CLAREMONT — A trip to Home Depot for interior paint evolved into a community project to renovate the Senior Center’s newly renovated dining hall and kitchen, with the help of the Home Depot in Claremont, local businesses and volunteers, said Tom Liveston, project coordinator at the Claremont Senior Center.
At a ribbon cutting ceremony yesterday to recognize project participants, Liveston said that the project grew from a conversation between former center-member Rachel Chastenay and Home Depot Store Manager Travis Rand, who told Chastenay about Team Depot, Home Depot’s veteran assistance program that provides community-impact grants and volunteers to repair and maintain homes.
“Our members include over 50 confirmed veterans,” Liveston said. “Five of those are World War II veterans and five are women. In fact, two of our World War II veterans were women.”
Established in 1990, the Claremont Senior Center is a nonprofit social club for senior citizens living independently in Claremont. The center receives no public funds, operating through funds derived from its membership fees. The center currently has approximately 300 registered members, though Liveston said that a number of those are inactive.
“The floors were in bad shape,” said Liveston, who remembered feeling shocked when Rand and Home Depot Assistant Manager Megan Cobb listed all the additional projects they wanted to complete.
Over three days in July — full days, with volunteers working from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. — between 40 to 45 community volunteers repainted the hall; replaced its light fixtures and ceiling tiles; repolished the floor; replaced the kitchen tiling; and installed a new propane boiler. Liveston said that the boiler and new lighting will save the center considerably on its energy bills.
Through its grant, Home Depot provided the center with $19,000 in project materials.
In addition to Home Depot and center volunteers, Liveston recognized DeCamp Trucking, in Claremont, for donating dumpsters for loading debris; GPS Plumbing; Eastern Propane for installing the hot water heater; and certified electrician Leon Hobbs, of Claremont, who donated his time to oversee the electrical work. National flooring company American Carpet contributed to the retiling.
Many of the center’s senior citizens volunteered their time as well, Liveston said.
“Many of them were in their 80s and 90s,” Liveston said. “But many of them came from professional trades and were able to teach some new techniques to the Home Depot volunteers.”
“This was an overall great community event,” Rand said. “So many great organizations and people got involved, including the senior citizens and veterans who utilize this facility.”
Some senior citizens volunteered their time by preparing meals and snacks for the workers, Liveston said.
“We have a great kitchen program,” Liveston said. “We also hold catering and host small receptions, like funeral receptions, breakfasts or birthday parties.”
About 30 guests attended the ribbon-cutting ceremony, including Claremont Mayor Charlene Lovett, school district Superintendent Michael Tempesta and members of the city Chamber of Commerce, who helped organize the ceremony.
Rand said that Home Depot plans to work on future projects with the senior center through Team Depot.