Compassion and generosity
Pictured (left to right): Bruce Stern, customer order specialist, Home Depot Bay Shore; Robert Ciatto, chief operating officer, ACLD; Jayson Drucker, specialty sales assistant store manger, Home Depot Bay Shore; and Craig Boorum, customer order specialist, Home Depot Bay Shore.

Photo provided by ACLD

Compassion and generosity

Story By: RICK CHALIFOUX
9/7/2017


SUFFOLK COUNTY—It all began Monday, Aug. 28, when a group of volunteers from The Home Depot’s Bay Shore location joined together at a Sayville group home for special needs individuals to conduct $22,000 worth of renovation work completely free of charge. The funding, time, and labor being conducted by the alliance of volunteers named “Team Depot” (a branch of The Home Depot Foundation) was funded entirely by donated materials and gift cards for the purchase of the appliances.

The volunteers commenced their three-week facelift program (ending on Tuesday, Sept. 12) with the demolition of the home’s kitchen cabinets and countertops. Other projects include re-facing the cabinets, installing new appliances, hardware, a new sink, a new Silestone countertop and the placement of new carpeting in the living room.

The Sayville home receiving the updates and improvements is part of the Group Residential Program within Adults and Children with Learning and Developmental Disabilities Inc. (ACLD). The six special needs residents inside the home all helped select the materials together.

“It’s fulfilling for all of our associates to be out in the community and making a difference,” said Christina Cornell, public relations specialist for The Home Depot Foundation. “ACLD is an organization that is committed to assisting people with disabilities to live happy and productive lives. Spending time and working hard to help others is the least that we can do. What is most important is that our volunteer efforts, grant dollars and donated materials will make a real impact on the people who live here.” 

Both ACLD and The Home Depot have a long-standing, mutually productive relationship. The Home Depot has supported ACLD’s vocational program by providing work opportunities for dozens of individuals for some time. This program continues to provide those with learning and developmental disabilities the chance to contribute and live productive lives.

“We applaud Home Depot’s dedication and long-term commitment of employing individuals with disabilities, as many individuals supported by ACLD are employed in several Home Depot stores across Long Island,” said Robert C. Goldsmith, executive director of ACLD.

The impetus behind the charitable effort came to fruition when Jan DiGeronimo – volunteer coordinator, development and community relations for ACLD – reached out to Christopher Holter, store manager of Home Depot Bay Shore. Holter was the first to visit the Sayville house back in January of 2017 and immediately made the decision to get Home Depot involved on the home renovation. From there, he joined forces with Team Depot volunteer Jayson Drucker. The two were instrumental in getting everyone on board and organizing the project’s schedule.

“Home Depot is a corporate partner that appreciates and understands the services we provide as a nonprofit agency,” said Goldsmith. “Their employees recognize the value of supporting individuals with disabilities in their community and we are so grateful to the Team Depot volunteers donating their time to make this a reality for our residents.”

Following completion of the project, Team Depot volunteers will host a special “reveal ceremony.” At the special event, residents, family and ACLD staff will have the first chance to see the completed project and host an ensuing celebration party.

Through Team Depot, thousands of associates are afforded an outlet to dedicate their time and talents to these efforts in the communities where they live and work. Since 2011, The Home Depot Foundation has invested more than $198 million in veteran causes, and along with the help of Team Depot volunteers, has transformed more than 33,000 homes and facilities for veterans. To learn more and see Team Depot in action, visit www.homedepot.com/teamdepot.

Founded in 1957, ACLD is a 501(c)3 nonprofit agency. Celebrating its 60th anniversary in 2017, the organization continues to provide opportunities for children and adults with autism as well as  learning and other developmental disabilities, so that they can live their lives to the fullest, increase independence, and foster supportive relationships within their respective community. Across Nassau and Suffolk counties, ACLD employs more than 1,300 people and operates 80 different program sites, including group homes and apartment programs. Examples include early childhood services, day habilitation, residential alternatives, vocational training and job placement, recreation programs, respite, family support services, Medicaid service coordination, and medical and behavioral health services. For more information, visit www.acld.org.