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.”
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.
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.”
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.”
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 HDVets@homedepot.com Your submission might be featured on the Foundation’s social media accounts.
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!
Store manager and district community captain for The Home Depot store Eastern & 215, South Las Vegas
In May of this year, retailers from across the country participated in the 2013 National Retail Federation’s (NRF) 2013 Global Supply Chain Summit. Home Depot’s Charles Johnston, director of the repair and liquidation center, joined Good360 Vice President of donor Relations Doyle Delph to highlight the Framing Hope Program and make the case for donating unused goods to nonprofits in local communities.
Jennifer Overstreet recently featured the discussion on the NRF blog. Check it out here.
For more information on the Framing Hope Program, visit our website.
The Home Depot is a values-based business. Our founders established these values more than 30 years ago, and we still live by them daily. Through The Home Depot Foundation and The Homer Fund, we work to fulfill two of our core values: giving back to local communities and taking care of our associates.
We are proud of what our volunteers, community partners and associates accomplish together by giving back and taking care of each other. Check out the latest quarterly Values Update to catch up with some of the highlights of what we’ve been doing over the last few months, and if you’re interested in more information, visit our websites at www.HomeDepotFoundation.org and www.THDHomerFund.org.
Guest Blog: Ed Breitweiser, Navy Veteran and Repair Corps Grant Recipient
I am one of the veterans whose house and life have been greatly improved by Habitat for Humanity and The Home Depot Foundation. I can hardly find the words to express how grateful I am that a Habitat Repair Corps team, including Team Depot volunteers, came to the home my wife and I have lived in for 23 years in Lake in the Hills, Illinois, and fixed problems that helped us feel better and save money at the same time.
I’m almost 70, with COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease). My wife and I depend on my Social Security check as income; and after paying bills I have not had the money to keep up with the routine maintenance as I wanted to do.
When the nine-member team of volunteers came to the house, I thought they were responding to my request to repair a leak in the bathroom wall. They tore out that wall, fixed the leak, replaced the worn-out tiles and built a surround – making the bathroom look beautiful. But much to my delight, they took a look around the house and decided to do so much more.
For starters, they insulated the attic and the ceiling over the garage so that the room above it could hold heat. That room used to be so cold; it’s warm as toast now. With those steps, my monthly energy bills went down by $50 or $60 dollars in the winter. That’s a very significant savings for me.
Next, they noticed that my roof was deteriorating and my gutters were so bad, water just laid in them. I live in a raised ranch house, and I am on oxygen 24-7, so I’m in no condition to get up on the ladder. The team replaced the roof and gutters. Without the work Habitat and The Home Depot took on, my roof and gutters would have caused me serious problems.
Finally, the team cleaned and repaired the concrete steps outside, greatly improving the look and safety of the entrance to our home.
So many veterans are better off because of the grants The Home Depot Foundation gives to Habitat for Humanity to help veterans. My wife Jeanie and I are just overwhelmed with happiness and gratitude.
- Navy veteran Ed Breitweiser
In 2012, Habitat for Humanity International and The Home Depot Foundation® announced the national expansion of the Repair Corps Program, a joint initiative to remodel and renovate homes across the country for U.S. military veterans and their families. With $2.7 million in funding from The Home Depot Foundation and volunteer assistance from Team Depot, The Home Depot’s associate-led volunteer force, Habitat’s expanded Repair Corps Program is repairing the homes of more than 180 veterans and their families.
During the opening ceremony of the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans (NCHV) conference last week in Washington, D.C., Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki ,referencing the decline in veterans homeless by nearly one-fifth in five years, said, “ We have made a difference…we know we can do this. In a couple of years, we’ll be able to look back and say that we took every homeless veteran off the street.”
We couldn’t agree more with his sentiments, but we know that there is still plenty of work left to do to meet the White House and VA’s goal of ending veterans’ homelessness throughout the country by the end of 2015.
We also know that veteran homelessness cannot be solved by one entity – it takes all of us working collaboratively to find viable solutions to house our heroes and protect them the way they selflessly have protected us.
That’s why the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans is so important. After just one week with NCHV member organizations, we are even more encouraged that together we can meet these ambitious goals. The dedication, collaboration and accomplishments we’ve seen by these organizations in the veterans’ housing sector are remarkable and we are proud to be a part of the effort.
We thank all of our partners for their ongoing work and commitment. Together we will work to ensure every veteran has a safe place to call home.
We are saddened by the devastation over the last few weeks. In response to the needs after the recent tornadoes in Oklahoma and throughout the Southwest United States, the Foundation is creating a $1 million fund for the relief and recovery efforts.
We’re beginning our efforts by providing the following financial support and donation of supplies:
- Team Rubicon – The Foundation continued its partnership with Team Rubicon, the disaster relief organization that unites the skills and experiences of military veterans with medical professionals to rapidly deploy emergency response teams into crisis situations. The Foundation is donating $100,000 to Team Rubicon for clean-up and rebuilding efforts in the affected area.
