KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- A local business closed its doors for the day on Thursday so employees could go out and volunteer at metro charities.
”Today is our sixth annual volunteer day,," said Amy Hoppenrath, the marketing director for MarksNelson. "It’s the day we shut down our office, and everyone comes out and works in the community."
More than 180 employees at MarksNelson, Kansas City’s largest locally owned accounting firm, volunteered at 11 charities around the metro Thursday, including the Veteran’s Community Project — where they fixed up tiny homes for veterans.
“It makes me feel like they appreciate that we served for the country, and it makes me know that people really care for us,” said Ira Weddington, who lives in one of the tiny homes.
“We would not be anywhere close to where we’re at today without the community’s help,” said Matthew Burasco, the construction coordinator for Veterans Community Project.
The nonprofit is building a community of tiny homes and onsite services for local veterans.
“I was what we call couch-surfing, didn’t really have any real place to live,” Weddington said. “I have a stable life now, somewhere to go home to. I’m comfortable and safe, and it beats being out on the streets. You never know what’s going to happen.”
MarksNelson employees painted houses and built a concrete pad so the residents have a place for their barbecueing.
“It’s great seeing that people do care about them. When they were on the streets, they may not have felt that. But now, seeing all these different volunteer days that we have, seeing all these people coming out, painting their houses, it’s a pretty incredible feeling,” Burasco said. “It’s unbelievable that people actually want to come out here in this 97 degree heat and paint houses on their days off.”
But for the employees at MarksNelson, it was worth it.
“It’s our favorite day of the year, and it gives us that chance to go out in the community, do something good, to help those in need,” Hoppenrath said. “All 11 locations were chosen by the employees, so everything we do as part of our Marks of Kindness program pulls at the heartstrings of our clients or for one of our employees.”
Besides the Veterans Community Project, employees volunteered their time at the Sherwood Autism Center and Alphapoint, among others.