Fresh Paint, Fresh Outlook
by Jim Boyle
Great River Family Promise’s open house this Sunday will smell of fresh paint and carpeting, thanks to the folks at The Home Depot and Behr Paint.
Forty-five volunteers descended on the future day center for area homeless families — a home owned by Elk River United Methodist Church — this past Saturday to give it a fresh look. These employees from nine home improvement stores and three representatives from Behr Paint were found working in every room of the house.
A representative of Great River Family Promise headed into the home improvement store recently to see about getting help for one room. The Home Depot team saw a much bigger opportunity as Meg Ciccateri talked about the faith-based nonprofit’s mission of providing homeless children and families the opportunity to achieve housing stability by providing short-term emergency shelter, food, case management and hospitality utilizing local resources within congregations and the community.
Store employees initiated a grant application process with an office in Atlanta, Ga. that a percentage of profits go to each year. Ciccateri’s quest for completing one room turned into an $8,000 improvement project that included several improvements in addition to paint (provided for free by Behr Paint) and carpet. Lefebvre’s Carpets in Otsego already provided kitchen flooring.
“This is the perfect project for us,” said Dave Ferrell, a department supervisor for The Home Depot and a co-captain on the project with assistant manager Karen Kapsner.
The Home Depot likes that it’s a project that’s good for the community and it builds community.
Other projects the local home improvement store staff has worked on include a BMX track in Monticello and a boys dormitory at Bar None, a residential treatment facility in St. Francis.
The work puts Great River Family Promise, an effort five years in the making, on track for its open house tomorrow (Sunday, Jan. 20) and the opening of the day center on Super Bowl Sunday.
The open house at the day center is open to the public and will offer a chance to celebrate, as the organization’s leadership and 13 area churches prepare to serve homeless children and their families.
It will be from 2 to 5 p.m. Jan. 20 at 1215 Fourth St. N.W., Elk River. The home is across from the back side of the Elk River Activity Center (formerly the Elk River Library).
The use of the home has been donated by the Elk River United Methodist Church. It was used by quilters during the week and youth on Wednesdays and Sundays.
“It was a facility that was being under utilized,” said Craig Jindra, of the church’s board of trustees. “We’re glad to see it put to good use.”
Volunteers will be needed to fill 2.5-hour shifts at the day center seven days a week, so it can be staffed from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. each day.
Responsibilities will include light office work and assisting the executive director, Jess Hartfiel. Volunteers will also interact with the families who are at the center, but they will not be responsible for any coaching, training or child care.
“We are looking for warm, gracious volunteers who can answer simple questions and provide a listening ear,” a spokesperson stated.
Those who can’t attend the open house but are willing to help or would like more information are asked to call 763-441-9093 or email GR.FamilyPromise@gmail.com.
Open house for Great River Family Promise Day Center:
When: 2 to 5 p.m., Sunday, Jan. 20
Where: 1215 Fourth Street NW, Elk River, Minn. 55330
Where: For more information, call 763-441-9093 or email: GR.FamilyPromise@gmail.com.