VISIT Milwaukee, Donya’s Florals and TCF Center Lend a Helping Hand to Communities

August 3, 2020

Whether supplying protective face masks to local residents, helping young students with their career plans or working to combat food insecurity, these event destinations, venues and vendors haven’t allowed the pandemic to slow their CSR efforts.

VISIT Milwaukee Helps Supply Milwaukeeans With Free Face Masks 

To help Milwaukee residents stay safe and healthy while complying with the new City of Milwaukee MKE Cares mask ordinance that went into effect on July 16, VISIT Milwaukee and the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce have teamed up to provide Milwaukeeans with free protective face masks. As part of the MaskUpMKE initiative, VISIT Milwaukee staff delivered 50,000 Fam Brands masks to 42 CITGO stations on July 27. The masks will be available at the stations on a first-come, first-serve basis while supplies last.

“The data tells us that wearing masks is vital to helping our tourism economy return while keeping our hospitality workers and all Milwaukee residents safe and healthy,” said Peggy Williams-Smith, president and CEO of VISIT Milwaukee. “We are excited to partner with the MMAC and CITGO on this initiative and do our part to get masks into the hands of every Milwaukeean.”

The public-private partnership is also supported by the City of Milwaukee Health Department, whose officials lauded the effort.

By making masks free and easily available throughout the community, the hope is that more people will wear them, said Steve Baas, senior vice president of governmental affairs at MMAC. 

“Our focus is on encouraging businesses and individuals to exercise responsible freedom and best practices for controlling the spread of this virus,” Baas said. “The sooner we can reduce the number of COVID-19 cases, the sooner we can fully reopen our economy.”

Resident Florist at Greater Columbus Convention Center Welcomes Student Interns

On July 17, the Greater Columbus Convention Center’s resident florist, Donya’s Florals, celebrated its sixth anniversary by welcoming three high school student interns from Leading The Way Learning Academy. Founded in 2014, LTWLA provides youth development and workforce services in Franklin County for students ranging from kindergarten through high school seniors. 


Through LTWLA’s Youth Internship Program, the three students are learning botany, retail sales, event planning, floral design and marketing, client relationship marketing and management, basic flower/plant care and handling, event and hospitality services, marketing communication and sales, cost of goods sold and buying, pricing, promoting, packaging and distributing goods for retail. 

“These are three amazing interns learning from beginning to end to process an order,” said Donya Lewis, owner of Donya’s Florals, which opened at the GCCC in February 2018. “They work collaboratively, know how to crank out a contract, call the courier and help them navigate getting here.”

Lewis said she learned about the opportunity to host interns during an LTWLA presentation at the Central Ohio African American Chamber of Commerce – of which the GCCC is also a member – and volunteered to participate. 

So far, Lewis’s intern team has worked on a variety of orders, including one for the YWCA Women of Achievement festivities, and three upcoming weddings in which each intern has been dedicated to one bride.  

Detroit’s TCF Center Helps Food Rescue US Combat Hunger

Since June, the TCF Center has been serving as a food distribution hub for the Detroit Chapter of Food Rescue US, a nonprofit organization that rescues excess fresh food from restaurants, grocers, bakers, caterers, farmer’s markets, company cafeterias and other local food establishments, then donates it to hunger relief organizations.

So far, the agency has distributed 270,000 pounds of meat, fresh produce and packaged foods from the venue’s loading docks to local food redistribution agencies in Southeast Michigan.

Each Friday, the Detroit chapter of the Food Rescue US volunteer network works alongside TCF Center employees on the venue’s loading docks to collect tons of food from local restaurants, grocers and other food providers. The donations are then organized for local nonprofit agencies and churches to pick up and redistribute to people in need in the Southeast Michigan area.

“We hope to continue the Food Rescue US operation on the docks at least through August,” said Claude Molinari, general manager of TCF Center. “It is a big part of our Corporate Responsibility Program to provide opportunities to local residents in need, and we are pleased to do it.”

According to Food Rescue US officials, an estimated one in seven Americans are struggling with food insecurity during the pandemic. Through the use of its proprietary app, the organization provides the platform for volunteer food rescuers to directly transfer excess food from businesses to local social service agencies that feed hungry citizens. 

The organization has been working closely with The Farmlink Project, a grassroots movement striving to prevent food waste during the COVID-19 pandemic by linking farms experiencing extreme surplus due to reduced commercial orders to local agencies that pick the food up from locations such as the TCF Center. 


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