Lowe’s gives women’s shelter kitchens a makeover

The truck rolled in and the crew got busy. Workers hauled out double-door refrigerators, Frigidaire dishwashers, Samsung microwave ovens, new gas ranges, Bunn coffee makers, Moen faucets, even flower baskets bursting with blooms.

In Everett’s Lowell neighborhood Thursday, it looked as if Lowe’s had a job putting finishing touches on new condos. It was a Lowe’s truck loaded with new appliances, and all the workers came from Lowe’s stores.

It wasn’t a job, though. It was a gift. The site wasn’t a condo complex, it was the Everett Gospel Mission Women and Children’s Shelter.

Through the Lowe’s Heroes program, it was makeover time for four big kitchens at the shelter.

“Oh my, what a great gift for us,” said Sylvia Anderson, CEO of the Everett Gospel Mission. Anderson said there are now 69 residents at the shelter, 20 of them children. Years ago, the complex housed patients with Alzheimer’s disease.

“Through our Heroes program, we do projects for communities in which our stores are located,” said Jim Wilde, a Lowe’s human resources manager. Each store is allocated a certain amount of money for a project, he said.

“This year, with the need at the Everett women’s shelter so great, I recruited seven stores. Together, they were able to provide all new appliances, paint the kitchens, redo cabinets and put up hanging baskets,” he said.

About 45 Lowe’s employees volunteered Thursday. Some painted or refinished cabinets. Others installed sink fixtures. At noon, they shared a barbecue lunch with residents.

Workers came from stores all over the region, from Smokey Point to Tukwila. For 10 years, Lowe’s Heroes program has helped nonprofit groups and public schools all over the country. More than 1,300 projects have been done, and about $1.3 million in merchandise donated.

The value of appliances and materials given to the shelter Thursday is about $20,000, Wilde said.

“Isn’t that phenomenal?” said Brian Fredrickson, the Everett Gospel Mission’s director of development. Fredrickson said one unit was recently renovated, but the kitchens worked on Thursday needed sprucing up.

Jewel Stuart, 58, said she owes her life to help she found at the shelter. She has lived there since May.

A soft-spoken woman, Stuart said a relationship that brought her to Washington last year turned abusive, and she had to leave. She landed on the streets in Everett after earlier hard times in Illinois. There, she said, she was mugged and hit on the head.

In Everett, she turned to a church. People there helped her find the shelter. Now in counseling, Stuart has been accepted into the shelter’s 18-month transitional program. “I had lost all confidence,” she said. “Slowly, day by day, it’s been built up. If I had not found this place, I might be dead.”

Lowe’s volunteers put their hearts into Thursday’s tasks. “I have been in a situation where I was close to being homeless. It really can happen to anybody,” said Cheryl Toro, a manager at the Bellevue Lowe’s. Toro said she helped on a Lowe’s Heroes project in the South after Hurricane Katrina.

McKenna Wilde, 21, doesn’t work at Lowe’s, but wore a red Heroes T-shirt while scrubbing kitchen walls Thursday. The daughter of Jim Wilde, she has hosted dinners for shelter residents. “I’ve done mission trips around the world. When I’m home, I like to help in the community where I grew up,” she said.

Lowe’s volunteers weren’t the only ones helping the mission this week. On Wednesday, workers from a 787 team at Everett’s Boeing plant put on a barbecue at the Everett Gospel Mission Men’s Shelter.

“It was one of the things on my bucket list,” said Joe Laughlin, the team leader. “I brought it up at one of my morning meetings and everybody wanted to help.”

Laughlin, 52, has a horse trailer converted for tailgate parties. He and nearly 20 co-workers collected about $850 for the meal of hot dogs, hamburgers, chips, bottled water and cookies. They spent $500 on food, and planned to donate the rest to the mission.

His route home from work every night takes Laughlin past the men’s shelter. “My heart drops seeing all those people,” he said.

At the women’s shelter Thursday, Stuart voiced the gratitude other residents were feeling.

“It’s a blessing, these people coming,” she said.

Julie Muhlstein: 425-339-3460, muhlstein@heraldnet.com.

More in Local News

Young woman missing from Mukilteo found safe

She called her parents and told them she was at a museum in Seattle.

Mom and brother turn in suspect in Stanwood robberies

The man is suspected of robbing the same gas station twice, and apologizing to the clerk afterward.

Edmonds police are searching for Derrick “Wiz” Crawford, 22, in the homicide of his roommate. If you see him, call 911. (Edmonds Police Department)
Roommate suspected in Edmonds killing found hiding in closet

Police had been searching for him for 10 days before locating him at a house in Everett.

Video shows man suspected of attacking a woman in Edmonds

The man allegedly threw her on the ground, then ran away after the she began kicking and screaming.

Navy to put filter in Coupeville’s contaminated water system

Chemicals from firefighting foam was found in the town’s drinking water.

Officials to test sanity of suspect in Everett crime spree

He allegedly tried to rob and clobber a transit worker, then fled and struggled with police.

Katharine Graham, then CEO and chairwoman of the board of The Washington Post Co., looks over a copy of The Daily Herald with Larry Hanson, then The Herald’s publisher, during her visit to Everett on Sept. 20, 1984. The Washington Post Co. owned The Herald from 1978 until 2013. (Herald archives)
Everett’s brush with Katharine Graham, leader of ‘The Post’

Retired Herald publisher Larry Hanson recalls The Washington Post publisher’s visits.

Former Monroe cop loses appeal on sex crimes conviction

Once a highly respected officer, he was found guilty of secretly videotaping his kids’ babysitter.

Train kills man who was trying to get off tracks in Monroe

The conductor said he attempted to stop after sighting the man, who’d been lying on the rails.

Most Read