On any given night in Canada, 6,000 young people in Canada either sleep outside or go to an emergency shelter. Even more are part of a hidden homeless population who ‘couch surf’ with family or friends.
And the Home Depot Canada Foundation is trying to do their part to help. They have created an initiative called the Orange Door Project, which raises money for charities involved in combating the issue of youth poverty and homelessness.
Campbell River’s store has partnered once again with the North Island John Howard Society this year.
“Each store has their own charity that they raise money for, and 100 per cent of the money raised goes to that charity, so all the money raised in our store stays in our local area,” says Campbell River Home Depot Orange Door Project Lead Nicky Williams.
From Sept. 1 through Oct. 9, customers can make a $2 donation when they check out with their purchases, put their name on a little orange paper door that will be hung around the store and know that their money will be going to youth at risk right here in our community.
The money will be used by the John Howard Society to buy “starter kits,” for youth at risk of homelessness. These kits contain things like pots and pans, bedding, and other household items, “just to try and get them settled in more comfortably in their housing situation, whatever that might be,” Williams says.
The goal of the program when it launched three years ago, according to Campbell River Home Depot’s operation manager Darren Hunter, was to raise $10 million nation-wide. So far, the campaign has raised over $9.7 million of that goal, so it’s well within reach.
And the Campbell River store – and more importantly its customers – has done its part to help that total.
Last year, the Campbell River location was the largest fundraiser in their nine-store district, number two in Western Canada and number seven in the country.
“When you look at the big picture, with Campbell River being such a small community relative to the size of the ones most of our stores are in, it goes to show you how great our community is,” Williams says. “Yes, we give them the way to go about doing the giving, but it’s the community itself that steps up to help.”
“We have 182 stores in Canada,” agrees Hunter, “so it really shows you something about this community that a relatively small store like Campbell River’s and the response that the community has given to the initiative and towards youth homelessness through these fundraisers can have that kind of success here.”
For those who wish to donate, but maybe don’t have any reason to go into Home Depot just now, there is also an online method. All online donations $20 and over are eligible for a tax receipt, as well, Williams says, and the money goes to a great cause.
The John Howard Society promotes and fosters safer and healthier communities by providing appropriate programs of rehabilitation, education, prevention, and healing for those who need an opportunity to achieve, maintain, or regain a balance within their communities. They offer a variety of services to families as well as youth who are homeless or at risk of homelessness, youth who have mental health and substance use difficulties, youth in local schools and in care, and youth in conflict with the law. Programs designed specifically for homeless youth in Campbell River include Delaware (a drop-in centre that offers hot meals and support services), Barnett House (a transitional youth housing facility), Youth Outreach, and their Independent Living Program.
“The John Howard Society has been a tremendous partner in this with us, and they do such a good job with what they do in helping the community and the region, so we’re happy to be part of helping them do that helping.”