By Jennifer Meek

The Charlotte Cares program is a company-wide initiative that encourages our team to volunteer in the local community and collectively participate in making a difference. We aim to inspire others to participate in creating safe healthy spaces for everyone, especially community members in need. It’s so much more than just a community service project, though. What began as a commitment to volunteer as much as possible in our community as a team, has turned into a guiding light that has helped shaped our mission, values, and the ways we work together as a team here at Charlotte. 

A Clean Home

The program is an extension of our company’s mission, which is to create safe and healthy spaces for future generations. Where better to start then in the home? We partnered with Habitat for Humanity of the Peterborough & Kawartha region to ensure that local families have what they need to create a safe and healthy home. Habitat for Humanity builds and rehabilitates affordable homes for those in need, bridging the gap for low-income families and providing an opportunity for them to purchase their very own home.

We come into habitat homes before move-in day to clean them well and prepare the home for a fresh start with a new family. We are very happy to leave our own products and cleaning systems behind as a welcome gift for new families. It is especially nice when we have the opportunity to meet the families and answer any cleaning questions they may have.

This work has led us to also work with individual families throughout the community to identify those in need of cleaning services in their homes, whether they have lost a job or are dealing with health issues. When people take ill, they are more vulnerable to toxins in the air and the germs around them. We offer our volunteer services, to provide non-toxic and effective cleaning solutions to help individuals heal in a safe and healthy environment. We also recently had the privilege of assisting a family in need with the cleaning their home before their sale closing date. We have learned when a family needs to sell a home because of financial and health difficulties, it can be overwhelming. We were pleased to help in easing them through this difficult time so they could focus on health.

Good Neighbours

Charlotte Cares has provided us with many memorable experiences, including our experience volunteering at Good Neighbours Care Center in Peterborough. This local food pantry serves those in need in our community and depends on the generosity of volunteers for the work it provides. We recognized this was a perfect opportunity for us to help clean the volunteer work areas and entranceway, we jumped right in. Our entire staff took one full day to roll up our sleeves and get cleaning. As we cleaned, we realized how much Good Neighbours Care Center does for our community and how much their volunteers do to serve those in need. 

We left that place sparkling clean, and provided the hard-working volunteers a safe and healthy place to get their work done. We had such a wonderful experience at Good Neighbours Care Center that many of us now support the organization in our own ways. Our team really came together that day and learned a lot about ourselves and the community.

The experience inspired many of us to do more service personally, too. This past holiday season, we encouraged our staff members to take some time to give back. Our CEO, Matt Strano, will be serving food at a shelter on Christmas Eve. Many of our team members will be wrapping presents to raise funds for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Peterborough.

Working with Our City

In 2019, Peterborough looked at the downtown business area and realized it needed care. The city wasn’t as clean as it could be and there were many people who needed work. They started a wonderful program that solved both problems. They provided jobs cleaning the municipal areas to those in need of work. We partnered with the city to provide supplies and training for their new hires. We used our expertise to identify the procedures needed and provide the right tools to make Peterborough healthier and safer. This initiative has had significant impact on our city by providing jobs and improving public health. 

We’re very fortunate to be able to build products that are innovative and healthy, and to put them into the marketplace. It’s one thing to sell the products, but the message of creating those safe and healthy places goes further than sales. Being able to give those products to people who may not have access to them and helping those in need in our community to have healthy safe places extends that mission beyond anything we could have imagined.

What’s Ahead?

What we didn’t realize when we started this volunteer initiative back in September 2018, was how we would make a difference far beyond our local community. We have built strong community partnerships with local organizations in Peterborough, but we were also motivated by all of the support we received from our suppliers and customers. Inspired by a simple idea, we’ve worked together over the past year to dream big about all we can do together to promote health and safety for everyone, everywhere.

As we look to 2020 and beyond, we are fully committed to expanding the Charlotte Cares program. Not only do we hope to do more in our local community here in Peterborough with our partners, but we want to spread the message. We look forward to partnering with our suppliers, customers and industry organizations to bring the spirit of Charlotte Cares to many other communities across Canada and the U.S.