day homeowners.

“I wasn’t handy at all,” says Gavin of her time prior to coming to Habitat, adding that she’d known nothing about dry wall, fixtures, and plumbing.

But after getting down in the trenches with the other volunteers and dirtying her hands, Gavin learned the tricks of the trades in home improvement. Now she’s confident she’ll know how to repair her new home, rather than paying someone else to do it.

“It’s been a process,” she says with a touch of humor. “But at the same time, I had a great learning experience.”

Habitat for Humanity Executive Director Dave Layman says he routinely watches in amazement, the changes that take place when partner families learn these new construction skills.

“Our family partners don’t come in as tradesmen. They’re not electricians. They’re not carpenters. They’re not masons. They’re not roofers. They typically don’t have any construction skills at all,” Layman says. Yet that all changes relatively quickly through hands-on practice.

The entire eligibility process typically lasts 12 to 18 months. Through endurance, faith, and hard work, these motivated men and women prove their commitment to becoming homeowners. Along with the 350 sweat equity hours, partnership family candidates must go through a current home evaluation, a credit check, and various income and financial assessments to boot.

“We’re going to do as best we can to put them in a situation where they’ll be in an affordable house and they won’t fail,” Layman says, explaining the thoroughness and thoughtfulness that goes into choosing recipients.

In addition to the volunteers, partner families, and professional construction workers, the labor of love comes together with the help of local sponsors.

“We’re just tickled to have DeLuca Toyota as a partner and our affiliate. DeLuca Toyota sponsored well over nine houses through the CCTCP program,” Layman says.

The CCTCP, which stands for Community Contribution Tax Credit Program, offers an opportunity for tax paying businesses to sponsor houses and earn a credit on the sales tax for the construction. DeLuca Toyota has been proud to take part of this community effort and join the ranks of other businesses coming together to distribute key after key to local homeowners.

“As we continue to grow and build more houses, the resources become pretty precious, and a program like CCTCP in the state of Florida, has been enormous for affiliates across the entire state,” Layman explains. “It’s a terrific program and DeLuca Toyota has been a wonderful sponsor.”

Pastor Keith Shaw of Kingdom Impact Ministries led the house blessing before the key presentation portion of the ceremony.

“Unless the Lord builds the house, it will not stand,” proclaims Shaw. “Even though it’s built on the natural ground and it’s a concrete foundation, we always ask that God would be the foundation of the home so that the home can last.”

Along with the obvious fruits of labor, there is a lot of prayerful intention that goes into these homes. A central part of the process involves volunteers writing Bible passages and prayers inside the walls before they are secured into place. The mission behind the Ocala Habitat effort is to emulate God’s love by offering communities strength, hope, and dignified housing solutions.

The Ocala website states, “We not only build homes, but also we build confidence, security and safety for those in need in our community in the form of decent affordable housing.”

If you are interested in becoming involved with Habitat as a donor, contributor, or work site volunteer, contact or call the administrative office at 352-351-4663.

DeLuca Toyota knows how empowering a key can be, whether for a car or a home. Join in and play a key role in opening the door and welcoming a partner family.