Archive for the ‘Associate Volunteerism: Team Depot’ Category

Doing a World of Good Together for Veteran Families – And How a Tweet Can Help

Monday, December 16th, 2013

At Operation Homefront, we work with a broad range of corporations, individuals and foundations who seek to affect positive change for our military men and women, wounded warriors, veterans and their families.

We’ve been extremely fortunate to have some very generous corporate partners who share our values and support of the military. However, it’s a rare combination to have a partner who not only provides their generous resources through in-kind or monetary support, but one who actually places a priority on military and veteran initiatives as core to their culture. That’s exactly the experience we’ve enjoyed in working with The Home Depot Foundation.

Over the course of our three year partnership, The Home Depot Foundation has given $2.6 million to Operation Homefront to rehabilitate and retrofit homes of veterans, wounded service members and their families. To date, Operation Homefront and The Home Depot Foundation have been able to complete 108 projects for veterans and their families, and we’ve been able to undertake tasks like constructing critical home repairs, making ADA facility modifications, purchasing critical appliances and weatherization.

A very personal story I’d like to share is that of the Lucero family. Army Sergeant Esdras Lucero, a wounded veteran, and his wife Jessica bought a house near Fort Drum in New York, planning to make some critical repairs themselves. However, when Sgt. Lucero deployed with his unit, they called in a contractor for some help. Unfortunately, after initiating work on the home, the contractor had neither filled in gaping holes in the walls and roof, nor fixed a defective furnace. Jessica’s calls for help went unanswered for weeks, and then months. She felt she had nowhere else to turn. Thanks to the generosity of The Home Depot Foundation, Operation Homefront was able to hire a new contractor to make critical repairs on the house needed in time for the arrival of the Luceros’ quadruplets on Dec. 26, 2012.

Team Depot and Operation Homefront team up to help the Lucero family

Team Depot and Operation Homefront team up to help the Lucero family

But where The Home Depot Foundation distinguishes itself from many others, I believe, is they didn’t just stop by supplying monetary resources and equipment. On a February weekend this year, Team Depot volunteers descended on the Lucero home and completed critical projects like painting, hanging shelving and completing general projects to ensure that the home would be as comfortable an environment as possible for the Luceros and their quadruplets. It’s that spirit of volunteerism, of service to those who have sacrificed so much, which distinguishes The Home Depot from many others.

We’re proud to have The Home Depot Foundation as a strong supporter in our work to help veteran families in their greatest times of need, and we look forward to continuing our partnership for many years to come.

And remember, this holiday season, you can help veterans too. Show your support for veterans by tweeting using #TeamDepot and The Home Depot Foundation will donate $1 per tweet, up to $100,000 to Operation Homefront until December 31.

–By Jim Knotts, President & CEO, Operation Homefront

Supplies and Team Rubicon Volunteers En Route to Midwest to Aid Recovery Effort

Monday, November 18th, 2013

What started as an average Sunday turned into anything but as news alerts rolled in with reports of dozens of tornadoes touching down in the Midwest. Today, as thousands of affected residents look to pick up the pieces left behind, our hearts are with them.

IMG_3213When disaster strikes, we know that communities count on us as a major partner to help recover and rebuild their homes and neighborhoods. Both today and in the coming months, we are committed to helping our neighbors in the Midwest. Today, we are donating $50,000 to Team Rubicon to provide their volunteers with the supplies they need for their immediate response efforts.

Team Rubicon, one of our national partners, unites the skills and experiences of military veterans with first responders to rapidly deploy emergency response teams. We value our partnership with Team Rubicon, which is also providing their volunteers with necessary supplies for relief efforts in Austin and Alaska.

Our stores throughout the impacted Midwest areas are providing resources to emergency management agencies and first responders so that they can respond quickly to needs of the victims.

Additionally, our support of the American Red Cross Annual Disaster Giving Program will be used to support their effort to provide immediate relief to the impacted areas. For those interested in making a donation to Red Cross, please visit

When initial damage assessments have been made and the area is safe, Team Depot, the Company’s associate-led volunteer force, will mobilize locally to help with relief and recovery efforts as well.


