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Wings, actress join efforts for charity

by Zack Crawford / Detroit Red Wings
Erin Cummings with Volunteers

DETROIT – As fans braced the 25 degree weather to get to Joe Louis Arena on Saturday night, volunteers from Mittens for Detroit collected gloves at each of the arena’s entrances to help in-need locals stay warm through the winter. 

At the helm of the charity is actress Erin Cummings, who started Mittens for Detroit while filming ABC’s “Detroit 1-8-7.”

“This is the first time we’re doing it,” Cummings said. “It’s our first dance with the Red Wings and I believe in long-term relationships and I see the value of creating a relationship between Mittens for Detroit and the Red Wings that could be mutually beneficial over the long-term.”

Although Cummings now lives in Los Angeles, she still returns to Detroit once a month to keep the charity running. On Saturday night, the founder of the organization graciously thanked fans who dropped gloves in the collection boxes. All fans who donated gloves or money received a raffle ticket to win a signed game-used Johan Franzen stick.

A self-described eternal optimist, Cummings started the charity two years ago after witnessing a moving scene while handing out candy on Halloween night at her cousin’s home in Detroit.

“Two young girls came to the door, one of them missing a glove and shivering and crying,” Cummings said. “Kathy (Cummings’ cousin) invited them inside and gave the girl a spare pair of gloves and a hug and that was kind of it. I just sat there and said, ‘That’s as easy as it can be.’ ”

After Cummings contacted a few people around the city, it didn’t take long for her dream to become a reality. And since then Mittens for Detroit has more than exceeded her expectations.

Although Saturday’s collection marked the first MFD event with the Wings, the charity has a history of working with other local organizations, including the Detroit Tigers (from whom MFD just received over 1,000 pairs of gloves), Comerica Bank, ACO Hardware, Quicken Loans, American Coney Island, Positively Detroit and Just Baked Cupcakes, to name a few.

“It’s exciting to see it finally coming together and the kind of media that it’s attracted and the amount of people,” Cummings said.

On Saturday, sellout crowd contributed 470 gloves and mittens and $1,440.41 to Mittens for Detroit. The donated gloves will be distributed among a group of 11 local charities.

“Our charities are instrumental in our work,” Cummings said. “because I could drive around all day and I’d never be able to find the thousands of people who need the gloves that our charities see on a regular basis.

“We’re all trying to do the same thing. We’re all just trying to make Detroit a better place and we each have our own special way of doing it. The Red Wings have a home that everyone can come together and dress in the same colors and celebrate a common team. I give gloves.”

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