Meridian Volunteers Distribute Coats and Meals for Fifth Consecutive Year

Feb 15, 2023

* Meridian volunteers in front of the Bed & Bread® Truck. Far left: Jamie Winkler, executive director, The Salvation Army Great Lakes Harbor Light System.

For the fifth year in a row, The Salvation Army of Metro Detroit partnered with Meridian to serve meals from The Salvation Army’s Bed & Bread trucks and distributed nearly 140 coats, gloves and hats to Detroit residents in need.

Volunteers from Meridian, a Detroit health insurance company and proud supporter of the Bed & Bread program, along with Patricia Graham, Plan President and CEO, Meridian in Michigan, arrived with their President and CEO, Patricia Graham to the Detroit Harbor Light System facility last Friday.

The Salvation Army of Metro Detroit has had a special relationship with Meridian for years and its Medical Respite program was started with the encouragement and direction of Meridian. Medical Respite helps people who have been recently discharged from a hospital receive recuperative support prior to returning to home; a service particularly helpful for the homeless. 

“We love getting involved in our communities, but Salvation Army has been such a great partner. One of the most important things we can do is support those in our community,” said Patricia Graham.

* Patricia Graham, Plan President and CEO, Meridian in Michigan unloads coats into the truck.

Meridian volunteers began their day touring the Detroit Harbor Light System’s newly renovated kitchen which was recently celebrated with a ribbon cutting ceremony.

According to Chef Michael Block, “The goal in the kitchen is to capture food waste and with the help of volunteers, quickly turn it into an actual meal for not only the people in our shelter and program, but people out on the street.”

Volunteers then helped load the Bed & Bread trucks with donated coats and food cooked in the kitchen: beef stew, hot chocolate, sandwiches and snacks. Typically, around 3,000 to 5,000 meals are served every day.

*Meridian volunteers load sandwiches onto the truck.

After loading the trucks, Meridian volunteers had a chance to ride on the Bed & Bread trucks along its route, which makes 60 stops daily, seven days a week.

At the stops, recipients eagerly lined up for food and winter clothes. One asked if there were blankets and hearing that there were coats and other winter clothes, excitedly went to the back of the truck to receive one.

*Bed & Bread recipients stand in line for food.

Angela Motley, a longtime beneficiary of the Salvation Army’s services put this excitement into words:

“Salvation Army benefits us a whole lot. They help with food in the day and even in the evening time. And they provide blankets for us, coats, hats, gloves. And sometimes they just let us come up there and talk if you need to talk.”

Meridian volunteers had an opportunity to see the good done by the Bed & Bread program up close and personal, from the renovated kitchen to those benefiting on the street. The Salvation Army of Metro Detroit is grateful for their support.

If you would like to follow their example and support the Salvation Army’s programs, you can donate or volunteer.

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