Doing More… A Lot More!

Thursday, November 14th, 2013

By: Kelly Caffarelli, President of The Home Depot Foundation

I’ve heard people say you can do anything for a day, a month, a year.  At The Home Depot Foundation, not only can we do anything for two months, we can do a lot!  From September 11 through November 11, thousands of our associates worked across the country on volunteer projects benefiting veterans.  The grand finale was in St. Louis on Veterans Day, when we had 300 associates repairing, painting and planting at the homes of 28 veterans.

This was our third annual two-month Celebration of Service campaign and we set the bar high for next year with associates volunteering more than 100,000 hours to complete more than 350 projects hitting all 50 states.  This year’s projects were supported with a $3 million investment and were particularly meaningful as we focused many projects on improving the homes of two specific groups: women veterans and caregivers.

As shocking as it sounds, 60,000 veterans are homeless on any given night, and the fastest growing group in the homeless population is women veterans, many of whom have children.  Most places providing housing assistance are not able to take families, making it difficult for veterans who are mothers to find a safe home for their families.  Similarly, there’s a new group of caregivers, who are often young spouses and parents, providing help to some of the 3.5 million veterans living with a service-related disability.

Anything we do to make homes more comfortable and accessible for disabled veterans, probably also makes it easier for the caregivers, who are dedicating themselves to care for veterans every day.

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Some examples of the kinds of projects Team Depot, our associate-led volunteer force completed include:

• Making the home of Anna Fields, a 98-year-old WWII veteran and Cincinnati, OH resident, handicapped accessible (with People Working Cooperatively)
• Making the home of Army veteran Jammie Hinson, his wife, Katina (a caregiver and Air Force veteran), and their two children accessible for Jammie (with Rebuilding Together Dallas)
• Renovating and beautifying an outdoor area at a permanent housing facility for veterans and their families in San Francisco (with Swords to Plowshares)
• Remodeling Hello House, a transitional housing facility that serves homeless women veterans in Boston (with Volunteers of America Massachusetts)

While Celebration of Service ended on Veterans Day, our efforts to ensure every veteran has a safe place to call home continue year-round.  It’s all part of our $80 million, five-year commitment to address the housing needs of our country’s veterans.  We know that Veterans Day is only once a year, but we’ve taken on this work as our way of saying “thank you” to our veterans every day of the year.

To continue following what The Home Depot Foundation is up to as we address veterans’ housing needs and more, don’t forget to follow us on Twitter @homedepotfdn or using #TeamDepot and like us on Facebook at

Celebration of Service: Unexpected Inspiration

Tuesday, November 5th, 2013

As the Field Specialist for the Southern Division, each week I have the pleasure of working with dozens of associates to mobilize hundreds of volunteers for Team Depot volunteer projects. Each project is important and special – whether it involves giving a veteran’s home a fresh look, building a ramp for better accessibility or honoring the sacrifices veterans have made by building memorial paths. Last week, I had the opportunity to join Team Depot for a project at the Five Star Veterans Center in Jacksonville, Florida as part of our 3rd Annual Celebration of Service. Five Star Veterans Center is a modest organization that provides high-quality transitional housing for homeless veterans who need assistance as they take on the challenge of adjusting to civilian life.

After an early morning cup of coffee, a few logistical directions for the team and an enthusiastic Home Depot cheer, we were off and running. Looking around at the dozens of volunteers rolling up their sleeves to help renovate this center for people they barely knew, I was reminded of what I really admire about the Team Depot program– the people.

Team Depot is made up of Home Depot associates committed to doing the right thing for any number of reasons. Some do it because it’s fun and they enjoy the camaraderie of doing something together; some do it because it makes someone’s life a little easier; and others use it as a way to recognize and honor our nation’s veterans. Others, like Mike Curry, volunteer as a way to return the favor.

I had the privilege of meeting Mike, a Home Depot associate and veteran in Jacksonville.  His motivation to participate is special. Mike chose to give back because the work of Five Star Veterans Center is close to his heart; he was once homeless. After some unforeseeable circumstances, Mike lost stable employment and then lost his home. Through hard work and a few helping hands, he found a job at The Home Depot and secured a place to call home. And now he’s sharing his story, his home improvement talents and his optimistic attitude in helping others on their journey.

