Have you ever seen a miniature Lowe’s store? While chances of that may be slim, the store has become a huge hit with children in Matthew’s Town.
Matthew’s Town is an interactive therapy space at Leg Up Farm, a nonprofit outpatient therapy center in Pennsylvania for children and young adults with special needs. Leg Up Farm provides physical, occupational and speech therapies, behavioral health services, nutritional programs, and equine assisted activities all under one roof. Each year, the center serves more than 700 individuals, ranging from newborns to 21 years old. Lowe’s Heroes from 13 Pennsylvania stores voted for Matthew’s Town to be their 2016 market-wide project.
“Our goal inside Matthew’s Town is to create an interactive therapy space that provides new ways for the kids to reach their goals,” said Tom O’Connor, executive director of Leg Up Farm. “The best way to tell whether or not a space in Matthew’s Town is a hit with the kids is by looking at it at the end of the day. If it looks like it’s been heavily used, it’s been a hit with the kids.”
O’Connor said that’s how Lowe’s in Matthew’s Town looks every day, and called it a fun space for children to work on therapy goals. Stocked inside the store are elements used for motor control, coordination and planning. Children interact with items such as a chalkboard, magnets and Lowe’s Build and Grow kits.
Lowe’s Heroes not only built Matthew’s Town its own store, but also partnered to give Leg Up Farm a refresh during two days of service. Nearly 300 Lowe’s Heroes constructed a gazebo, installed a vinyl fence and shelving, and pressure washed outside pavilions, sidewalks and playgrounds, among other projects.
One Lowe’s volunteer wanted to help keep the kids active outside, so she painted a new four-square board, drop-shot circle and hopscotch board. She painted creative designs inside the facility as well.
“While the project was going on, there was just a sea of red shirts,” O’Connor said. “It was fun for the community and families to see the change they made over the week. We are hard-pressed to find a space inside the building or on our 18-acre property that Lowe’s Heroes did not impact.”
Jamie Stauffer, store manager in Palmyra, Pennsylvania, was among those leading the group effort. This was Stauffer’s third time participating in a market-wide Heroes project; in 2014, 13 stores partnered together to renovate The Vista School, which provides special education and therapeutic services to children living with autism. Stauffer’s son attends there.
“Lowe’s Heroes gives us all the opportunity to get involved at a deeper level, to connect with our communities in a way that is not only charitable but also in a way that resonates through to your soul,” Stauffer said.
Last year, every Lowe’s store in the United States completed at least one Lowe’s Heroes project.