Part of the joy that comes with the holiday season are the abundant opportunities to give back and help support those in need. Here at Progressive AE, we strongly believe our donation of time and gifts can positively affect lives and help build a stronger community. In fact, building community and leading by serving others are two of Progressive AE’s core values.

Each year around the holiday season our staff-led CORE committee, which provides year-round volunteer opportunities for employees, rallies the troops to support local charities and those in need. This year the committee chose to fulfill wish lists from D.A. Blodgett – St. John’s and the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans.

The Grand Rapids Home for Veterans is a long-term care facility that is the home to more than 500 service members. This year, Progressive AE staff filled more than 40 holiday gift “stars” for residents. This included basic needs like toothbrushes, as well as personal items and gift cards to local stores and restaurants. The event was led by Senior Engineering Technician Doug Metivier.

D.A. Blodgett – St. John’s provides a wide variety of child and family-based services. Progressive AE was given the Christmas wish lists of five children from D.A. Blodgett – St. John’s residential program. Through teamwork and incredible generosity, every item on the wish lists – from ping pong balls to bikes and skateboards – was purchased. The drive was led by Senior Living Practice Leader Laurie Placinski.

happy holidays, 2015, gift giving

Staff organize and pack gifts bought for kids at D.A. Blodgett – St. John’s

In total, an estimated $3,000 was spent to fulfill these needs and wishes.

Progressive AE’s CORE committee provides a number of volunteer opportunities each year. In 2015 alone the committee organized monthly opportunities to give back. Some of these included:

  • A “Spirit Week” during the week of the Michigan/Michigan State football game including a chili cook-off, bake sale and kick-off breakfast. $8,500 was raised in total and donated to the United Way. Clothing items were also collected and donated to In The Image, a non-profit that provides clothing, furniture and other items to people in need.
  • A “Stuff the Bus” event before the start of the school year collected school supplies for local children and money for shoes as part of In the Image’s S.H.O.E.S campaign.
  • In May, staff picked apples that were donated to the Kids Food Basket and Mobile Food Pantry. More than 75 bags were donated.
  • Each month staff donated time to help hand out roughly 5,000 pounds of food with the Mobile Food Pantry.
  • Money collected from March Madness brackets was donated to Streams of Hope’s Homework and Hoops. The program provides tutoring, meals and a chance to play basketball with friends for local high school students.
  • Staff organized two events for Hope Lodge, a free residence for cancer patients and their caregivers. The first was a “soup mission” that took place in the winter. The second was a donation of time and money to prepare and serve a meal.
  • Two elementary schools from Kent City School District received new Ga-ga Pits. Ga-ga is a variant of dodgeball but is played with a single ball.

As 2016 quickly approaches, we look forward to finding new ways to serve and give back to our community. Here’s to a safe and Happy New Year!