May 10 was a red-letter day for Helen’s Hope Chest, thanks to a donation from Valley charity Season for Sharing and 14 volunteers from Keller Williams Realty who participated in the company’s annual RED (Renew, Energize, Donate) Day at the clothing closet for foster children. The workers took a small mountain of laundry to local laundromats and installed plumbing and electrical for a new commercial washer and dryer purchased with the donation.
“This is a wonderful gift for us,” said Emily Strunk, manager of Helen’s Hope Chest, which is a project of Mesa United Way and serves more than 1,000 foster children throughout the south East Valley. “The new washer and dryer will help us keep up with our laundry demand, which is enormous.”
Helen’s Hope Chest depends on donations of new and gently used clothing, as well as books, school supplies and toys. Much of the used clothing must be washed before it is displayed on racks, and the facility has had only one household washer and dryer pair until now. The free-clothing service is intended to help out foster parents, who receive only a small allowance from the state for apparel and supplies.
Keller Williams Associate Leonard Saavedra said about 200 associates from throughout the East Valley took part in the company’s RED Day, and more than 78,000 participated in communities across the country.
“The second Thursday of May, all the offices are closed and associates encouraged to participate in volunteer projects that improve the community,” Saavedra said as he and fellow associate Scott Graff installed a vent for the new dryer.
“It feels good to help out Helen’s Hope Chest because so many kids benefit from this,” he said. “There are a lot of people who need help more than ever during these tough times. This is our way to give back to the community.”
The Keller Williams volunteers also installed an air conditioner and an intercom system at Helen’s Hope Chest before moving on to other tasks for the Save the Family Foundation and The Centers for Habilitation. Lion’s Den Plumbing LLC also donated its services for the washer installation.
• Bob Schuster is a volunteer public information specialist for the Mesa United Way.