Team Depot volunteers help out at Caring Services

Aug. 08, 2013 @ 02:48 PM

Some 30 Home Depot employees gave up a day off Thursday to honor veterans.
The employees, clad in orange T-shirts identifying them as volunteers for “Team Depot,” completed several work projects at Caring Services, which operates the Veteran Safety Net, a transitional housing program for homeless vets.
“Our company is very focused on the situation with veterans across the country,” explained Don Jebb, who manages Home Depot’s Wendover Avenue store in Greensboro and is in charge of community outreach for his district, which includes the High Point location.
“Veterans are twice as likely to live in poverty, and every night approximately 70,000 veterans are homeless, so our Home Depot Foundation has committed $80 million to address that problem, to be spent over the next three years.”
In conjunction with that mission, the company has kicked off a “Celebration of Service” initiative, in which stores complete volunteer service projects for agencies that serve veterans, or for veterans themselves.
On Thursday at Caring Services, for example, the volunteers — about half of them from the High Point store — finished up a project the team has been working on for about a week, converting the Vet Safety Net’s former food pantry into a social area for veterans staying there and their guests.
“The veterans stay upstairs, but guests are not allowed upstairs,” explained Becky Yates, executive director of Caring Services. “So the only place they could visit would be downstairs in the lobby, which is a pretty busy place, so this will be a great opportunity for them to have a place to relax and visit and fellowship.”
The volunteers also tore down a fence across the back of the property and freshened up some landscaping beds during the daylong project.
“We recently acquired the property that backs up to our property, so we’re tearing down the fence to use that property for program expansion,” Yates said. “We’re going to have a beautiful campus by the time we’re done here.”
Not only did the Home Depot employees give up a day off from work to volunteer at Caring Services, the company also funded the projects.
“Our total budget here was about $7,000 in product,” Jebb said, “and then, of course, the manhours to make it happen.”
Also on Thursday, Caring Services dedicated its new food pantry, which was recently completed with the help of a $25,000 grant from The Cannon Foundation.
“We had a tiny food pantry, and we had so much overflow that we had food items stored in at least three different areas of the building,” Yates said.
“We were able to take over what was formerly a double garage here, and renovate it and supply it with commercial freezers and refrigerators and shelving. We feed over a hundred people a day here, and this has been a tremendous help to us to be able to operate more efficiently.”
jtomlin@hpe.com | 888-3579