For the past two years, Meridian has been dedicated to helping the Flint community through our partnership with the Food Bank of Eastern Michigan. Most recently, we sponsored a 12-hour RadioThon hosted by Flint-based radio station, 103.9 The Fox, to raise money for the food bank. Meridian’s sponsorship of the event contributed to the $27,700 raised for over 166,000 meals to be donated to Flint residents.
Meridian began our partnership with the Food Bank of Eastern Michigan in 2016 to provide the residents of Flint with healthy foods that reverse the effects of lead, an initiative called “Fueling Food for Flint.” This resulted in the delivery of thousands of pounds of fresh food – enough for 400 Flint-based families. Last November, we held a company-wide canned food drive leading up to the holiday season. Throughout this week-long food drive, Meridian employees donated 1,686 pounds of food, equating to 1,405 meals, which were distributed amongst 100 pantries and shelters throughout the city of Flint.
“Overall, the Food Bank serves 22 counties of Michigan with 415 partner organizations that work daily to alleviate hunger and provide food to their neighbors,” said Kara Ross, interim president, Food Bank of Eastern Michigan. “None of this would be possible without volunteers and partner organizations, such as Meridian, conducting food and fundraising activities to support the mission.”
In addition to Fueling Food for Flint, we joined Hamilton Community Health Network to bring Flint Water Crisis Health Education Days to the community. This family-focused series provided education on lead poisoning from healthcare professionals, including how to reduce levels of lead in the body. These community events featured education and food demonstrations by physicians and nutritionists, along with free giveaways, such as nutritional food, water filter cartridges, and bottled water.
During the 2016 Meridian Winter Blast festival held in Campus Martius, funds were raised for the Community Foundation of Greater Flint’s Child Health and Development Fund. This fund, created by Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha, supports the children of Flint exposed to lead during the water crisis, as children ages 0-6 are most vulnerable to the effects of lead. The Winter Blast Foundation, festival performers and public donation amounted to $10,000. Meridian contributed an additional $40,000 for a total donation of $50,000, which will be used to further assist children with the many critical, ongoing and long-term effects of lead poisoning.
“From our ‘Fueling Food for Flint’ initiative to our partnership with Hamilton Community Health Network to provide Flint Water Crisis Health Education Days, we were able to educate Flint community members on the effects of lead and the power of nutritious food,” said Sean Kendall, Michigan president/COO, Meridian. “Our work in Flint is far from over, and we will continue as long as we can make a lasting impact on the health and wellness of Flint residents.”
Meridian is proud to continue supporting the Flint community and improving the lives of our members through our partnership with the Food Bank of Eastern Michigan.