Orange Door holiday campaign to benefit youth homelessness shelter
Home Depot shoppers in Niagara Falls helping young people rebuild lives
“Beef on a bun?” Rosemary Rhodes chirps to people passing by the tool rental area of the Niagara Falls Home Depot store.
It doesn’t take much coaxing: hungry contractors and people stopping by to get some new tools or building supplies caught sight of the slow-cooked beef and before you know it they were dropping donated toonies.
In addition to getting a good deal on the buns, people were also doing their part to help homeless young people in the city rebuild their lives.
As part of the store’s ongoing partnership with the Boys and Girls Club of Niagara, the Niagara Falls Home Depot is supporting the agency’s Nightlite Youth Services shelter in the city as part of the Home Depot Foundation’s national Orange Door holiday fundraising program.
That program, through which shoppers are encouraged to donate toonies, sees 100 per cent of the donations given to charities that support young people by targeting youth homelessness in Canada.
The holiday campaign kicked off Nov. 29 and runs to Dec. 16. Through that program, each store decides which charity to support. The Niagara Falls store’s beneficiary on an ongoing basis is the Boys and Girls Club’s youth shelter.
The Orange Door Project’s goal is $20 million to combat youth homelessness in the country, through supporting housing options, life-skills development programs and investing in research that ensures funding is directed to the most effective solutions to help youth build brighter futures.
Rhodes has been team leader for a number of the local store’s summer and holiday campaigns the last few years. “I’m just trying to help raise money for the kids,” she said in-between serving up hot buns recently.
Alisha Roberts-Charles, events and communications co-ordinator for the Boys and Girls Club, said the support of Home Depot and its customers allows the agency to operate the shelter 24 hours a day, seven days a week, providing homeless men aged 16 to 30 with crucial life stills by building individual case plans for each of them based on their needs.
“The store has had a huge impact,” she said. “If we didn’t have the support we wouldn’t be able to offer the programs.”
Last fall, the shelter received $30,000 through Orange Door donations from the summer campaign, which will go toward improvements such as new windows and possibly a new asphalt driveway.
Staff, volunteers and board members from the Boys and Girls Club will be at the store during peak periods such as weekends during the holiday campaign to answer questions people may have about why the donations are important. Part of that is also about showing staff at the store that the agency truly appreciates the support, said Roberts Charles.
“For whatever help and support they need, we want to be there for them,” she said. “It makes such a difference to us. We want them to know how much it’s impacting us.”
Roberts-Charles said while youth homelessness in Niagara may not be as evident as some bigger cities such as Toronto, it’s a reality here.
Boys and Girls Club development director Brian Bratt was at the store to cheer on the launch of the Orange Door campaign.
“We’re so thrilled with the partnership and the work that Home Depot has done,” he said.
“It’s a perfect fit in terms of what they want to achieve and us being able to meet the needs of the community. It’s certainly made a difference in our community.”
Paul Hayes is happy to make a donation to get beef on a bun from Rosemary Rhodes at the Niagara Falls Home Depot, knowing it will support homeless young men at the Nightlife Youth Services shelter. Boys and Girls Club Niagara’s Alisha Roberts-Charles joins them.