COMMUNITY HELPING HANDS

RANTIN: A family-style home makeover

brantin@thestate.com (803) 771-8306January 26, 2014 

— A Columbia service agency’s efforts to provide safe living accommodations for single women and their children facing financial strain is getting a hands-on boost from The Home Depot Foundation.

The foundation recently awarded a grant to The Right Direction Community Development Corp. to repair one of the agency’s transitional homes known as Dee’s Haven. And Home Depot volunteers are taking an active role in the upgrades, including interior painting and other improvements. More than 20 Home Depot volunteers started the work last week.

Dee’s Haven provides transitional support for up to four homeless, single women with or without children. The upgrades will allow the home to provide up to six additional beds.

“The ability to partner effectively with other individuals and organizations both inside and outside the community such as The Home Depot Foundation is absolutely essential to doing what we like to call the work of building better communities,” said Gretchen D. Barron, a board member with The Right Direction.

“We don’t just want to provide them with a safe place to live but a place that will provide them with services that address the whole person,” Barron said.

The Dee’s Haven project is one of several community outreach efforts supported by Home Depot each year. In 2013, company volunteers completed more than 1,470 projects across the country.

Care Kits – because they care

Workers from several Columbia area businesses and nonprofits collected hotel-size toiletries during the holidays to help parents deal with the unexpected hospitalization of their children.

The items are being used to create “ Care Kits” to be given to families of children in the pediatric intensive care and pediatric intermediate intensive care units at Palmetto Health Children’s Hospital.

The Care Kits were created by Christy Sears of South Carolina REALTORS, who recognized the need for them after her newborn son spent time in the neonatal intensive care unit in 2011. Since then, her friends, family, and area businesses and nonprofits have joined her efforts and allowed her to donate more than 300 Care Kits.

Participants in the recent drive included Brown and Caldwell, GWA, Inc. Electrical Engineers, UnitedHealthcare, Power Engineering Company, Inc., Carolina Endodontics, Hampton Inn on the Lake, South Carolina High School League, DuBose Web Group, Research Associates, and Columbia Conference Center. The organizations and businesses are all located in the Westpark office park in northwest Columbia.

Help for the holidays

Lexington County Sheriff’s Department deputies joined area businesses, homeowners’ associations and neighborhood watch groups during the holidays to gather 7,951 pounds of nonperishable food items and 960 toys and bicycles during the department’s 2013 holiday food and toy drive.

The donations provided clothes and toys for 163 children and non-perishable food items for 42 families throughout the community in December.

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