Volunteers pitch in to help women’s shelter | SLIDESHOW
July 25, 2012 · 10:05 AM
EVERETT — The Everett Gospel Mission Women and Children’s Shelter received some helping hands from the employees of the Smokey Point branch of Lowe’s, along with fellow volunteers from six other Lowe’s stores on Thursday, July 19.
Five to six employees from each of the seven Lowe’s stores lent their sweat and expertise, in addition to their appliances, to the cause of refurbishing four of the kitchens at the shelter.
Mike Mogollon, human resources manager for the Smokey Point Lowe’s store, explained that the shelter’s kitchen makeovers were part of the Lowe’s Heroes program.
“We’ve done projects for an elementary school in Skagit and a food bank in Mount Vernon,” Mogollon said. “We support the communities we live and work in.”
Mogollon explained that Lowe’s Heroes projects are chosen by votes of store employees based on their impact in the community.
“This has as much impact as anything beside the school that we’ve worked on,” Mogollon said.
Everett Gospel Mission CEO Sylvia Anderson noted that the Women and Children’s Shelter currently accommodates 69 residents, 20 of them children. Bellevue Lowe’s Human Resources Manager Jim Wilde estimated that the dollar value of the appliances and materials given to the shelter totals $20,000 in refrigerators, microwave ovens, gas ranges, dishwashers, sinks, cabinet doors, fresh coats of paint and hanging flower baskets.
Smokey Point Lowe’s delivery driver Michael Gonzales has also fixed up YMCAs and nursing homes through the Lowe’s Heroes program, and considers it a cinch to install appliances for other people by now.
“It’s not much of a challenge,” Gonzales said. “I’ve always loved helping out others.”
Smokey Point Lowe’s cashier Ali Ware volunteered for her first Lowe’s Heroes project with the Everett Gospel Mission Women and Children’s Shelter, and described it as an exhilarating rush.
“We’re trying to get so much done in just a few hours,” said Ware, in the midst of working on sinks and cabinets in the shelter’s kitchens. “Fortunately, when you’re working as part of a really big group, it goes kind of fast. I’ll be excited and relieved to get this all done.”
Dan Stivala, another delivery driver for the Smokey Point Lowe’s, stuck to his specialty by transporting and rolling out appliances from his truck. It was his first Lowe’s Heroes project, but far from his first stint as a volunteer.
“Doing this for a day is like taking a break from work,” said Stivala, a retired veteran who served as a chaplain’s assistant in the military. “It’s good to get engaged in the community. I wish these ladies all the best.”
Annette Cooper is one of those “ladies,” and for her, the feeling is mutual, as she expressed her gratitude to the Lowe’s volunteers for pitching in on behalf of the shelter that has given her a second chance.
“I’ve been fortunate to find people who will help me on a path forward, not backward,” said Cooper, who’s used the contacts she’s made through the shelter to enroll in grief counseling to help her deal with the deaths of loved ones, as well as in classes to obtain her GED, with an eye toward pursuing college classes down the line. “If it wasn’t for this place, I’d probably be sleeping in a park somewhere. I have a daughter who’s 34, and she’s got a beautiful life, but I shouldn’t be depending on her to bail me out. As her mom, I should be pulling myself up. I can’t thank these people enough.”