Mike was honored to join in this mission to help his fellow service members. “I had the opportunity to serve with The Home Depot Foundation in an on-going project to help renovate a homeless veterans’ shelter. The experience was particularly rewarding to me, considering I too am a formerly homeless veteran. I was able to talk with the vets, tell them my story and hopefully inspire. All in all it was a very rewarding day.”

I’m not sure I was the one Mike meant to inspire last week but I’m inspired by Mike. Inspired to continue our work to ensure every veteran gets safely home and reminded of the simple power of a safe place.

- Valerie Cox, Foundation Field Specialists – Southern Division, The Home Depot Foundation

Mike Curry helps renovate the Five Star Veterans Center.

Home Depot associate and veteran, Mike Curry, helps renovate the Five Star Veterans Center.


Thursday, October 17th, 2013

I’ve participated in countless Team Depot projects to help veterans in my role as The Home Depot Foundation Field Manager. While it is always a rewarding experience, we completed a project in Tampa recently that was so meaningful that the pictures just cannot do it justice.

With this project, our Team Depot volunteers transformed a drab space into an outdoor inspiration for wounded warriors adjusting to their new lives with spinal cord injuries. The project was in partnership with the James A. Haley Veterans Hospital and the USO, to create an outdoor space for this 100-bed top notch Spinal Cord and Rehabilitation Center that serves veterans who have been severely injured in the line of duty.

Team Depot’s plan was to create a meaningful outdoor space attached to the Spinal Cord Injury Recreational Therapy room. The current space began with an automatic sliding glass door that opened to a 6′ long concrete walkway…that was it. Beyond the walkway was an inaccessible ground fraught with rocks and dirt that served no purpose.

To Team Depot, this was a blank canvas. After working with a community partner to pour a large concrete pad, Team Depot installed a vibrant landscape with trees, potted plants and benches. This may not seem like much but this is actually where the story gets good.

picstitchDuring the project, we received word that a group of veterans going through recreational therapy were supposed to have a horticulture class that day. Veterans were going to be in front of computers while someone lectured about horticulture. While I’m sure it would have been interesting – one of our volunteers just so happened to be a The Home Depot garden expert. So we decided to change the curriculum. 

At the center of the entire project was a round garden bed. We decided to leave it unplanted so the veterans scheduled to participate in the horticulture class could actually get their hands dirty to learn about real plants instead of viewing them online. Our garden associate led an hour-long class educating the veterans about various facets of horticulture. Then, she worked with each veteran to help them plant their plant in the garden bed to formally finish off the project.

Afterwards I spoke with one of the veterans about the class and how we may be of help going forward. What he said truly struck a chord with me, “Every day we wake up and go to work (that’s what we call therapy), each day is a scheduled with classes and therapy to move us one step closer to self-sufficiency. Some of us may never be able to walk again, but only the doctors believe that. Day in and day out, we rarely get to see new things, we rarely get to be a part of new things. However, because of this garden area, every day during therapy we can see the seasons change the plants, we can even watch the colors form and change. For me, I’m glad I get to watch my plant grow, change, live and serve.”

By: Joe Wimberley, The Home Depot Foundation Field Manager, Southern Division

Celebration of Service: Report from the Fields’ Home

Friday, September 27th, 2013

On September 5, we launched our 3rd Annual Celebration of Service.  Since the launch, Team Depot volunteers have participated in nearly 100 projects benefiting veterans, caregivers and their families. Below is a first-person report from volunteer Chris Giallanza, who participated in his first Celebration of Service project on September 19th in Cincinnati.

The only thing more impressive than Team Depot’s accomplishments in a single day are those of the veterans we help, which was once again made clear on a rainy September day in Cincinnati.

As a first-time participant in a Celebration of Service project, I was overwhelmed by the dedication and genuine enthusiasm of the local Team Depot volunteers even before we dispersed to simultaneously take on 10 projects for local veterans throughout the metropolitan area.

