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Together Detroit: Companies extend a helping hand

Wayne State, DTE Energy, Marathon, MotorCity Casino, Planet Fitness, SVS Vision and Anheuser-Busch assisting those in need

by Staff @DetroitRedWings / DetroitRedWings.com

While everyone is under stress due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there's no question that first responders and front-line workers are among those most affected.

To that end, the Wayne State University Department of Social Work and the College of Nursing, in collaboration with other Wayne State departments, have launched a crisis hotline for those first responders and health care professionals working on the front lines to fight the novel coronavirus outbreak.

Tweet from @waynestate: The @WSU_Social_Work and the @WSUCoN have teamed up to launch a crisis hotline to provide emotional support to metro Detroit health care workers and first responders, as they battle the coronavirus pandemic. https://t.co/2dNp6Dhua2#COVID19 #WayneState #Detroit pic.twitter.com/hMl36VuPpT

The crisis hotline will be staffed six days a week by professionally licensed social workers, psychiatric/mental health nurse practitioners and psychologists. They will offer critical emotional support for health professionals and law enforcement personnel working under extremely stressful conditions.

"The motivating premise behind this collaboration is simple: We all need to contribute what support we can to those who occupy the front lines of this battle," Sheryl Kubiak, dean of the School of Social Work, said in a statement. "Considering the unique nature of this pandemic, we have to do everything we can to take care of them so that they can continuing trying to save lives."

Counselors will be available at 1-888-910-1636 Monday through Saturday from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m. All calls are free and confidential and callers do not need to provide any identifying information.

Among the many needs communities have during this time is access to technology.

To address the digital divide, the DTE Energy Foundation, Detroit Public Schools Community District (DPSCD) and other businesses will put a computer with high-speed internet, along with technical support, into the hands of every DPSCD K-12 student before the school year closes in the Connected Futures Initiative.

Tweet from @DTE_Energy: Thank you to our partners investing in Detroit youth and for helping close the digital divide. Access to online learning tools is crucial for today's students, especially when learning is moved out of the classroom. https://t.co/tELKB7lTBO

"When our executive team began prioritizing COVID-19 relief efforts, the issue of digital inequity for Detroit students rose to the top," DTE Energy President and CEO Jerry Norcia said in a statement. "We recognized that we needed to take action urgently to close the digital divide for these students and provide them with the tools necessary to thrive in the 21st century. Today, the Detroit community commits to our children's futures. It's time for us to level the playing field for the students of Detroit."

This is a part of the Foundation's overall COVID-19 efforts, including matching all donations to the Michigan Association of United Ways and Michigan Community Action in April, totaling $1.3 million. The Foundation is also supporting more than 1,000 non-profits across Michigan, funding more than three million meals and helping 500,000 families with basic needs. It also donated two million KN95 masks to front-line heroes, from police officers to medical workers.

Marathon Petroleum Corporation partnered with the City of Detroit Recreation Department's food assistance program to donate critical supplies of diapers, baby wipes, laundry detergent, feminine hygiene products, toothbrushes, toothpaste, soap and shampoo to families in the southwest Detroit area surrounding the refinery.

"This donation will help us to meet additional needs and support families with necessary supplies," Erin Casey, assistant director of Detroit Parks and Recreation, said in a statement. "By addressing this need it deepens our impact in the communities we serve." In another response to the COVID-19 pandemic, MPC donated to the Detroit Public Safety Foundation to help both the Detroit Police and Detroit Fire departments with any needs.

"Since 1959, Marathon Petroleum's refinery in southwest Detroit has been proud to be part of this community, and I look forward to deepening and expanding our community relationships," Dave Leaver, general manager of the Detroit refinery, said in a statement. "At Marathon, we believe that being a good corporate citizen means being an even better neighbor and lending our community a helping hand during these unprecedented times is part of that mission. We will get through this crisis together."

MotorCity Casino Hotel may not be able to welcome customers back yet but they are still able to help during the crisis.

The casino donated 2,736 decks of playing cards to Henry Ford Health System to give COVID-19 patients a way to pass the time while recovering.

Tweet from @MotorCityCasino: We're thankful for the opportunity to partner with Henry Ford Health System by donating 2,736 decks of playing cards to help COVID-19 patients pass the time while in rehabilitation. We���d like to extend a thank you to the Henry Ford nursing staff for making us aware of the need. pic.twitter.com/plPMe4znbF

Before the pandemic, Planet Fitness gyms celebrated the first Monday of every month as Pizza Monday and members could get a free slice of pizza before or after their workouts.

With most gyms closed, Planet Fitness decided to pivot their tradition by partnering with Slice Out Hunger to donate pizzas to front-line workers at hospitals and health care facilities.

Tweet from @SliceOutHunger: We all know @PlanetFitness has a positive relationship with pizza, but they really doubled down on it when they partnered with us to bring pizza to hospitals across the country this week! #cantstoppizza #pizza4good @slice https://t.co/KFg7YTKHoq

On May 4, Planet Fitness offered to donate a slice of pizza, up to $25,000, for each person who signed up to "work in" through the company's Facebook page and worked out for one minute or more.

While that was more of a national event, metro Detroit Planet Fitness gyms teamed up to donate more than 2,000 slices of pizza to seven Beaumont Hospital locations to celebrate Pizza Monday on May 4.

SVS Vision teamed up with Andiamo Catering and Event Management and Roncelli to feed more than 1,200 essential workers at McLaren Macomb hospital in Mount Clemens, Mich.

Those workers were treated to kale salad, bread sticks and a pasta lunch, a little change from typical cafeteria fare.

Tweet from @macombdaily: McLaren Macomb workers get meal courtesy of Andiamo, Roncelli and SVS Vision https://t.co/DBuHd3PBMK pic.twitter.com/cAPfITKYU0

"Over the past several weeks, our community has demonstrated a level of generosity that words cannot describe," Tom Brisse, McLaren Macomb president and chief executive officer, said in a statement. "We are extremely proud to be associated with companies so willing to show their appreciation, and we are grateful to Andiamo, Roncelli and SVS Vision for their support."

Anheuser-Busch may be best known for its beer but that is not the only beverage the company can make.

In times of need, Anheuser-Busch has provided safe, clean canned drinking water.

The emergency drinking water program started in 1988 and has donated nearly 83 million cans since then.

Most recently, Anheuser-Busch provided a pallet of the canned water to the COVID-19 testing site at the York Fairgrounds in Pennsylvania.

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