Community Service Award for continued support in Grundy County

What started with a one day activity, purchasing and unloading an impressive amount of food for the We Care organization in Grundy County, has led to continued support by our volunteering colleagues from Surface Chemistry in Morris, Illinois. The involvement was recognized by the Grundy County Chamber of Commerce and Industry by awarding the site with the ‘Community Service Award’ in 2011.

We Care is a local nonprofit agency that provides emergency financial assistance in the form of rent or utility bill payments, as well as prescription medications for area residents in need. The organization provides food over 5,000 times to families throughout the county. It has been serving the area since 1977 and the employees at the Morris site felt that as a good neighbor they could provide some assistance when they were in need.

A team of volunteers, including their families, spent several days late in 2010 rehabbing a storage room at the We Care food pantry. The facility also wanted to be able to provide a computer room to the public so that unemployed residents could search for jobs or obtain skills necessary to reenter the workforce. However, space had become limited and the area that could serve as a computer room had become another storage area. The main storage room that the facility used for supplies was unfinished and was not being properly utilized. With support from the Community Program the required materials could be purchased and our colleagues from Decorative Paints generously made the paint and painting supplies available for free.

The team hung drywall, lights, a new door, and a drop ceiling, built a ramp leading into the room, framed out windows, painted floors and walls, built and installed industrial shelving units, and even hung blinds throughout We Care's facility. The project expanded when it was found to have several electrical, plumbing and fire protection issues that needed to be corrected. The Community Program allowed the team to bring in contractors to assess the situation and bring the facility up to proper building codes to maintain the safety of the facility. The result is that We Care now has a proper storage room and the public has access to a computer room.

‘We are incredibly grateful for the extraordinary donation from AkzoNobel and their employees. This type of project is one that often goes unnoticed by the public, but our employees and volunteers are so happy to have a room that is pleasant to enter, has lighting for safety and ease of access’, Denise Gaska of We Care said. ‘The new ramp also makes it easier for carts to access to the room, and alleviated a tripping hazard. This is one of those times that 'Thank You' just doesn't seem enough’.

Apparently the Grundy County Chamber of Commerce and Industry, who had also heard about the efforts of our volunteering colleagues, shared this view and awarded the Surface Chemistry site in Morris with the prestigious ‘Community Service Award’. The reasoning for this recognition was as follows:

‘The nominations received complimented you on the economic impact your company has made to the area as well as the philanthropic commitment that resonates through the company. Your commitment to the well-being of the community shows through the investments you make in your facilities, your employees and your surroundings.’

Congratulations to our colleagues in Morris!