COVID-19 Update: HFHS Raises Minimum Wage to $15/Hour, Little Caesars and DoorDash Expand Partnership, 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.
map of Michigan coronavirus cases
Courtesy of Bridge, as of Oct. 10

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.

Henry Ford Among the First Michigan Health Systems to Raise Minimum Wage to $15 Per Hour
Henry Ford Health System will raise the hourly minimum wage of full-time, part-time, and contingent team members to $15 per hour, among the first health care systems in Michigan to do so. The increase took effect Oct. 11 and includes more than 3,000 frontline team members not currently earning at least $15 per hour.

“As a health care organization deeply rooted in our communities for more than a century, we know our mission to improve people’s lives extends beyond what we have historically defined as ‘healthcare and healing,’” says Wright Lassiter, III, president and CEO of HFHS. “We have a critical role to play in removing barriers to opportunity and achieving equity for all – and our team members are a crucial part of the communities we all serve.”

Team members in more than 100 benefits-eligible job descriptions will receive the increase, including environmental services associates, nurse assistants, food services assistants, health screeners, clinic services representatives, and many others. This adjustment also includes approximately 400 union members.

“We are humbled by the passion and dedication of our 33,000 team members who work tirelessly every day in our local communities,” says Nina Ramsey, senior vice president and chief human resources officer at HFHS. “This wage increase for so many of our frontline essential workers is really the beginning of our journey to provide a differentiated experience for all of our team members – rooted in our mission and core values.”

Little Caesars and DoorDash Expand Marketplace Partnership
Little Caesars and DoorDash today announced a major expansion of their exclusive partnership, extending the availability of Little Caesars delivery to the DoorDash app and website.

Little Caesars delivery, already available directly through the Little Caesars app and website in the U.S. and Canada, also will now be available on DoorDash’s third-party delivery marketplace for the first time.

“Little Caesars is committed to providing quality, convenience, and value to our customers, which is why earlier this year, we partnered with DoorDash to make fast and affordable Little Caesars delivery possible through the Little Caesars app and website,” says Ed Gleich, senior vice president of innovation at Little Caesars. “Today, we’re excited to expand our product availability to the DoorDash app so pizza lovers can have even more options for having America’s best value delivered right to their door.”

The news comes nearly 10 months after the two companies teamed up to offer delivery through the Little Caesars app and website for the first time in Little Caesars’ 60-year history.

Little Caesars offers contactless options for both delivery and carry-out through the Little Caesars app and website, and now also through the DoorDash app.

Customers getting pizza delivered will experience a contactless drop-off of their order. The chain has also reinforced cleanliness and sanitization procedures, increasing the frequency of cleaning commonly touched surfaces including door handles, glass, countertops, Pizza Portal surfaces, phones, and cash registers. Pizzas are baked in 475-degree ovens and never touched after baking.

“During this unprecedented time, DoorDash’s goal has been to empower its partners to build and grow their off-premise channels, whether through their own app, in-store with pickup, or through our marketplace,” says Toby Espinosa, vice president of business development at DoorDash. “The Hot-N-Ready model was built on ease, value, and efficiency, and we’re proud to expand our exclusive partnership with Little Caesars to continue to build a lasting off-premise strategy that matches the legacy they’ve worked decades to achieve.”

Nonprofit Friendship Circle Purchases Dakota Bread Co.
Friendship Circle, the West Bloomfield Township-based nonprofit that supports people with special needs, purchased Dakota Bread Co., a West Bloomfield Township, to further its mission of helping adults with special needs find job training opportunities.

The bakery, known for its challah bread, will close Oct. 16-18 to transition to a kosher-certified menu. It will reopen under Friendship Circle management on Oct. 19, with a ribbon cutting ceremony at 11 a.m. on Oct. 20

“We purchased Dakota Bread Co. because we saw the opportunity to further our mission of helping adults with special needs find job training opportunities at the bakery,” says Bassie Shemtov, co-founder of Friendship Circle. “The most important thing you can do for individuals with special needs is fill their day with purpose in a way that includes them in the community, and this bakery will do exactly that.

“Dakota Bread Co. is a well-known and admired business in the community, and we’re grateful for the opportunity to build upon that legacy and become even more engrained in the metro Detroit community.”

