DEARBORN - The holidays lights are beautiful, the meals are delicious and the gift giving is a lot of fun, but they are among the furthest things from your mind if you are hungry, cold and alone.
The Ford Volunteer Corps helped bring back some of the joy of the season during a Ford Accelerated Action Day dedicated to feeding the hungry. More than 600 Ford volunteers joined 39 MODEL Teams and went to work in the community stocking shelves in food warehouses, packing food boxes, and cooking and serving meals.
“Many of our neighbors are suffering as they struggle each day to find food for themselves and their families,” said Jim Vella, president, Ford Motor Company Fund and Community Services. "Ford employees are thankful we're able to share our time and resources with people in need."
Hundreds of thousands of people struggle to find food each day in southeast Michigan alone. Ford employees and nonprofit hunger relief agencies teamed up to feed people in shelters, missions and soup kitchens. Many of the organizations participating in this volunteer effort - Cass Community Social Services, COTS, Detroit Rescue Mission Ministries and others - shared $75,000 in Ford grants to buy food and supplies needed for their projects.
"Without the Ford Volunteers, we couldn't do the job that we do," said Frank Kubik, food program director, Focus: Hope. "We are very happy and fortunate to have Ford here to work with us."
"It’s great to be able to give back in the community," said Cynthia Flanigan, technical leader, Materials Engineering. "It's great that we have this program, and are able to work together and help the community."
At Southwest Solutions in Detroit, Elena Ford and volunteers from her team worked in the kitchen and cooked up meals for area homeless. They also spent time making cards in the craft room, playing cards with the center's clients and participating in a holiday sing-a-long.
"Giving back is an important part of who we are at Ford," said Elena Ford, director, Global Marketing, Sales and Service Operations. "If we can provide some comfort and joy for people in need, we're helping to create a better world."
"This is a special organization," said Joe O'Connor, manager, Regional Auto Shows. "We're all thankful we can help these folks out."
This Ford Accelerated Action Day is one of many efforts supported by Ford each year to help feed the hungry, including an 11 year partnership with Newman’s Own® that has contributed 103 refrigerated trucks to help Feeding America deliver millions of meals to families across the country. Ford Motor Company Fund also has provided Transit Connect Mobile Food Pantries to 21 community food banks that deliver food in areas of several states where people have difficulty traveling.
The Ford Volunteer Corps also held a Winter Coat and Jacket Drive in southeast Michigan to help keep children and families warm during the cold winter months.
“Food and warmth are basic human needs that cannot be taken for granted when you are cold and hungry," said Janet Lawson, director, Ford Volunteer Corps. “We are simply reaching out to let people know we care and are ready to help."
The Ford Volunteer Corps is active throughout the year. Each September, Ford Global Week of Caring brings together thousands of employee volunteers around the world for community service projects. Ford Accelerated Action Days are concentrated one-day efforts to meet critical needs identified by our agency partners.
"There's a lot of need out in the community and a lot of ways we can help make it a better place," said James Boileau, technical expert, Materials Engineering. "These are people with really big hearts and a big desire to give back to the community."
To see more photos of Ford volunteers go to http://www.flickr.com/photos/fordcommunity/collections/
And follow the activities of Ford in the Community on facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Ford-in-the-Community/135312806480772