|Posted by Anne Siren on January 4, 2013 at 2:15 PM|
This story began with an email from Jennifer Gibson-Castillo, a teacher and partnership volunteer coordinator at Charles Drew Family Resource Center. She wrote, “ Our Center has been blessed with a very generous new partner who deserves to be recognized. Home Depot, at 1151 W. Copans Rd. and its employees are doing wonderful things over here.”
The Pelican contacted Carnel White, store manager at Home Depot, to set up an interview to get the rest of this story. White is a pleasant unassuming young man, dressed in the same Home Depot uniform that his 170 employees wear. Though his store is as busy as a beehive, he willingly took the time to talk about this Home Depot store and its involvement with Charles Drew.
“My employees and I decided to adopt a family in need and give that family a good Christmas, so we researched several places. We learned a little about Charles Drew, visited the school and quickly realized how much this school does for the immediate community. So, instead of adopting one family, we took this wonderful opportunity to help the school and give back to the community ourselves.”
Home Depot donated a decorated Christmas tree to the school, and the employees filled bags with toys, games, books and more until they had enough gifts for 200 children. But that turns out to be just the beginning of what’s in the works for 2013.
White explains. “Since we decided to adopt the school, we’re going to do a big project for the school every three months. Our first project is to redo the entrance landscaping. We hope to plant flowers, add plants, paint the benches and put mulch around the trees. We’re going to use pavers to create an area where teachers can take a break in a pleasant, outdoor setting.”
And every three months, volunteer employees will have a school workshop to teach the youngsters how to complete do-it-yourself projects.”
White was anxious to point out that all of the labor in these projects will be done by employees who are off the clock and working in their own free time.
He says, “Home Depot is very generous to good causes and it embraces the idea of contributing to the community around us. And our employees are all enthusiastic about doing community service. We just completed one home in our area for a veteran and his family. We did landscaping, painting, improved the light fixtures, remodeled the bathrooms, and the deck. Everything was done by 20 to 30 employee volunteers who worked beside me. Each district with a Home Depot store took on its own project of a home for a veteran.”
Asked why they do all of this good work, White responded, “We do it because we feel we should support the community which supports us and our store. We build good relationships and that’s important.”
Home Depot is very responsive to the community and its needs. Any organization or school can stop by the store for help in filling out the application for a grant to complete a needed project.
If approved, Home Depot makes it happen thru’ its Team Depot program which combines company funds and volunteer labor.
Being in charge of 170 employees is a challenge, but White says, “I love what I do so it’s not a hard job. It’s a great job.”
The Pelican salutes this generous company and its volunteer employees for being perfect examples of community support and involvement.