To honor the many frontline workers who have worked diligently to help heal our community, The Charles J. Strosacker Foundation and United Way of Midland County came together to show the community’s gratitude in an innovative way.

They collaborated to send out notes of gratitude along with over $100,000 in gift cards to local businesses. Recipients included nonprofits and the many frontline employees at nursing homes and assisted living facilities.

“Our founder, Charles Strosacker, would have been extremely supportive of this investment in our community and recognition of the commitment of these frontline workers. The Foundation wanted to identify the hard work and compassion our nursing home caretakers do every day,” said Jim Borin, treasurer of Strosacker Foundation

Over 860 frontline workers at 15 nursing homes and assisted living facilities received gift cards, as well as 650 employees at 23 partner agencies.

“We can’t thank United Way and The Charles J. Strosacker Foundation enough for the generous gift for our essential workers at Midland King’s Daughters home,” said Becky Peters, Director of Social Work & Activities at Midland King’s Daughters Home. “What a Christmas blessing you have been to us. Some of the staff teared up when they opened it. I truly love my job—the elderly are my passion—but it’s been difficult to stay positive during this pandemic while watching staff and residents so sad. This was a much-needed cheer booster for us. Thank you again!”

United Way distributed gift cards from these local businesses:

  • Live Oak Coffeehouse
  • LaLonde’s Market
  • Jack’s Fruit Market
  • Pizza Sam’s
  • Molasses Smokehouse + Bar
  • Grove Tea Lounge
  • Eastman Party Store
  • Meijer
  • Biggby Coffee

“This project was a win-win,” said Nancy Money, Director of Community Impact at United Way of Midland County. “Not only were nonprofit employees thanked for the hard work and investment they make in our community every day, but local businesses—who are struggling in these challenging times—were also supported. We purchased 100 gift cards from a business who later said that we would never know the difference that this made for their business this Christmas.”

During the holiday season, United Way also partnered with MidMichigan Health to create the Adopt-A-Unit for Frontline Workers volunteer opportunity. Families, groups and businesses provided a basket or box of goodies for over 900 MidMichigan Health employees, including those working on all nursing units, Respiratory Care, Environmental Services, Transport and MidMichigan Emergency Medical Services.

Those who adopted a unit include:

  • Angela Sheets
  • The Laurie VanSlaars Family
  • Primrose Retirement Community of Midland
  • Casey Huffman and fellow MidMichigan Health co-workers
  • Julia Kepler and Friends
  • Three Rivers Corporation
  • John’s Episcopal Church
  • Jayme Larose and co-workers at Members First Credit Union
  • The Kim Gleason Family
  • Memorial Presbyterian Church
  • United Way of Midland County
  • Midland High School Student Council
  • The Ashley Baker Family
  • Sarah Opperman and Friends
  • TCF
  • First Baptist Church

They gifted employees with items such as festive headbands, hand lotion, lip balm, crossword puzzles/Sudoku/word searches, fruit, healthy snacks, gum, vitamin water, mini Christmas trees, and cards and notes of gratitude.

“This project has made MidMichigan Medical Center – Midland employees feel the real spirit of the season,” said Diana Brookens, manager of volunteers for MidMichigan Medical Center – Midland. “The gifts were so graciously accepted and the staff was clearly touched by the generosity of our community. We thank all of those who helped make the season bright for us.”

These efforts are one of the multiple ways that United Way aspires to continue to show appreciation for the community in 2021.

“The frontline workers in our community are true heroes,” said Holly Miller, president and CEO of United Way of Midland County. “These gratitude projects were a way for us to say, ‘We see you, we hear you, we care about you.’ They continue to spend countless hours away from their families in order to help our families get better, and we are beyond grateful.”