My concerns after watching the local weather forecast must have shown through on my face as I joined the group of volunteers gathering in front of Pleasant Ridge store #3832.

“Oh, don’t worry. We work in the rain,” reassured one Team Depot volunteer.

That was an understatement.

I accompanied a group of 30 or so to the home of Anna Fields, a WWII veteran who served as a nurse in one of the country’s first African-American nurse companies – tending to soon-to-be amputees wounded in the European Theater.

By the time the sun made its first appearance later that morning, every single volunteer had already made significant headway on a variety of projects around the house, including a group of The Home Depot executives from Atlanta who quickly proved they came to work every bit as hard, if not harder, than the rest of us.

From refreshing nearly all of the front porch to a substantial renovation in the back of the house, volunteers stopped only to visit with Anna, fighting back tears as she and her family expressed their profound gratitude for Team Depot’s “drop everything and help” attitude.

“My orange angels,” Anna repeated throughout the day.

 Throughout the day, local reporter after local reporter sat with Anna to hear her story, entranced by her charm and incredible stories from her 98 years of life.

Only as the projects neared completion did I have the chance to step back and take in all that Team Depot had done in a single day. Anna’s home looked brand new, and her family’s hope was restored. Their hero and role model would be able to stay in her home for her remaining years.

While several volunteers came together to put the finishing touches on a front-yard light post, emotions ran high as Paula Fields, Anna’s youngest daughter and full-time caretaker, boomed her gratitude with a contagious enthusiasm she undoubtedly got from her mother.

The Team Depot volunteers gathered briefly to reflect on the day’s accomplishments with confidence the other nine projects went just as well. And with exhausted smiles and teary eyes, we wished the Fields’ our best and went on our way – anxious for the next project in support of Cincinnati’s local veterans.

- Chris Giallanza

For more information on Celebration of Service, click here.  See Anna Fields’ featured project here.

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Celebration of Service: Honoring the women and families who serve

Thursday, September 5th, 2013

Did you know…? 22 million veterans live in the U.S., 3.5 million veterans have suffered service-connected disabilities, and 40 percent of veterans are over the age of 65.

Many of the veterans that make up the statistics above need accessibility modifications to live comfortably and safely in their homes – and many are unable to make these needed repairs without assistance. As a result, our veterans are not the only ones suffering, but their families and caregivers as well.

Statistics also show that the fastest growing group within the veteran community is women. Unfortunately, women veterans are also the fastest growing segment of the homeless population, and are twice as likely to be homeless as their civilian counterparts.

To address the particular housing needs of women veterans, caretakers and their families, we are proud to announce our third annual Celebration of Service. From 9/11 to Veterans Day, the Foundation will invest $3 million, and thousands of Home Depot associates across the country will complete 350 service projects.

Today, in Los Angeles, we kick off the campaign in partnership with Habitat for Humanity of Greater L.A. and Volunteers of America Support for Harbor Area Women (SHAWL) program. In just one day,  more than 150 Team Depot volunteers will transform the home of single mother and Iraq and Afghanistan veteran Lidia Perez and the Haviland House, an emergency transitional home that will serve women veterans.

Lidia Perez, a Navy veteran, is the mother of two young boys. Seven family members live in her three-bedroom home, including Lidia and her sons, her mother, two adult sisters and young niece. Volunteers will partner with Habitat for Humanity of Greater Los Angeles to complete a variety of projects to improve Lidia’s home, including:

  • Painting the exterior and interior of the home
  • Installing carpet in the bedrooms
  • Performing minor plumbing repairs
  • Landscaping and installing fencing in the front and backyard to give the children a safe play area

VOA’s SHAWL (Supporting Harbor Area Women’s Lives) is a residential recovery program for homeless women who are affected by drug and alcohol addiction, domestic violence and emotional abuse, many of whom are veterans. Project work will include:

  • Painting and repairing the exterior of the home
  • Reinforcing the front porch
  • Repairing the sprinkler systems
  • Landscaping in the front and backyard for shade and privacy
  • Creating an outdoor area with a porch and BBQ
  • Installing new fences around the property to ensure child safety

We feel very fortunate to meet these brave women veterans. Not only are we proud to have the opportunity to refurbish the homes and facilities where they live and receive services, but also to say ‘thank you’ for their many sacrifices.

