“It’s a room in our building that gets a lot of multipurpose use. This redo will make our job much easier,” said Tamara Cooper, program director at the Rock City Road office of Family of Woodstock. She was expressing her gratitude toward Lowe’s, the home improvement store in Kingston, which had donated building materials, while a team of Lowe’s employees had donated their time to renovate a room at the social services organization.
The work was part of the Lowe’s Heroes program, in which the staff of each Lowe’s outlet selects one non-profit organization a year as the beneficiary of the company’s largesse. “As a team we vote on what project we’ll go into,” explained store manager Mike Sprague. “Someone who is out there helping the community, and in need. That room they’re working out of was clearly in need of reorganization. We stripped out the room, put in cabinets, separated the room — half is where they check in people and talk to them, and the other half for feeding people who haven’t eaten in a while, who come in looking for a hot meal.”
Cooper credited Lowe’s employee Joe Muldoon with pushing for Family as this year’s project. “Joe has done work for us in the past,” she said, “and he noticed that room could really use some renovation. He’s local to Woodstock, and he was hoping Lowe’s would choose a project in this area, so he advocated for us.”
Muldoon and Cooper had discussed the uses of the room, and he had ideas for a layout that would meet Family’s needs. “We just let Joe go with it,” said Cooper. “We had really tacky-looking, badly painted open shelving. Now we have these crisp, white cabinets and two-sided counter space, a new sink.”
Lowe’s also donated a storage shed to be set up outside the building. A second shed is too big for the yard, so it will be sent to Family’s homeless shelter in Kingston. “They often have people moving out of shelter into homes and apartments,” said Cooper. “They’ll be able to store things that they’ll use to furnish their homes.”
The seven-person crew completed the work in two days. “Just in the period of time we were there, you could tell how many people they serve in a day,” noted Sprague. “They put up a sign saying they were closed for renovation, but we saw people coming up to the door.”
“We’re very grateful,” said Cooper. “I like corporations that work in partnership with non-profits. Budgets are so tight, and we prioritize people’s needs over infrastructure changes, so when we can partner with a corporation, it’s a win-win.”