Those who are part of the rental community in Region Nine gave back in a significant way May 11-12 for the latest Community Impact Program, which is a joint effort of the ARA Foundation and The Toro Company Foundation.
This project benefited My Friend’s House, a shelter in Vacaville, Calif., for young adults between the ages of 18 and 24 who have aged out of the foster care system and need transitional housing until they can find a permanent home.
The project involved:
- Renovating the garage — including removing the garage door, framing a new wall and adding a door and window, insulating the walls and ceiling, hanging sheetrock and more — into office space for caseworkers so it frees up a bedroom in the house, allowing the shelter to take in more residents.
- Beautification of the grounds, including removing and replacing rock, laying landscape fabric and adding flower arrangements.
- Replacing the concrete driveway to make it more Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)-friendly.
Special thanks go to the following American Rental Association (ARA) member companies that donated equipment and/or volunteered their time for the project:
- Aaction Rents
- A Tool Shed
- Interstate 80 Forklift
- Expo Party Rentals
- Celebrations! Party Rentals and Tents
- NACH Marketing
In addition, the ARA of California assisted with project coordination, the work and provided lunch for everyone.
“Everything came together for this project — great weather, the right equipment and dedicated volunteers who had a true passion to make a difference. Thanks to everyone’s help, we were able to make a significant impact in the two days we were there,” says Marcy Wright, executive director of the ARA Foundation. “That is the beauty of the Community Impact Program. It offers a true partnership between the ARA Foundation, the Toro Company Foundation and those in the equipment rental community, including our state association chapters. Together we can benefit vital community programs such as My Friend’s House.”
Michelle Strand, president, Interstate 80 Forklift, Vacaville, Calif., who is a board member for both the ARA of California and My Friend’s House, agrees and says she feels “fortunate to be part of two very different organizations that have a common mission: to support and serve.”
As a board member for My Friend’s House, Strand is “very thankful to the ARA Foundation and the Toro Company Foundation for making the Community Impact Program available. Because of them and the efforts from other rental companies, we had the tools, equipment and manpower to provide additional space to serve more young adults and upgrade the appearance of the home for those who are already living there. And, as a board member for the ARA of California, my heart swelled with pride to see our equipment and event rental members join forces and work side-by-side, getting dirty, sweating and moving heavy objects. Among all the hard labor, there also were conversations, laughter and bonds being formed. It was an amazing experience. I am so proud to be part of ARA,” she says.
The event was even covered on the front page of The Reporter, the local newspaper. Click here to read the story.
The Community Impact Program, which kicked off with its inaugural event in Ohio during June 2021, involves both foundations partnering with local nonprofit organizations to coordinate community service projects across the country. The purpose of the program is twofold: to allow those in the rental industry an opportunity to give back to their community as well as build public awareness and demonstrate the advantages of rental.
More projects are planned for this year, with the next one scheduled July 20 in Pittsburgh. All projects involve the collaboration of the two foundations, ARA members, ARA state chapters, and Toro and Ditch Witch representatives in each of the select locations who will source donations and volunteers to work on the projects.