PLEASANT RIDGE, Mich. – Every gesture of kindness -- no matter how big or small -- helps during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, and one Metro Detroit group is showing how neighbors working together can go a long way.
Neighbors That Care is a group that started in the small Oakland County community of Pleasant Ridge. Now they hope their act of kindness can spread from coast to coast.
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When residents in Pleasant Ridge realized as many as 5% of their tight-knit community is made up of first responders, they wanted to do something more to help make their day-to-day lives easier.
“These are people who are putting their lives on the line, often working double shifts six and seven days a week, really not having much time to sleep, never mind shop or cook,” said Paul Eisenstein, of Neighbors That Care.
Volunteers decided to work with the Pleasant Ridge Foundation to put together and deliver food baskets for first responders.
“Those baskets contain a lot of love from all the other people, the residents of our town who know that they are putting their lives at risk to save ours,” Eisenstein said. “Americans are great at stepping up to help their war soldiers who may come back from the Middle East, for example, but the warriors in this battle are our neighbors -- say, maybe, doctors or nurses or police or firefighters or EMS crews, and their lives are just as much as risk right now.”
The group asked local businesses to help fill the baskets, and they’re coming through in a major way.
“We’re going to be giving out produce and other things,” Eisenstein said. “We have a local pizza restaurant that is going to be providing pizza certificates that first responders can use. A basket can consist of pretty much anything. People can work with their local groceries. They can work with restaurants, pretty much anything that helps provide food or something else that first responders might need.”
While they’re not looking for donations, the members of Neighbors That Care hope volunteers in other cities will use them as an example of how to pay it forward.
“We want this to be a national program,” Eisenstein said. “It’s great that we’ve been able to do this for first responders here in the little town of Pleasant Ridge, but we’d like to see people in Lansing and anywhere in Michigan, anywhere in the Midwest, all across the United States, do exactly the same thing.”