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Best Buy, Yardbird provide outdoor furniture for Minneapolis cancer nonprofit

While undergoing treatment for illness, spending time outside in fresh air can be a respite for a patient and their loved ones. And it’s even better when enjoyed with a comfortable place to sit.

That’s why when Katie Berens, a Best Buy senior product manager, saw on her social media feed that the American Cancer Society Hope Lodge in Minneapolis needed to replace its damaged patio furniture, she wanted to see how we could help.   

The Hope Lodge provides a home away from home for cancer patients and caregivers who must travel more than 40 miles for treatments. The Minneapolis area Hope Lodge has a special tie to Best Buy as it’s supported by the Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation, led by the company’s founder. Best Buy employees have volunteered with Hope Lodge for years, preparing meals for the residents and hosting social events.

“A cancer diagnosis is hard enough, let alone traveling and having to be isolated from others,” Katie said. “The Hope Lodge is a place to ease some of those stresses and bring people in similar situations together.”

After seeing the social media post, Katie contacted Hope Lodge to learn what was needed to refurnish the patio space. Then, she reached out to Yardbird to see if there was an opportunity to help. The Yardbird team decided to do a full makeover. (Best Buy acquired Yardbird, a premium outdoor furniture company, last fall.)

A Yardbird designer went to the Hope Lodge to meet with the staff and get a sense of the patio’s space. One request was to provide more shaded seating since patients undergoing treatment can’t be exposed to the sun.

“We were able to customize the space to what Hope Lodge needed,” Katie said.

The project took about five weeks, and Hope Lodge received two dining sets shaded under umbrellas and additional seating sets throughout the patio.

The residents and staff were excited to have a refreshed, comfortable space to spend time with family and other residents.

“Best Buy and Yardbird really went above and beyond by helping us choose something our guests would enjoy for years,” said Mary Oys Wiles, Hope Lodge senior manager. “It is really a beautiful and calming area for our guests to relax in while going through a difficult time during their cancer journey.”