With paintbrushes, rakes and screwdrivers in hand, a team of volunteers stirred up some dust at New Directions, a veterans residential facility at the West Los Angeles Veterans Administration Medical Center on Aug. 24. The team was hoping to make the facility feel a little more like home with a little help from Home Depot.
"Home Depot just helps, it doesn't matter what it's for. But, now that it helps vets, that's real important with me," said Anthony Kennedy, a supervisor for the garden department at the store's West Inglewood store. Kennedy is also a retired Marine.
"I am a homeless vet also and a lot of people didn't know that. After serving so many years and coming back from combat, it's hard to transition from combat to civilian life," said Kennedy.
The spruce-up at New Directions served as the kickoff for "Celebration of Service," a campaign teaming the Home Depot Foundation with rock band 3 Doors Down and the nonprofit group The Mission Continues. The goal is to give $1 million per week to veterans causes between Sept. 11 and Veterans Day.
"This property is dedicated to ensuring veterans have safe homes and good medical care," said Kelly Caffarelli, president of the Home Depot Foundation. "And so, it seemed like the perfect venue to come out, spruce up their home here at New Directions and also announce what we'll be doing across the country."
Beginning Sept. 11, 3 Doors Down will donate $1 from every sale of its new album (called Time of My Life) purchased on Home Depot's website.
"We're all from south Mississippi. We grew up right next to a military base. So we have a lot of deep ties in the military, a lot of family members," said Todd Harrell of 3 Doors Down. "It's a lot to be patriotic and we have a lot to be thankful for."
According to the VA there are about 8,000 homeless veterans in LA alone, which accounts for 11 percent of homeless veterans nationwide.
"Obviously, we can't repay what they've given to the country, but hopefully we can do a little bit to give back and recognize their service," said Caffarelli.
Home Depot employs about 35,000 veterans, Caffarelli said. The company has 2,000 to 3,000 employees actively deployed at any given time, she added.
Home Depot has made a three-year commitment to raise $30 million for veterans causes. Some of the money will come from grants, but customers can help as well. From Sept. 11 through Veterans Day, Home Depot will donate 5 percent of each gift card purchased to the veterans initiative.
- To purchase the 3 Doors Down CD to benefit veterans, log on to the Home Depot website beginning Sept. 11.
- To purchase a Home Depot gift card to benefit veterans, log on to the Home Depot website beginning Sept. 11.
- To learn more about the Home Depot Foundation, click here.
- To learn more about the Mission Continues, click here.
- To learn more about New Directions, click here.
- For the 3 Doors Down website, click here.