Ford Motor Co. is activating its idled shuttle buses to support southwest Detroit restaurants by offering free delivery service to local customers.

Michigan's stay-at-home order amid the COVID-19 outbreak has limited restaurants to carry-out and delivery services. To help generate additional revenue for those businesses, Ford is coordinating meal deliveries from Southwest Detroit Business Association restaurants free of charge.

"Small businesses like the restaurants in this program are vital not just to the economy but to the culture of our communities,” Pamela Alexander, director of community development at the Ford Motor Co. Fund, said in a statement. ”We are happy to be able to support them through this difficult time."

Residents living in the 48209, 42810 and 48216 ZIP codes are eligible to participate. They can order from any of the following restaurants to place their order and pay for their food:

  • Antojitos El Catracho located at 4627 W. Vernor – (313) 784-9361
  • El Asador Steakhouse located at 1312 Springwells – (313) 297-2360
  • Flowers of Vietnam located at 4440 W. Vernor – (313) 554-2085
  • Hygrade Deli located at 3640 Michigan – (313) 894-6620
  • Rincon Tropical located at 6538 Michigan – (313) 334-8526

The service is available from 5-9 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday for dinner, and from noon to 7:30 p.m. on Friday through Sunday for lunch and dinner.

Ford has sent the employees at its Dearborn headquarters to work from home for the most part. That has left idling its 20 transit vans typically employed to move people across its campus. The shuttles and their drivers now will make the delivery runs.

“The SDBA has identified many restaurants that do not have relationships with the well-known independent delivery services," Robert Dewaelsche, president of the business association, said in a statement. "And Ford's offer of its idled shuttle vehicles and drivers fills an immediate need and helps our businesses keep their staff working and able to serve their customers in a safe and efficient way.”

Ford also has removed the seats in the vans and some Lincoln Navigators SUVs used in another program to deliver meals from distribution centers in east and southwest Detroit to people who are vulnerable to COVID-19 and may not be able to go grocery shopping. It has partnered with Gleaners Community Food Bank, Focus: HOPE and Taylor-based Fish and Loaves to do so.

Twitter: @BreanaCNoble

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