- American Red Cross – $250,000 for immediate disaster relief supplies and activities. This donation is in addition to the Foundation’s annual gift of $500,000 to the Red Cross’ disaster giving program, bringing the company’s total 2013 commitment to $750,000.
- Operation Homefront – $60,000 to assist with relief efforts for veterans living near Tinker Air Force Base
- Operation Blessing – $100,000 to sustain the disaster response efforts for their first responders, clean-up and long term recovery.
- Convoy of Hope – $100,000 to continue their volunteer-driven clean-up response and long term efforts.
- Store donations to local nonprofit and government organizations, including the Red Cross, Cleveland County Sheriff’s Office, Del City Fire Department, Bethany Fire Department, Moore Police Department, Moore Fire Department
- The Homer Fund, a charity for The Home Depot associates in need of emergency financial assistance, has begun helping associates and their families affected by these storms.
On May 28, more than 250 Home Depot volunteers from Moore, OK, Dallas, TX, Fort Worth, TX, and Tulsa, OK joined Operation Blessing and Team Rubicon to assist with disaster relief efforts in response to the tornado that devastated Moore on May 20. Volunteers spent the day cleaning up, sorting and moving debris for residents that were impacted.
We will continually update this list as the relief and recovery efforts continue.
Click here to learn more about our $1 million commitment to tornado relief and recovery effort.
After two years, Aprons in Action is coming to an end – but it’s not over yet and you can help! Launched in Spring 2011, Aprons in Action, our monthly Facebook voting program, has provided the public with the opportunity to help the Foundation distribute more than $2 million to 88 local nonprofit organizations.
Since its launch, the Aprons in Action program has been a successful and fun component of our giving programs. By activating our social network of support, Aprons in Action has provided us the opportunity to not only invest in our nonprofit partners, but also highlight the great work that our associates do in communities across the country.
As part of the program, each month, four nonprofits compete for votes on Facebook to win a $25,000 Home Depot gift card to complete a renovation project with their Team Depot partners. In true Home Depot spirit, no organization goes home empty handed. The three runners up win a $5,000 Home Depot gift card. Each year culminates with a grand prize competition where the 11 monthly winners compete for a total of $500,000 ($250,000, $150,000 and $100,000 respectively.)
We’re excited to be half way through our second and final grand prize competition. Right now, the following organizations and partner stores are competing for the grand prize:
- Volunteers of America Greater Ohio & Store #6954 (Columbus, OH)
- Stiggy’s Dogs & Store #2751 (Howell, MI)
- AMVETS Post 44 & Store #3805 (Struthers, OH)
- Michigan Veterans Foundation & Store #2718 (Detroit, MI)
- Low Income Housing Institute & Store #4703 (Seattle, WA)
- VFW Post 2777 & District #244 (Burton, MI)
- The 313 Project & Districts #033, #194, #218, #243, and #245 & (Detroit, MI)
- Grand Rapids Home for Veterans & District #275 (Grand Rapids, MI)
- Active Heroes & Stores #2305, #2301, #2313, #2002, #2307, #2016, #2302, #2316, #2021 (Louisville, KY)
- Saratoga County RPC – VETHELP & District #16 (Ballston Spa, NY)
“During Aprons in Action, we have the privilege of working with veterans organizations to elevate awareness of the work they do and award them with funds to continue their efforts,” said Kelly Caffarelli, president of The Home Depot Foundation. “When the May contest finale concludes, The Home Depot Foundation will complete its goal of donating $2 million to 88 deserving nonprofits to help them continue their service to support our country’s veterans.”
To learn more about this year’s competing nonprofits and vote for the FINAL grand prize winner of Aprons in Action, log on to apps.facebook.com/apronsinaction!
The Spring season is a busy one for us at The Home Depot Foundation. Not only is Team Depot Springing into Service by providing spring updates and renovations for veterans and their families, but our vendor partners have also joined us for the first three annual Community Building Invitationals.
The Community Building Invitationals, our annual fundraisers, are always a sight to be seen. Hundreds of orange blooded vendors join with us to donate their time and talent to help our nonprofit partners.
On April 24, in partnership with Volunteers of America, the nearly 200 person orange army assembled at the American Legion Post 29 in Miami, FL ready to complete a large exterior and interior renovation and garden project. In just one day, volunteers landscaped the front and back of the building, painted the front of the building, renovated the entryway, re-floored the auditorium, repaved the parking lot and built a new gazebo in the rear of the facility.
American Legion members not only enjoyed working with us, they were extremely grateful for the work being done. One veteran told a volunteer, “I have not felt this appreciated since I came home from the Vietnam War. Thank you for caring for our veterans.”
We are continually inspired by the generosity of our vendor partners and associates. Their numerous contributions are essential to our ability to accomplish our mission to ensure that every veteran has a safe place to call home.
“It’s truly inspiring to see the commitment and care our associates and vendor volunteer show our veterans and partner organizations,” said Heather Pritchard, National Grants Manager. “The work they complete in just one day creates a lifetime of impact those who have served us all.”
For more information on The Home Depot Foundation’s commitment to veterans, click here.