Orange Door hol­i­day cam­paign to ben­e­fit youth home­less­ness shel­ter

Home De­pot shop­pers in Ni­a­gara Falls help­ing young peo­ple re­build lives

The Niagara Falls Review - - Local - PAUL FORSYTH

“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 FORSYTH NI­A­GARA THIS WEEK

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.

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