COVID-19 Update: Forgotten Harvest and Detroit Athletic Club Provide Thanksgiving Support, National Flavors Adds Organic Certified Chocolate and Other Flavors, and More

Here is a roundup of the latest news concerning the COVID-19 pandemic in addition to announcements from local, state, and federal governments, as well as international channels. To share a business or nonprofit story, please send us a message.
graph of daily Michigan coronavirus cases
Courtesy of Bridge

Here is a roundup of the latest news concerning the COVID-19 pandemic in addition to announcements from local, state, and federal governments, as well as international channels. To share a business or nonprofit story, please send us a message.

Forgotten Harvest and DAC Join Forces for Thanksgiving Assistance
Forgotten Harvest in Oak Park and the Detroit Athletic Club are collaborating to ensure that 3,500 food-insecure families in metro Detroit have a turkey to enjoy on Thanksgiving. Member donations to the DAC Cares Fund – a program of the DAC Foundation – are paying for the turkeys, and DAC members and staff are volunteering their time to pack each bird in a bag and assist in delivery.

“The donations from DAC members will help Forgotten Harvest provide a turkey for almost everyone at our distribution sites just in time for Thanksgiving,” says Kirk Mayes, CEO of Forgotten Harvest and a DAC member. “We hope the holidays are a time that brings families together and Forgotten Harvest and our partners like the Detroit Athletic Club membership want to help make that possible for as many metro Detroiters as we can.”

Last spring, the DAC Cares Fund assisted Forgotten Harvest with community food support at the onset of the coronavirus pandemic.

National Flavors Adds Organic Certified Chocolate and Other Flavors
National Flavors, the Kalamazoo-based producer of flavors and extracts, has expanded its assortment of certified organic flavors. The launch is in response to the recent National Organic Program ruling requiring manufacturers of organic foods and beverages to incorporate “organic certified” flavors whenever available.

National Flavors’ organic certified flavor assortment targets the sweet snacks and baked goods categories, which led the organic launch activity in 2020. The initial 14-SKU lineup includes the top 5 flavors from 2020 launches: chocolate, coconut, vanilla, banana, and cinnamon.

The NOP’s ruling will broaden organic flavor use and address consumer expectations about organic products. Organics are becoming mainstream, with 80 percent of consumers buying from the sector, according to a 2020 survey from The Hartmann Group. Consumer interest spurred North American product launches, which increased 13 percent in 2019 as reported by Mintel and drove sales up 4.6 percent to $50 billion.

“Our teams recognized a need in the market and developed solutions,” says Brian Briggs, CEO of National Flavors. “By providing more organic certified flavors, we’re ensuring our customers’ success with flavors that align with regulatory requirements and help them achieve their growth goals by serving up delicious tastes to consumers.”

Each of National Flavors’ organic certified flavors complies with USDA regulations, meeting the requirements for organic composition (95/5), organic processing, and organic labeling.

Manufacturers can receive samples of certified organic flavors with a free Flavorush account, a feature of National Flavors’ online customer portal. Samples ship in 24 hours and tech docs are available on demand. The company also provides tested usage rates as a starting point for product developers.

Detroit Tree Lighting to be Broadcast Only Event Nov. 20
The 17th Annual Detroit Tree Lighting is being reimagined as a broadcast-only experience by the Downtown Detroit Partnership, WXYZ-TV7, and the DTE Foundation at 7:30 p.m. on Nov. 20.

The event, which will switch on 19,000 lights on the Michigan-grown tree in Campus Martius Park, will be pre-recorded. The “Light Up the Season” tree lighting special will be televised on WXYZ-TV7.

The broadcast will include performances by Motown great Smokey Robinson, U.S. figure skating champion and Olympian Karen Chen, actor and comedian Tim Allen, Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan, ice dancing duo Christina Carreira and Anthony Ponomarenko, and The Salvation Army.

“Detroit’s Annual Tree Lighting is Detroit’s most cherished tradition for families across the state of Michigan, and officially kicks off the start of the 2020 holiday season in downtown Detroit,” says Robert Gregory, chief planning and public spaces officer at the Downtown Detroit Partnership. “Now more than ever before, we need joy, comfort, and hope this holiday season and this year will be the best show yet. While Detroit’s Annual Tree Lighting will be virtual, we encourage families and friends to join us downtown throughout the season to ice skate, shop, dine and support the downtown community.”

Even though the public won’t be able to gather together for tree lighting, holiday celebrations continue from November through March with an emphasis on visitor safety. DDP says it is preparing to deliver a re-envisioned lineup of holiday and winter events and activations – all outdoors – with the whole family in mind. They include:

  • Holiday shopping. All of downtown’s small businesses and restaurants offer in the safest possible patronage with physical-distancing guidelines, mask requirements, and other preventative COVID-19 safety measures in place.
  • The Rink at Campus Martius Park. The ice rink in the heart of downtown Detroit will open to the public Friday, Nov. 13. It will be open seven days a week, including holidays, through March 7, 2021. Tickets can be purchased here. Parking can be reserved in advance here.
  • Light Up Beacon Park and Detroit’s Children’s Tree. A full list of activities is available here.

