This is a sponsored post for The Home Depot Foundation who I love dearly. Every thought, opinion, and experience is all mine.
I recently got the opportunity to go to New Orleans with Team Depot (The Home Depot Foundation). This August will be the 10 year anniversary of Katrina and sadly, there are still so many people who need repairs done on their home and many others who have not even returned to the city. But do you know what I love? They have not been forgotten. Team Depot focuses a lot of its time helping veterans but they also do a lot with disaster relief. They were the FIRST ones on the scene when Katrina hit. Along with Home Depot, there are other organizations that have been there this whole time taking care of those who are battling home insurance companies and struggling to pay for the repairs themselves. They are fixing the homes that survived and rebuilding the ones that didn’t.
Shane was able to come to this event with me. It was his first time going to a service project with Team Depot! He was at another job site and he will tell his experience later this week :) Today I wanted to share what we did at the job site I was at.
There were 5 houses in the same neighborhood that needed repairs. I have broken it down by house….
House #1 is where Mr. Albert, a 77-year-old Air Force veteran, lives. He has lived in his home for more than 50 years. He lived there with his late wife and raised his children here. He stayed in his home during Katrina and watched as the house next door was picked up by the wind and then dropped back down, splitting it in two. His home suffered extensive roof damage that left a large amount of the roof exposed, creating additional interior damage when the rain came. Mr. Albert did his best to make repairs on his own over the years, but most of the damaged areas were not fixed until Home Depot and the nonprofit called Rebuilding Together came to help.
I got a chance to visit with Mr. Albert for quite awhile and I just loved him! He helped out and had the best attitude :)
Rebuilding Together started the repairs in this neighborhood about 4 months ago. A lot of the interior had already been completed when we got there to help and the new roof had been added. Home Depot employees did the finishing touches like tile grout, drywall, adding trim back on the windows and doorways, and paint. We also focused on the exterior by repainting the whole house and adding a new privacy fence.
House #2 belonged to Miss Alicia. Aside from the extensive work done inside prior to us coming, the siding was cleaned, the trim painted, a fence was added in the back, and a new porch was installed and painted.
Everyone from Rebuilding Together just gushed about how amazing Miss Alicia was and even though I only got a chance to say hi, I could tell as she watched with emotion, how grateful she was for the work to be done.
House #3 belonged to Miss Judy. She takes care of her adult son who has disabilities and is in a wheelchair. Her son has many doctor appointments every week. Up until now, she has had to call others to come over and help get her son’s wheelchair down the steps and then maneuver over very uneven (and cracked) sidewalks to the neighbor’s driveway where he could then be loaded into the bus or vehicle.
Aside from making the home more accessible for a wheelchair inside, they built a ramp and painted the trim on the house.
House #4 belongs to Mr. Kent. He purchased his home with his late wife in 1972. He is an Air Force veteran. Luckily his home did not sustain much damage during Katrina, but due to a stroke, Mr. Kent is now wheelchair bound and unable to live in his home for almost 2 years because it is not equipped for a wheelchair.
Doors got widened, a ADA-accessible bathroom was created, a wheelchair ramp was built, and trim painted. I am so excited that he will finally be able to return to his home!
And last but not least, House #5 belongs to Miss Jean. She was the nicest lady and I fell in love with her backyard area. You could tell it was a sanctuary for her. Aside from repairs done inside, the ramp got painted, a new porch installed, the whole house was repainted, and her back porch was fixed up.
Normally at these service projects, the people sporting the orange tee shirts are local Home Depot store employees. At this event, in this neighborhood, the volunteers were Home Depot employees from the marketing department in Atlanta. This event was a fundraiser for Team Depot. Home Depot donates a lot of the money to the foundation but the foundation is also responsible for raising some of the funds. These amazing people paid their own way to be here and raised 1.5 million dollars. They also worked their tails off while they were here in New Orleans.
After hearing that I had been to several of these service projects all over the country, Mr. Albert (house #1) asked me what my favorite event had been. I told him I don’t have a favorite one but that there are two things that are the same at each event that I LOVE. The first one is that the people receiving the service are always so genuinely appreciative. I have seen many tears shed and received many “thank you” hugs. It makes you want to work that much harder when the people appreciate it so much.
The second thing that is always the same is how much the volunteers want to be there. No one made them sign up. There are no incentives for those who do sign up (other than the joy of serving). They CHOOSE to be there. They WANT to be there. And you can tell by the infectious enthusiasm they all have and the smiles on their faces. Service rocks. It not only benefits those who are being served, but those doing the service.
The Home Depot Foundation partners with bloggers such as me to share information on Team Depot projects. As part of this program, I received compensation for my time. They did not tell me what to purchase or what to say in these posts. The Home Depot Foundation believes that consumers and bloggers are free to form their own opinions and share them in their own words. The Home Depot Foundation’s policies align with WOMMA Ethics Code, FTC guidelines and social media engagement recommendations.