photo 2Marine Corporal Sean Terry served the United States honorably from January 2001 to January 2005. Terry did two tours fighting in Iraq, where he was also awarded the Purple Heart for his bravery and service. Terry and his wife, Robyn, have been married for 11 years and have three young daughters. He was diagnosed with Esophagus cancer in September of 2013. Although he fought like only a Marine can, Terry passed away this past April, leaving his wife and three daughters. While he wrestled with cancer, their home fell into disrepair.

Through its Celebration of Service project, The Home Depot® Foundation awarded $15,000 to Volunteers of America Colorado Branch to be used to renovate the photo 3Terry family home. The renovation included a new backyard fence and play area, so the girls can be safe when they play outside, a drop ceiling, new paint, and a basement remodel to be utilized as an additional bedroom. The home was updated on Thursday, July 10 as part of a massive, one-day renovation project.  Volunteers from the Home Depot were ready to offer their expertise to make sure the Terry family had what they needed.
 
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The Home Depot Foundation’s Celebration of Service initiative supports our nation’s veterans who bravely served our country and made great sacrifices to do so. While serving, the skills and leadership qualities they learn make them valuable assets to communities and businesses. However, veterans and their families can also face major challenges, including housing, unemployment or disabilities.

photo 5Celebration of Service is an extension of The Home Depot Foundation’s larger commitment to improving the homes and lives of deserving families through volunteerism. From landscaping at VA hospitals to retrofitting homes for wheelchair-bound veterans, The Home Depot wants to give back to those who served.

Thank you, Home Depot, for all of your hard work on this project and for helping us provide for America’s veterans!

Jordan Kellerman

Communications Specialist

Volunteers of America Colorado Branch

First, I need to thank ARC Thrift Stores. I know this post might be confusing, but hang on; I will get to my point. Each year ARC Thrift organizes a food drive to benefit Volunteers of America called “Feed Colorado.” The process starts in the ARC call center, where employees, either “Jane” or “James,” make calls to people who have registered to donate to ARC. The callers remind the donors of their scheduled pick up and also ask the donors to set out some canned food for the food drive. As the ARC drivers make their rounds through Colorado, they pick up the item donations and the food.

This drive continues through the month of April and each year ARC sets a new, higher goal. One year it was 140 tons of food, then 150, and higher and higher it goes. ARC sorts the food, packs the food, and holds it until the Volunteers of America City Harvest Food Bank is ready to distribute it to those in need.

City Harvest is a small food bank, in the comparative sense. It’s not the behemoth that is Food Bank of the Rockies, but it does supply smaller organizations with emergency food, seniors with weekend food boxes, and thousands of Volunteers of America clients with food boxes to survive. City Harvest is the type of food bank that picks up the prices when things fall apart, always there to step in a fill the gap between paychecks or when times are tough.

City Harvest feeds veterans and their families who are enrolled in our “Back Home” program to stop chronic veteran homelessness. Whenever a veteran and their family are rehoused, one of their first stops is at City Harvest to get a box of food. Food that came to Volunteers of America through the ARC Thrift Feed Colorado drove. We are able to make sure these families are moving into a house with enough to eat until they can afford it on their own; we are able to feed an immigrant family living above a liquor store with nothing to eat; we are able to provide the next meal for a single, elderly lady who cannot afford to grocery shop because she has to pay for her medications.

City Harvest could not exist without the Feed Colorado drive and the donation from ARC. It is a tremendous gift, one that we can never repay, and one that is very special to us. Working with ARC Thrift is much more than working with a community partner or business. We are happily working together to help our community and this drive speaks volumes for working together to accomplish more.

“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.” – Helen Keller

 

-Jordan Kellerman

Communications Specialist

Volunteers of America Colorado Branch

http://ow.ly/i/5zpWt The Denver Action Team is holding a spring carnival this Saturday at the Volunteers of America Bannock Youth Center! Colorado Rockie, LaTroy Hawkins, will be joining them to make sure the youth have a great time, a great lunch and win lots of prizes!

Good News! For the past year, VOA has been working on a capital campaign to build a new Early Childhood Education Center in West Denver. The new building would allow us to double our pre-school classes for children ages 3 and 4, and provide the community with space for gatherings, cooking classes and other activities to keep families active and having fun together. Next month, we will be breaking ground on the new facility!!! We are very excited for this opportunity and thank our special donors who have made this dream a reality.

Did you see this in last week’s Denver Post? Our treat for Mother’s Day, Volunteers of America teamed with Metro Taxi and the Tavern Uptown to treat 75 low-income elderly ladies to a high tea. http://bit.ly/1iLqaRk

On Monday, December 23, Volunteers of America Colorado Branch handed out 2,000 Christmas baskets to those in need. Children were surprised by a visit from Santa, and were able to pick out books and a pair of Crocs. Thank you to Food Bank of the Rockies, Crocs and Safeway for making this possible.

The holidays to me mean a time to celebrate with family and share the love for one another in a special way.  The holidays also means a very busy time, as getting together with all the family and friends is a whirlwind, especially when you add in children into the mix.  It is so important to celebrate and share with as many people as possible and I have the wonderful opportunity to do that personally and professionally.

In my professional career, I have chosen a path that lends a hand to those that are most vulnerable in the community.  One of my favorite events, not because it is easy to organize, but because it gives a little holiday cheer to seniors in the community, is Basket of Joy.  This year is the 26th year of the event and my 4th year of being very involved in the event.  For the past 26 years, every year, more than 5,000 seniors in the community receive a basket of fruit and candy that is delivered by over 1,000 volunteers.  This event is done in one day, meaning for 24 hours straight work is being done to put a smile on a seniors face for the holidays.  There are so many seniors in the community that are homebound and have no family in their lives for one reason or another. Volunteers of America partners with so many wonderful folks in the community to make this event happen and for the love that surrounds the holidays to be shared with a senior.

This year, like every year, we partnered with The Denver Post, Albertsons and Denver Mattress. A new “partner” this year is Trans-Siberian Orchestra. This group has generously offered a portion of their sales of Denver concerts to Basket of Joy! You can help by purchasing a ticket and bringing your family to enjoy their amazing performance of “The Lost Christmas Eve.”

Another way you can help is to volunteer. My invitation to you is to come and see the magnitude and reach of the Basket of Joy for 2013. It is going to be the best one yet!  Come bring a smile to a seniors face for the holiday season. Sign up at www.voacolorado.org

- Amanda Gregg, Manager, Volunteer Services

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