The Escanaba and Marquette Meijer stores work together quite often, collaborating on store initiatives and regional projects. But in the course of their busy days, they don’t discuss everything. This spring, the Store Directors at each store left their Meijer Team Gives donations up to an internal store team decision, with team members nominating organizations that were special to them and then voting on the finalists. So, it was a surprise when the president of the Upper Peninsula Honor Flight let them know that they had both chosen his organization to receive $5,000, for a combined $10,000 donation.
“We had no idea that we both picked the Upper Peninsula Honor Flight, but it makes sense,” said John Spaulding, Marquette Meijer Store Director. “This is a really special organization that means a lot to families in the U.P. and we’re glad to help them in an even bigger way.”
Meijer Team Gives is a program that empowers each store and distribution facility to donate to one nonprofit in their community. Team members at each location work together to identify the local nonprofits meaningful to them and the communities they serve. This year, Meijer hosted a special edition of the program in the spring in addition to the annual fall donations.
“It was quite a surprise to get this donation from two different stores, and we feel very fortunate and blessed,” said Scott Knauf, President of the Upper Peninsula Honor Flight. “It means we have an impact across the U.P. and specifically that we’ve touched lives in these two communities.”
Upper Peninsula Honor Flight is part of the Honor Flight Network, a nonprofit created to honor America’s veterans for their sacrifices. The organization transports veterans to Washington, D.C. at no cost to visit and reflect at the memorials that stand in their honor. Airfare, meals, deluxe tour bus, T-shirt and other items are provided to the attending veterans.
“Our team members all agreed this was an amazing organization giving this opportunity to veterans, especially since so many team members have a veteran in their life that is special to them,” said Shane Forshey, Escanaba Meijer Store Director. “Meijer invests in the communities we serve, and this organization is serving the veterans who fought for our country with such an amazing experience that we wanted to help.”
The organization’s next flight to Washington D.C. is Sept. 13. The cost to the organization is about $130,000 per flight, and those funds are raised solely through donations to ensure the trip is provided to veterans at no cost.