If you are looking for ways for your company to give back to the community, one possible opportunity is Project EverGreen’s program, GreenCare for Troops.
Ki Matsko, program director of GreenCare/SnowCare for Troops, answers some of the common questions about this volunteer opportunity and how landscape professionals can get involved.
What is GreenCare for Troops?
GreenCare for Troops (GCFT), and its sister program SnowCare for Troops (SCFT), are programs created by Project EverGreen, a nationwide, 501 (c)(3) non-profit. GCFT and SCFT matches volunteers in the lawn, landscape and snow removal industries – who are willing to provide their services free of charge – with a military family whose loved one is away from home on deployment serving our country.
Who does GreenCare for Troops help?
Both GCFT and SCFT are needs-based programs for actively deployed military members and their dependent family members. The military member must be actively deployed away from the home creating a financial or physical burden on those left behind to obtain or complete lawn, landscape and snow removal services.
Why is GreenCare for Troops only for active-duty military families?
While we honor and respect all who serve our country, we must work within our capacity which includes staff and volunteer limitations. Active duty deployed military members is the group Project EverGreen has chosen to support as it works within the capabilities of our volunteers to provide consistent service during a time of need.
How do I volunteer?
Please register as a volunteer at www.projectevergreen.org. Click on “GreenCare for Troops” and select “Volunteer Program Info.” The entire registration process only takes a few minutes to complete.
How long do I help care for a military family?
Services are provided for the entire length of the military member’s deployment. Deployment times can range from 3 months to 400 days depending on the military branch and reason for deployment.
Can I opt to only provide a certain service? (mowing, fertilization, etc.)
Absolutely. Volunteers can choose from a list of services what they are willing to offer the military families, free of charge. The list includes mowing, trimming shrubs/bushes/hedges, aeration, fertilizing/weed control, perimeter pest control, fire ant control, mosquito control, spring clean-up, fall/leaf clean-up, and snow removal. If a family needs a service you are not offering for our program, simply refer them to Project EverGreen to find them another volunteer for the requested service.
How long does it take before I’m paired with a military family?
Some volunteers may get matched immediately when they register. Other volunteers may go months or longer before getting matched with a military family. Matches are based on the deployments out of the area and the awareness by military families about the GCFT/SCFT programs in that area. We need volunteers in place before promoting the program in any given area. We encourage volunteers to promote the program in their communities and provide the tools to do that.
What happens if I don’t hear from the military family to discuss services?
When you are matched with a military family, we send you three automated emails to inform you of the match. If by the time you receive the “third and final” email (which is sent 10 days after the match occurs) and you have not heard from the military family, we ask that you contact us so we can reach out to the family.
How many military families can I help?
As a volunteer, you can decide how many military families you are able to help at one time. As soon as the deployment ends for a family you are taking care of, we automatically match you with the next family, so it is an ongoing process. However, we will never match you with more families than you request.
How big are the typical properties?
Military families are informed that the property size must be less than 1 acre to register with our program. However, as a volunteer you can decide what property size is too much for you to handle. For example, you may not wish to take properties over a half-acre and that is fine. You would simply need to ask the military family to contact Project EverGreen to be reassigned.
Are there any discounts for being a GreenCare for Troops volunteer?
SiteOne Landscape Supply offers a generous $250 store credit to every new volunteer when they register and agree to help at least one family. In addition, Ecologel/Arborjet offers free products to volunteers when they become matched with a military family.
What happens to my military family if I can no longer volunteer for a time period?
If you have an issue fulfilling your commitment to a military family you are matched with, please contact Project EverGreen who can assist with reassigning the military family to another volunteer.
What states need more volunteers?
Volunteers are needed in all 50 states, especially in areas surrounding military bases. However, Guard and Reserve forces deploy from across each state. So no matter where your business is, you can help give the gift of green space to a military family in your community.
How can I help spread the word about GreenCare for Troops?
When you register as a volunteer we will send you an on-line promotional tool kit containing a press release, logos for your website, social media marketing tips and more. We also send you window stickers stating you are a volunteer with GCFT or SCFT to place on your vehicles.
Can’t physically volunteer? Contact Project EverGreen for ways to share information about the program at your next trade show, in your company newsletter, or at your place of business. Financial donations are also accepted that help Project EverGreen grow awareness of its programs and the environmental, health and social well-being benefits of managed green spaces. https://projectevergreen.org/donate/