COLERAIN TOWNSHIP, Ohio — The associates at Home Depot are used to dealing with customers who build things. This time, though, it’s the workers themselves who are building something: holiday cheer.
“Home Depot [has] always done the Home Depot events when we go to veterans’ houses and cleaned up, and when COVID hit, that stopped,” said Windy Corman, a 23-year employee of the home improvement company.
Corman didn’t let the pandemic stop her. In fact, it prompted her to switch gears and come up with a way to still serve veterans in her Colerain community by collecting non-perishable food donations and other household products like paper plates, towels and toilet paper.
“With COVID, we didn’t want them to go to the grocery store, trip on ice or slip and fall and get hurt," Corman said. "This was kind of let’s give them everything to keep them out of the grocery store and at their home safe."
Corman got in touch with a member of the Colerain Police Department who put her in touch with Army veteran Chris Green, who was asked to help locate veteran families who could use the extra help.
“I said absolutely, so last year we adopted seven families,” Green said.
This year they’re adopting 10 families as associates have been busy filling the donation box in the employee break room with non-perishable items.
“It’s inspiring to know our associates want to give back to help those in the community who could use a little boost from time to time,” said Barry Thompson, manager of the Colerain Home Depot.
Thompson said the Home Depot Foundation is a big supporter of our nation’s veterans and this action by Corman doesn’t surprise him.
“Since 2011, we’ve donated over $400 million to veterans and their causes," Thompson said. "We’re pretty proud of that as a company."
This campaign, however, is solely a grassroots effort. Corman will gather items through Dec. 20 before evenly distributing the donations and boxing them up for delivery to the 10 families.
“We surprise all of them,” Green said.
Out of the more than 6,000 veterans in Colerain, Green — who’s very active in the veteran community — picked 10 deserving veteran families to receive this year’s boxes of donations. He added the reaction when veterans are surprised by the gift is overwhelming for some.
“It’s unbelievable. I mean some of them just bawl their eyes out,” Green said. “It’s a great feeling to give.”
While this gift is from Home Depot associates to Colerain veterans, anyone can help support the cause. People are encouraged to drop off non-perishable food items or toiletries at the Service Counter at the Joseph Road location of Home Depot in Colerain Township.