CARES in Farmington Hills, Michigan, offers comprehensive support services to individuals and families in their service area who are in need or have limited access to everyday necessities due to insufficient financial resources or family instability.
CARES stands for Community Action Resources Empowerment Services. What started as a small food pantry operating out of a church has grown over the years into a multifaceted nonprofit serving over 600 families each month.
CARES provides nine communities in the greater Detroit area with access to food and personal care items — as well as social services. A full-service market, sponsored by Busch’s Fresh Food Market, serves all community members. Proceeds from the market support the free food pantry.
Care for the whole person
According to the Food Security Council of Michigan, approximately 1.9 million Michiganders were struggling to buy the healthy food they need in 2020 and 2021, and the need continues. To better serve people experiencing the fear and stress of wondering where their next meal will come from, CARES offers additional services to support all aspects of well-being — mind, body and soul.
“The insurance industry tends to attract people who want to help.”
– Kim Bergstrom, owner, Bergstrom Insurance Agency
The organization hosts recovery programs and facilitates access to other community and county support services, such as Women Infant & Children (WIC), Veterans Services, Rebuilding Together SE MI (home repairs for low-income families) and Another Day Resource Center (supporting homeless individuals with food and clothing).
Kindness builds community
In the summer of 2022, Bergstrom Insurance Agency owners Kim Bergstrom and Erica Bergstrom-West began discussing with Erin Dougherty, office manager at Bergstrom, ways to give back to their community in a direct and tangible way. Erica proposed reaching out to CARES’ director of business and volunteer development, Marcia Rodeheffer, with whom she’d worked previously.
“CARES is very fortunate to have wonderful business partners like Bergstrom Insurance Agency. Thanks to their generous support, our pantry is stocked with needed items every month.”
– Marcia Rodeheffer, Director of Business and Volunteer Development, CARES
Erin toured the CARES complex with Marcia and discovered that CARES has a constant need for non-food items like shampoo, conditioner, soap, diapers and baby wipes. “No one should have to experience the indignity of going without basic necessities. That’s why we’re committed to helping CARES keep pantries stocked,” says Kim, adding, “The insurance industry tends to attract people who want to help.” To address the need, Bergstrom staff decided to set up a permanent collection bin in their Farmington Hills office.
Supporting dignity and respect for all
But their efforts didn’t stop there. This spring the agency sent postcards to more than 1,200 clients to raise awareness of the CARES mission and encourage donations. As a result, CARES received generous donations of items as well as funding.
Every month, Erin brings much-needed items from Bergstrom’s collection bin to help stock the CARES pantry. “CARES is very fortunate to have wonderful business partners like Bergstrom Insurance Agency. Thanks to their generous support, our pantry is stocked with needed items every month,” says Marcia.
You can make a difference
Your vote can help ensure CARES can continue to serve their community now and for years to come as the donation will be used directly to purchase the food to feed 600+ families each month. Help Bergstrom Insurance Agency win an additional $5,000 for CARES in Farmington Hills by clicking the vote button. Get them an extra vote by cheering them on in the comments below by July 31, 2023.