For more information on Celebration of Service, click here.

To see additional stats and facts about women veterans and caregivers, click here.

Behind the scenes Celebration of Service 2

Navy veteran Lidia Perez and her sons outside of their L.A. home.

Navy veteran Lidia Perez and her sons outside of their L.A. home.

Giving back changed these lives

Monday, August 26th, 2013

The Home Depot Foundation and the Team Depot program offer opportunities for our associates to give back to the communities that we serve. Each and every day, our associates partner with nonprofits and roll up their sleeves to repair and beautify homes, facilities and community spaces for those in need. These initiatives serve as a powerful experience for those being helped. But often, the experience is as powerful for volunteers as well. In some instances, giving back truly changes the lives of associates. We profile some of those changed lives here.

Scott Krueger – Store Manager, Store 2305 in Louisville, Ky.

Scott has been involved with Team Depot since 2006. He served first as a volunteer, then as Team Depot Captain and now as a District Captain. In 2012, Scott and Store 2305 established a relationship with Active Heroes, a local organization that has assisted more than 1,800 military families, veterans and wounded warriors with support services.

After a year that included multiple Team Depot projects and a grand-prize winning appearance in the Foundation’s Aprons in Action competition, Scott was asked by the president of Active Heroes to join their board of directors. He willingly accepted.

“The experience of working with this organization and helping with their success is a beautiful thing,” Scott said. “It aligns directly with our values wheel and it’s very rewarding.”

Jimmy Van Loon – Freight Department Supervisor, Store 4915 in Green Bay, Wis.

Jimmy has always enjoyed artistic expression. His hobby was derailed, however, when he badly cut his left hand in an accident at home, nearly losing his thumb. At times, he felt that he was ready to give up his artwork. But last year, he decided to give it another shot and participated in the Celebration of Service patriotic apron decorating contest – ultimately winning the competition. Though the task of designing and painting the apron wasn’t easy, the opportunity to artistically show appreciation for those who have served our country turned out to be just the push he needed.

Over the last year since the competition ended, Jimmy has continued with his art and has nearly completed a huge project –  an 8-foot by 18.5-foot mural for a Disabled American Veterans center in De Pere. And his comeback all started with an apron!

“I am a Desert Storm veteran and I really wanted to paint an apron for my fellow brothers and sisters,” Jimmy said. “That decision has inspired me to honor all veterans in my community.”

Judy Custer – Pro Account Sales Associate, Store 2717 in Burton, Mich.

Judy Custer began working at The Home Depot in August 2000. By September, she had already found her way to Team Depot. It all began with a chance encounter with her store’s Team Depot Captain, who was working hard to pull together materials needed for a last-minute project at an apartment complex that had burnt down. Judy quickly volunteered to help. She was a huge asset to the project and was surprised a short time later by the news that she had been named the store’s next Team Depot Captain and also the District Team Depot Captain.

With nine stores in her district, Judy has made community service her personal mission and has worked tirelessly to make her district’s program incredibly successful. In 13 years, she has organized and facilitated hundreds of projects and disaster relief efforts. Judy has seen firsthand how time flies when you’re having fun.

“I love my job,” Judy said. “I get to help people, I get to fix things and make their lives easier. I just love it.”

Scott Krueger (left), store manager at Store 2305 in Louisville, Ky., hands over a check to Active Heroes

Scott Krueger (left), store manager at Store 2305 in Louisville, Ky., hands over a check to Active Heroes

Jimmy Van Loon, freight department supervisor at Store 4915 in Green Bay, Wis., working on his veterans mural

Jimmy Van Loon, freight department supervisor at Store 4915 in Green Bay, Wis., working on his veterans mural

Team Depot Captain Judy Custer (right), pro account sales associate at Store 2717 in Burton, Mich., visits a veteran whose home she helped transform

Team Depot Captain Judy Custer (right), pro account sales associate at Store 2717 in Burton, Mich., visits a veteran whose home she helped transform

Behind the Scenes: Celebration of Service

Wednesday, August 14th, 2013

Celebration of Service is just less than a month away. Behind the scenes, The Home Depot Foundation team has been hard at work making sure all systems are a go for the third annual campaign starting Sept. 11. For two months throughVeterans Day, thousands of Home Depot associates will complete more than 350 serviceprojects across the country. The campaign kicks off in Los Angeles on Sept. 5, with two projects in partnership with Habitat for Humanity of GreaterLos Angeles and Volunteers of America, both focusing on women veterans and their families.

