America Supports You: Hewlitt Packard Employees to Help Colorado Families
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Nov. 27, 2007 Military families in Colorado whose major breadwinners are deployed to the Middle East are getting help with seasonal yard tasks from an unexpected source.
From raking leaves to hanging Christmas lights, Hewlett Packard Co. employees will pitch and help three military families Nov. 29 through a partnership with the Minnesota-based Project EverGreen Foundation.
"The HP employees are going above and beyond," said Den Gardner, executive director of the foundation, which matches volunteers and lawn or landscaping firms with military families in need of outdoor help. "In addition to helping the families clean up their yards, they are helping hang up Christmas lights and even helping one military family paint the walls inside their house."
The foundation is a supporter of America Supports You, a Defense Department program connecting citizens and corporations with military personnel and their families serving at home and abroad.
The foundation’s “GreenCare for Troops" program was developed in 2006 to provide free lawn and landscape care for families who have a major breadwinner serving in the Middle East. Project EverGreen has signed up more than 1,000 lawn and landscape contractors and volunteers to assist in this effort to help the more than 4,300 military families currently registered with the foundation.
Gardner said the roots of this program go back to the basic mission of his organization. "Quite simply," he explained, "we are working to emphasize the benefits that green spaces provide to our environment, economy and lifestyles. At the same time, we realized that, for many service families, lawn and landscape care can become a burden when there are concerns for the safety of a loved one overseas."
There is no cost or obligation to families who apply to participate in GreenCare for Troops, Gardner said.
"Project EverGreen makes every effort to link families in need with local lawn and landscape firms or community volunteers who have indicated a desire to help," he added.
Gardner said the appreciation expressed by service personnel and their families has been gratifying. "We even had one soldier serving in Iraq ask us to send him a Project EverGreen banner to display -- and we were happy to oblige."
Hewlett Packard employees heard about the need for volunteers in the Colorado Springs area through the Center for Nonprofit Excellence and knew they wanted to pitch in. They contacted Project EverGreen and were matched up with three families in the area, HP officials said.
"We are thrilled to give back," said Tara Agen, Hewlett Packard Imaging and Printing chief of staff. "Lots of our employees volunteer individually, but to do this as a group and really make a difference is very special."
Agen said a lot of the employees involved really wanted to help military families. "I also personally had a sister and brother-in-law who served overseas," she said. "So the decision was an easy one."