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April 30, 2014

Hope Garden gets help from Kohl’s workers, gift

By Brian Louwers
C & G Staff Writer

» click to enlarge «
Kohl’s associates put in work April 24 constructing a rain garden at the Hope Garden in Warren. The garden at The Woods Church on 13 Mile Road, supports the Hope Center in Macomb and in Fraser, and its Macomb Fresh program.

WARREN — Under partly sunny skies on a crisp spring day April 24, dozens of Kohl’s Department Stores employees volunteered their time to work at the Hope Garden, at The Woods Church on 13 Mile Road in Warren.

Their efforts, part of the Kohl’s Cares Associates in Action Initiative, supported the Hope Center in Macomb food pantry and its Macomb Fresh program, dedicated to providing nutrition and education for students by promoting community gardens at local schools.

Beyond the volunteer labor force that built a rain garden and prepared the Hope Garden’s grounds for planting, Kohl’s also showed up with a big financial gift as a sign of its commitment to the Hope Center and Macomb Fresh.

“April is our National Go Green Month,” said Kohl’s District Manager KC Schrade. “I have 45 volunteers here today. Because they’re donating their time, Kohl’s is donating $12,500.”

Schrade said the company had donated $10 million nationally over the last five years, and that 6,700 Kohl’s associates had volunteered on their own time during that period. She said that effort supports local communities through qualified nonprofits, like the Hope Center and its Macomb Fresh program.

“We feel like we’re really filling a big need,” Schrade said.

Macomb Fresh Program Director Rob Blehm said 60,000 children in Macomb County don’t know where their next meal will come from when they leave school on summer break. 

“Fresh produce from the Macomb Fresh school gardens ensures these kids have nutritious food to take home each day,” Blehm said.  “I’m utterly impressed. I’m very excited about the future relationship between Kohl’s and Macomb Fresh.”

Kohl’s already had been partnering to assist the Hope Center, even before the most recent donation. Schrade said Kohl’s donates $500 every time a group of five volunteers works at the pantry in Fraser.

“We couldn’t do it without dedicated volunteers, including the Kohl’s Cares team,” pantry manager Kimerie Guy said. “And every time they help out, we receive funding from Kohl’s Foundation that helps us purchase food from Gleaners (Community) Food Bank.”

For more information about the Hope Center and Macomb Fresh, visit www.HopeCenterMacomb.org.

You can reach C & G Staff Writer Brian Louwers at brianlouwers@candgnews.com or at (586)498-1089.