For many seniors, the holidays can be isolating, especially during a pandemic when they need to social distance for safety. While the holidays look different this year in many ways, a special tradition endures at DTE: delivering warm holiday meals to seniors – our friends, family members and neighbors – through Meals on Wheels.
For the past 11 years, DTE employees, their family members and friends, have volunteered to support the annual Holiday Meals on Wheels events throughout December, packing, serving and delivering meals to seniors in communities across Michigan. Volunteer opportunities were a little different this year, but we’re proud to say we rolled up our sleeves, put on our masks and found new ways to serve our communities. Thanks to our longstanding relationship with the Detroit Area Agency on Aging and other organizations, we were able to create a safe plan to deliver meals and cheer despite the new challenges brought on by the pandemic.
On Christmas morning, DTE volunteers distributed meals in 27 cities. To keep volunteers and recipients safe, meals were left on seniors’ porches and in building lobbies to adhere to social distancing guidelines – and delivery vans were restricted to DTE volunteers from the same households. The DTE Foundation also provided over $150,000 in grants to support the program.
Since volunteer numbers were reduced to ensure the safety and well-being team members and the customers, a new virtual option was added to the program to allow more of our employees to get involved. Prior to Christmas volunteers called 17,541 seniors to wish them happy holiday and to spread some joy in their lives.
Making a positive impact in the communities where DTE’s 10,000-plus employees live and serve is at the core of our aspiration to be a force for good – and it’s more important than ever during the holiday season, especially during these challenging and uncertain times.
Consider calling or writing a senior in your life to remind them they’re not alone and that you’re thinking of them. Join us in (safely) spreading holiday cheer to one another.