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Good communities are made up of residents who step up when times are tough. And there’s been a lot of stepping up recently in Taylor.
Restaurants like Bierkeller Tavern, Malek Al Kabob and Red Robin (Southgate) have all volunteered their services during this global pandemic. Volunteers at the Taylor School District have continued their free food service, even though their buildings are closed and the students are at home. Wayne County Community College District’s MIPSE program is just one of the many great organizations who have helped support the efforts by Taylor first responders.
“The effort grows as the needs grow,” said Mayor Rick Sollars, who has been attempting to match donors with needs while running a City government with locked down buildings and limited staffing. “Americans stand strong and band together in difficult times. This is one of them. But the United States has faces hurdles before, and we will get over this obstacle. We just have to stay together, and stay vigilante.”
The Taylor Schools offer free food to all students through a federal program during the school year. In too many situations that is the only food the children eat all day. So when governor’s order closed all schools, district staff stepped to the forefront to keep the distribution going. Yesterday’s distribution was no different, according to an email from MaryAnn Cyr, assistant superintendent.
“(The March 26) food distribution was a huge success. We distributed a total of 12, 047 breakfast meals from Randall Elementary School and West Middle School. Thank you to all those staff members who came out to help. As I mentioned before, to honor social distancing, we are limiting the volunteers, wearing masks, and keeping our distance while we work. This will be a challenge, but we will get through it.”
Among those involved yesterday were City Councilman Charley Johnson, and his friend, David Mallert. “We were super impressed with the staff and volunteers who are taking part in this effort,” Councilman Johnson said. “They are working together for the greater good. They have very big hearts. We plan to return and help.”
Cyr continued: “(On March 25), the Taylor Federation of Teachers delivered food to 19 families in need. Special thanks to Linda Moore and Sandra Kluk for organizing this. The families are so thankful and get quite emotional when we drop off food. (Earlier) in the drive-up loop, one parent was so appreciative, she just wept and wept, trying to collect herself enough to thank us. She said that the family counted on this food to survive. These are the reminders that confirm that we are doing right by our community.”
Bierkeller and Malek Al Kabob reached out to Mayor Sollars early in the “Shelter at Home” period, offering their aid and food stuffs to people in need. The City first reached out to the schools, but found they were relatively in good shape. Instead, Bierkeller coordinated with Parks & Recreation Director Guido Ulin to deliver to senior citizens. The effort got the attention of Click On Detroit, which aired a featured about local businesses that were stepping up during a time of crisis to help their communities.
“Honestly, I just didn’t want to waste the food,” Bierkeller owner Mark Guzzardo said. “We had a lot of good – stock for St. Paddy’s Day – and we want to be able to get it out there for people who need it. It was great that we were able to team up with the City of Taylor. They had seniors that welcomed food, we prepared it and the City delivered it. A winning situation all around.”
Malek Al Kabob, likewise, wanted to not only lend help, but spur others to join the campaign. The restaurant started a “Food Cycle Challenge” and raised money from donors so that it could buy food, create meals and support first responders around Taylor. They even have a schedule, or “cycle,” of targeted locations like Taylor Police and Taylor Fire, and Beaumont. They aim for certain shifts.
“Both Bierkeller and Malek’s have always been good partners with our City,” Mayor Sollars said. “There are good people coming forward during the toughest times.”
The Red Robin location in Southgate has also reached out to support Taylor Fire, and will be delivering food next week.
WCCCD’s MIPSE location, which trains firefighters, has also lent supporter. Andy Steeby stopped by to give Fire Chief Stephen Portis boxes of supplies. They are usually used in training, but at this time of need, the more supplies on hand for Taylor Fire personnel, the better.
Likewise, the City’s elected official pitched in to feed all employees on March 27.
Each day, it seems that more and more residents and businesses joining the effort. Police Chief John Blair posted a “thank you” from his department to many individuals and groups … and apologized that he couldn’t include more:
Police Chief John Blair and his entire department would like to send a big. blue “thank you” out to many organizations and groups for their support during this COVID-19 pandemic:
At times like these, the cream rises to the top. #TaylorStrong.
We at the City of Taylor could not agree more!
EDITOR’S NOTE: These are just a few of the many stories of Taylor residents and businesses stepping up during this time of crisis. If you have a story to share during this COVID-19 pandemic, email Karl Ziomek at firstname.lastname@example.org.