The greater Grand Rapids area, like every other metropolitan area, has been challenged and significantly disrupted by the COVID-19 virus. During this time, I have been inspired by the creative initiatives that West Michigan businesses, non-profits, schools, churches, and residents have undertaken together as communities try to reach out and help frontline workers, the underserved, and the needy. Here are some of those stories:
- Long Road Distillers, New Holland Brewing, Coppercraft, Founders Brewery, Amway, Haviland Enterprises, and others are now producing thousands of gallons of hand sanitizer product. This product is being made immediately available to retirement communities, emergency management personnel, daycare centers, hospice centers, medical facilities and others.
- Petoskey Plastics is making 10,000 isolation gowns and supplying them to their local McLaren Northern Michigan hospital
- Chaco, a Wolverine Worldwide company, is working to produce protective masks at their sandal repair facility.
- Some Portage residents have been spending their stay at home time making dozens of masks for friends in the healthcare industry. Allendale residents are doing the same. Hobbies are being turned into production lines by sewers. Some have gotten the process down to 6 minutes and are producing hundreds of these masks. The Macedonia Baptist Church is now seeking fabric donations to help support.
- 3D printing is also being used to create face masks, as well as develop other products such as face shields, headbands, and tape markers.
- Kenowa Hills has partnered with Feeding Walker Kids and delivered thousands of meals in one day to needy families and students using their school buses for transportation.
- The Rising Grinds Café in Grand Rapids is turning their restaurant business into a takeout on Soul Food Saturdays and Sundays, and delivering meals to needy youth, students, and senior citizens during the week.
- Steelcase is designing and developing prototypes for face shields and face masks.
- Altus is manufacturing 350 carts to help provide greater mobility to patients that require the use of ventilators.
- Stryker is producing 10,000 low cost Emergency Relief Beds per week for use in hospital emergencies and triage situations.
- The United Way of West Michigan has provided emergency grants to many local non-profit and service organizations within a short turnaround of 1-2 days.
And the list goes on, as all hands are on deck. During these difficult times, we all are coming together to help serve one another with compassion and hope. All of us can do are part in our own neighborhoods and communities by stepping up with our time, treasures, talents, and gratitude.
Blessings for continued health and wellness!