The Launch

Habitat for Humanity of Greater Los Angeles introduced us to Lidia Perez, a Navy veteran who served for five years and saw combat twice with Operation Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom. She is a single mother of two young boys and shares her home with her mother, two adult sisters and two nieces.

“Since June, we’ve have been working to locate a woman veteran in need of critical home repairs for the launch,” said Sherry Caraway, western division foundation field manager. “To launch Celebration of Service, Team Depot will paint the home, install a fence and turn a bare backyard into an outdoor living space and child friendly play area, in addition to other projects.”

The Campaign

As the campaign continues, the Foundation’s national partners, such as Volunteers of America and Operation Homefront, will identify other exciting projects across the country that serve women veterans and families.

“The great thing about our partners is that they focus on housing for veterans throughout the year and can identify meaningful projects that will impact lives long after our Team Depot project is done,” said Heather Pritchard, senior manager of national partnerships and Atlanta. “The hours we spend on projects during Celebration of Service will change lives for many veterans and their families for years to come.”

The Mission

Backed by the Foundation’s five-year, $80 million commitment to ensure military veterans and their families have a safe place to call home, The Home Depot Foundation’s third annual Celebration of Service campaign will mobilize its army of nearly 9,000 Team Depot volunteers to work side-by-side with veterans to complete more than 350 projects.

“Many women veterans find themselves and their families without a safe place to call home after dedicating years bravely serving our country,” said Kelly Caffarelli, president of The Home Depot Foundation. “During our third annual Celebration of Service, our mission is not only to repair and refurbish the homes and facilities where veterans live and receive services, but also to show our appreciation to veterans and their families for their sacrifices.”

We also want your veteran stories. Send photos and/or videos with stories of veterans who are important to you to The Home Depot Foundation by emailing Your submission might be featured on the Foundation’s social media accounts.

Behind the scenes Celebration of Service 2 Behind the scenes Celebration of Service

Store Manager David Cabrera’s Veterans Village Mission!

Wednesday, July 31st, 2013

Through Team Depot, our associate-led volunteer program, The Home Depot Foundation provides opportunities for our associates to contribute their home improvement know-how to make a difference in their communities. Store Manager David Cabrera truly exemplifies The Home Depot’s core value of Giving Back through his volunteer work with Veterans Village in Las Vegas.  Below, check out the blog about his experience.

I believe in giving back to the community and so does my employer, The Home Depot.

The Home Depot Foundation’s involvement with Veterans Village started almost a year ago when we learned more about the organization through a media interview. Part of our mission is to seek out local organizations that could use assistance. We chose Veterans Village!

We contacted Arnold Stalk, the Veterans Village founder, and requested a tour to learn more about the organization. During that visit, we asked if there were ways to help improve the facility. That’s when we really got involved and made plans for renovations.

In October of 2012, more than 300 Home Depot volunteers donated their time to landscape the facility and provide interior updates, exterior painting and a new kitchen. Also, in February of 2013 we went back to announce a $600,000 grant to complete renovations, including a new roof, parking lot, windows, interior flooring and additional landscaping.

We are so happy that the Veterans Village residents and staff are pleased with the changes. We’re willing to work with them for future projects whenever possible.

I encourage everyone to get involved as much as possible. I cannot emphasize enough that we wouldn’t have our rights and freedoms without veterans. That’s why I’m proud of all the help we’ve provided for Veterans Village so far!

-David Cabrera

Store manager and district community captain for The Home Depot store Eastern & 215, South Las Vegas