A full season of winter events in Beacon Park, Cadillac Square, Campus Martius Park, Capitol Park, and Grand Circus Park will be announced soon.

Auto Analysts to Host Mobility Innovations Summit Nov. 18
The Birmingham-based Society of Automotive Analysts is hosting its fifth annual Mobility Innovations Summit virtually from 10-11:30 a.m. on Nov. 18.

The summit will feature Matt Tsien, chief technology officer at General Motors Co., and president of GM Ventures; and Abey Abraham of DuckerFrontier. Gary Vasilash, editor-in-chief of the AutoBeat Group, will serve as moderator.

The vent also will include presentations by the four finalists and announcement of the winners of the SAA’s Mobility Innovation Awards.

To register, visit here.

Townsend Hotel’s Rigby Grille Introduces New Cocktails To-go
Birmingham’s Townsend Hotel’s Rugby Grille Restaurant is introducing three new bottled cocktails to-go.

The series includes The Rugby Old Fashioned, the hotel restaurant’s best seller. This bottle contains three old fashioneds, made from a split spirit of both rye, and a locally distilled bourbon, Butcher’s Cut from Detroit City Distillery. It also contains unrefined sugar, and a blend of bitters to compliment the complex flavors of the bourbon and rye blend.

There is also the Morning Meadow, a Collins made from calendula flower infused vodka, chamomile honey, the aperitif Suze, fresh lemon, and a spritz of orange flower water.

The third cocktail to-go is A Lavender Derby, a play on the traditional Brown Derby cocktail, that blends lavender honey, bourbon, grapefruit cinnamon cordial, fresh lemon and grapefruit juices, and a dash of Tiki bitters to layer the baking spice notes.

“It was very exciting to see our Rugby Grille team utilizing local brands like Detroit City Distillery, to create modern riffs on true classic cocktails,” says Mallery Heise, beverage manager at the Townsend. “Our staff took the initiative, recognizing the demand for an at-home, craft cocktail experience. They then got to work, selecting the very best ingredients, many locally sourced, for making high-quality bottled cocktails. This line of cocktails to-go is a true testament to our staff and their drive to create something special for our visiting guest experience.”

Officials say the Rugby Grille will be further expanding its to-go offerings in the near future to include: holiday cocktails, a series of Manhattans, and larger-format punches, for entertaining at home. In addition, any of its current menu drinks can be bottled to-go. All Rugby Grille cocktails to go can be purchased within the Rugby Grille, during normal restaurant hours.

They also can be ordered online, here and via phone at 248=642-5999.

JVS Human Services, TCF Bank Offer Assistance to Low-income Homeowners
JVS Human Services, a Southfield-based nonprofit, has launched a new financial initiative to help low- to moderate-income families in Oakland County called the HarMoney Program.

Through the program, made possible by a $50,000 grant from TCF Bank’s Community Impact Fund, qualified families can receive up to $1000 down payment assistance on a home or for repairing their financial credit to help them qualify for home ownership, after successful completion of a 12-week financial education course. Up to 40 qualified families will benefit from the initiative which will launch Nov. 9 at 3 p.m. via Facebook Live.

“Around 75 percent of the calls we receive into our financial coaching department is about home ownership, with one of the largest barriers being the inability to fund a down payment,” says Laltsha Cunningham, financial capability supervisor at JVS Human Services. “Through HarMoney we now we can provide a little extra help, to push struggling families over the finishing line.

“We decided to call the program HarMoney, because so many in the population are not in harmony with their finances, which is incredibly stressful, particularly now during this unprecedented time.”

The aim of the HarMoney Program is help families gain the knowledge to manage their money more effectively, learn skills such as budgeting and credit repair, and understand the path to home ownership. The HarMoney Program components include:

  • 12 weeks of interactive financial education workshops (1-2 hours per week).
  • Eight individual financial coaching sessions.
  • Referrals to organizations that focus on income support and career development.
  • Development of a credit repair strategy.
  • Credit report pulls at the start, midway and conclusion of the program.
  • Down payment assistance of up to $1000 per family after successful program completion.

“TCF is a purpose-driven company, passionate about building stronger individuals, businesses, and communities,” says Laura Castone, market manager of community development at TCF Bank. “TCF’s Community Impact Fund supports local organizations because we know that together, we can do even more good in the communities where we live and serve.”

Potential applicants to the HarMoney Program must be low- to moderate-income based on HUD income limits and have a current credit score at or below 620. For more information applicants can email, call 248.233.4299, or visit here.

In Related News: JVS Human Services has launched a free, four-week program on Zoom called the “Work from Home Success Group” and has made it available to all Michiganders.

In the group, human resource and career experts at JVS Human Services offer tips, suggestions, and new perspectives for Michiganders now working from home and trying to find a good balance in this new normal. Discussion topics will include 10-minute chair yoga, stress management, and the use of software to increase productivity. The four-week session will take place Nov. 11-18, Dec. 2-9, and will meet from 11 a.m. to noon via Zoom. To register for the new program click here.

“Whether balancing work expectations with school demands, dealing with stress and isolation or even coping with the physical discomfort of being stuck at a desk all day, we are here to help,” says Jason Charnas, director of business and career development at JVS Human Services. “The new normal doesn’t feel that normal and we could all do with some extra support.”