Friendship Circle also operates Soul Café and Soul Café Training Program.

The organization has retained all 11 employees of Dakota Bread Co. and vows to not change the challah recipe. The current staff will continue in their respective roles, in addition to helping train adults with special needs. Shalom Shomer, current director of Soul Café, Epic Kosher, and Milk & Honey, will direct the bakery, and Friendship Circle will hire an additional staff member to manage the full bakery training program.

For more information, visit here.

DTE Energy Music Theatre to Present Magic of Lights Nov. 13-Jan. 2
Following the popularity of its Jurassic Quest summer drive-through dinosaur exhibition, DTE Energy Music Theatre in Clarkston will present Magic of Lights during the holiday season.

Magic of Lights is a 1.5-mile drive-through display of various holiday themed light features using the latest LED technology and digital animations, including the all new drive-through Blizzard Tunnel as well as returning favorites including 12 Days of Christmas, Winter Wonderland, and The Night Before Christmas. All experienced from the comfort and safety of their own cars. The event’s soundtrack is available via an FM signal on-site.

The festive display, which includes more than 1 million lights and takes three weeks to assemble, has played annually in New York, Cleveland and several other markets.

Magic of Lights will open each day at 5 p.m. and run through 10 p.m. on Sunday through Thursday, and until 11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.

Visit here for tickets.

Gardner-White Opens New Rochester Hills Store
Auburn Hills-based furniture retailer Gardner-White is opening a new store in Rochester Hills (1032 S. Rochester Road) on Oct. 17. Grand opening festivities will begin at 9:30 a.m. on both Oct. 17 and Oct. 24.

“Bring your family and enjoy our beautiful new store and lots of fun,” says Rachel Stewart, president of Gardner-White. “We’ll celebrate a great fall season, complete with music, clowns, radio station DJs, games, balloon twisters, and cider and donuts from Yates Cider Mill.”

The official ribbon cutting, which will be attended by Rochester Hills Mayor Bryan Barnett and Rochester Regional Chamber Vice President Maggie Bobitz, will take place Oct. 17 at 10 a.m.

The 48,000-square-foot store includes the all-new Gardner-White Design Studio and Clearance Center, with furniture and mattresses for all types of interiors and budgets. The store features top furniture brands like Rowe, Century, Southern Motion, Flexsteel and more. Bedding options include Tempur-Pedic, Beautyrest, Serta, Aireloom, Stearns & Foster, and Sealy.

“Gardner-White prides itself on caring for families in our community,” says Stewart. “We will honor Neighborhood House of Rochester with a $2,500 donation and a holiday food drive during the celebration. Canned goods and nonperishable food items will be collected to support those in our community experiencing food shortage through Nov. 13.”

The company is hiring and invites applicants to visit here.

HHS Awards $30M in Funding for Youth Runaway and Homeless Shelters
The U.S. Health and Human Services Administration recently awarded approximately $30 million in awards to 158 community-based organizations to allow them to help reunite youth with their families and provide mental and physical health services, food, clothing, and emergency shelter for runaway or homeless youth.

Local organizations receiving funds include Detroit’s Alternatives for Girls ($200,000), Grand Rapids’ Arbor Circle Corp. ($199,805), Mount Pleasant’s Crisis Center Inc. ($130,674), and Pinckney’s Livingston Family Center ($200,000),

“For nearly a half-century, our runaway and homeless youth programs have helped some of the most vulnerable young people get back on their feet by providing services that help with employment readiness, education, and long-term and emergency access to shelter and support,” says Elizabeth Darling, commissioner for the Administration on Children, Youth, and Families. “These awards show our continued commitment to helping young people during a tough period in their lives by providing access to essential needs, individual and family counseling services and safe and stable housing.”

Awardees of the program are expected to operate with a Positive Youth Development framework to consistently support youth in identifying their strengths and use their skills for personal growth, development and success.

“Connecting homeless and runaway youth with community and faith-based organizations and street outreach workers who can help them address specific needs is a crucial step to helping runaway and homeless youth obtain shelter and prepare for a better future,” said Darling.

The lists of the awardees can be found here and here.