We Can Work as Heroes

As a family-owned local business, Mclaren Lighting has always prized community involvement, and nowhere is that more clear than in Mclaren’s association with HeroWork. No charity can survive without support from the local community, and that community includes local businesses. That’s why it’s so important that companies like Mclaren Lighting give back to the community when they can.

What is HeroWork?

In simplest terms, HeroWork is a charity that enables other charities. Many charities focus so much on helping their constituents directly that their own needs suffer. Nowhere is this more evident than in the problems charities face with maintaining their infrastructure. In many cases these problems can become so severe that the charity has to either turn down donations or cease operations entirely. What makes it even worse is that no one really knows the scope of the problem. Here are just a few of the issues at play:

  • Information: Nobody actually knows the true size of the issue because each charity deals with its own maintenance and there is no umbrella organization to track what’s going on in the field as a whole.
  • Expertise: One major issue many charities face is that while they may have donors who are familiar with maintenance, they don’t have the necessary expertise for a full renovation. In addition to finding people with the necessary skills, many charities also need to acquire the necessary permits to even do the renovation.
  • Resources: Charities devote their resources to supporting their constituents, which can leave them in a very difficult position when it comes to finding a way to bring an older building back up to code. This is made even more difficult by the fact that many donors will support the mission and constituents, but are less generous when the money is needed for renovations.

Here are some examples of past problems local charities have faced:

  • Threshold Housing Society: offered a four-unit apartment building, they hesitated to accept the donation because they lacked the resources to deal with the 130-page inspection report.
  • Mustard Seed: Despite feeding 7,000 people on a regular basis, this well-known local charity was operating out of a building with multiple code violations that could have eventually forced it to shut down if they were not addressed.
  • Casa Maria Emergency Housing Society: At one point, Casa Maria reached the point where they were seriously considering giving their building away because they could not afford to restore it from its diminished state.

How HeroWork Helps

HeroWork draws on the strength of community to solve the problems existing charities with diminished buildings face. One of the strengths of rural communities is the way the people come together to help each other. Barn raisings are a perfect example of this approach, and one that HeroWork seeks to emulate directly.By bringing a large amount of resources to bear on the problem in a short amount of time, HeroWork is able to get the charity back up and running quickly while still maintaining a high level of enthusiasm.

The Radical Renovation Approach

HeroWork calls its approach Radical Renovation; each one is broken down into one or more weekends where volunteers can come and essentially blitz the task. The tight timeline helps keep volunteers on task, and they are often supported with live music. It’s important to remember that there is more to a Radical Renovation than simply showing up for a weekend of work. HeroWork works behind the scenes to coordinate everything from supplies to permits well in advance of the renovation weekend.

Each Radical Renovation features a series of events designed to build energy and enthusiasm:

  • March onto the Site: Every Radical Renovation starts with a formal march onto the site that culminates in a block party. This helps build excitement from the start.
  • Meals: Everyone stops at the same time for a catered meal that helps keep the entire team feel like a single whole.
  • The Big Reveal: The final reveal to the officers of the charity is shown on big screen monitors so everyone can share in the excitement.

How Mclaren Lighting Helps

Businesses can support charity in many ways, from cash donations to materials and time. For Mclaren Lighting the most important of these is time, which is why General Manager Dave Finnigan and many of the Mclaren staff put their own personal time into the Radical Renovation at the Our Time Therapeutic Recovery Community in View Royal. Different people have different resources, but everyone has time.