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As we were wrapping up this issue, Applewood Plumbing Heating & Electric, a home services contractor based in Denver, announced its latest quarterly Caring Community Giveaway with a $5,000 donation going to Feeding Denver’s Hungry.
“Feeding Denver’s Hungry are doing important work to ensure food for underserved people in our community,” said Josh Ward, owner and president of Applewood Plumbing & Electric. “We are happy to play a part in alleviating this worry for individuals and families.”
Feeding Denver’s Hungry is a nonprofit working against food insecurity. The organization started providing healthy sack lunches in 2013 and has since continued to provide additional services to combat hunger.
“This means a lot for our organization and the community,” said Jim Scharper, CEO and owner of Feeding Denver’s Hungry. “As a result of this giveaway, we will be able to buy and provide more protein such as chicken and ground beef.”
The recent quarterly giveaway focused on helping feed those in need, and two other organizations, Project Angel Heart and Food for Thought – Denver were also part of Applewood’s charitable effort. The company donated $500 each to help both organizations continue their missions.
Long History Of Giving
Helping these organizations was just the most recent example of Applewood’s commitment to helping its community. The contractor, now in its 50th year of operation, has given more than $250,000 over the past 17 years to local nonprofits through its Caring Community Giveaway.
Last year, the giveaway program helped nonprofits centered on children in need; people with disabilities; and outdoor restoration. For its final quarterly giveaway in 2022, Applewood decided to divide the $5,000 donation evenly among five organizations, including the Colorado Gerontological Society; Denver Children’s Home; Denver Giving Machines; Denver Santa Claus Shop; and Toys for Tots.
When it was originally launched, Applewood’s Caring Community Giveaway provided $1,000 each month to local groups. Known then as the Caring Community 12 in 12 Giveaway, the program provided funds to a range of local organizations, including a youth choir and an organization called the “Grandmas Making Quilts,” which, as the name implies, is a sewing circle that makes quilts for crisis shelters.
However, in 2020 the company revamped the program to a quarterly basis and also picked overall themes for the giveaways.
Applewood’s 190 employees nominate the local organizations. Once the choices are shared on social media, members of the community cast their ballots to choose among the participants via the company’s Facebook page or website. Typically, the Applewood employee who nominated the top vote-getter stops by for a special presentation.
The quarterly program isn’t the only way Applewood helps the Denver community. Earlier this year, for example, Applewood teamed up with Groundwork Denver to get the plumbing at the group’s hydroponic greenhouse in tip-top shape.
Instead of soil, hydroponic farming relies on pumping a water-based, nutrient-rich solution directly over the roots of plants. As result, plumbing is the lifeblood of any hydroponic operation.
Groundwork Denver’s greenhouse started in 2014 to combat urban food deserts by providing healthy and affordable local produce to various Denver communities. The 1,800 square-foot greenhouse produces around 3,000-4,000 pounds of food every year.
The Applewood team replaced a water heater, repaired a hose spigot, installed a double sink and fixed a massive swamp cooler that runs the entire width of the greenhouse.
Other community involvement has included scholarships supporting education in the trades at Red Rocks Community College; support of the Wheat Ridge High School Farmers 5000 as well as the Littleton High School Lions 5k, Denver Dumb Friends League’s Furry Scurry, and sponsorship of many youth sports teams.
Reaching Out Further
While much of Applewood’s charitable activities help out its Colorado neighbors, the company also ventured well outside the city limits in 2022. A special partnership with NIVAS, a local Denver nonprofit, provided 12 families in Nepal with a sanitary bathroom.
“This is our first effort to provide assistance beyond Colorado,” Ward said. “Here we take having a clean, accessible bathroom for granted. In these rural areas of Nepal, many lack such facilities and we can help to change that.”
The program, which provides single-mother families with safe housing and improved living standards, uses local workers to build the bathrooms. Access to such facilities has a dramatic effect on the overall health and safety of the family.
By the way, NIVAS is a Nepalese word meaning “home,” which fits perfectly with the organization’s mission to assist on the many housing needs in Nepal’s rural areas.
“It is exciting for our organization to work with our new trade partners,” said Lindsey Kruger, founder of NIVAS. “In Applewood’s case, they are at a higher level of understanding of what the plumbing side of things mean and they are a company that has family and community connectedness, which is in perfect synchronicity to our program.”
Another interesting Applewood charitable endeavor is its fall Furnace Checks for Charity program. Running in September, Applewood provides a specially priced 14-point HVAC check and payments for these inspections can be made directly to either the Colorado Pet Pantry or Groundwork Denver.
Colorado Pet Pantry provides food to Colorado pets, allowing families to improve the capacity to care for their animal companions with the goal of keeping them out of shelters. In addition to its greenhouse, Groundwork Denver’s mission includes partnering with youth and community to build a healthy, equitable and sustainable environment, with specific programs in energy efficiency.
Furnace Checks for Charity has raised more than $30,000 for local nonprofit partners.