BATTLE CREEK, Michigan –
Associates at the Hart-Dole-Inouye Federal Center in Battle Creek, Michigan, support the US military all year, but as Christmas time draws near, they extend that support to their neighbors.
Working with the Salvation Army, groups of HDI employees adopted 135 local individuals, providing food and gifts for the holidays.
“We, as an organization, participate in several outreach projects in our Battle Creek community but this one generates a lot of excitement from our people,” said Peter Foreman, chief of staff for DLA Disposition Services. “Walking through here today, looking at what has been donated to help make a stranger’s Christmas a little better, makes me proud of our people.”
Elli Blonde, the project coordinator for Adopt a Family program and MWR marketing manager, stated that the families apply for assistance through the Salvation Army. The Salvation Army screens the applications before passing the need information on to the Federal Center team.
"We are so proud to see how this program has transformed over the years,” Blonde said. “Of the 72 families we assisted, each family had at least one veteran within it. We take our mission to support the Warfighter seriously and we are honored to be able to help them during a time of need.”
And that need was met when Blonde and her team of volunteers filled the Salvation Army’s gym with the donated items, from food for a Christmas feast to clothes, bikes and other toys.
“The generosity of all the workers at the Federal Center means that these families and individuals get food and gifts for Christmas,” said Salvation Army Major Kevin Van Zee, commander of the Battle Creek site.
He then added that their goal for the Christmas season and that the Federal Center workforce allows his people to help more individuals than they otherwise could.
“One of the most memorable donations today was a family of eight, with a ninth member due in three days, who had so many items donated they had to call for a second vehicle,” Blonde said. “To see a grown Marine with tears in his eyes from the overwhelming support he received was a really touching moment for all of us.”