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Detroit — Convoy of Hope is providing more than $1 million in free goods and services Saturday to city residents.

Working in cooperation with the city of Detroit and 30 Metro Detroit ministries, the faith-based international humanitarian organization expects to provide free groceries, clothing, haircuts, job training and other services to around 6,500 Detroit residents from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. in Bishop Park, which is adjacent to Northwestern High School.

The event kicks off a commitment to deliver an additional $5 million in goods and services to Detroit residents over the next five years.

"A lot of the residents here live in hopelessness," said Herald Sallee, regional director of Convoy of Hope of Michigan. "Our goal is to share love and kindness. Jesus said to give a cold cup of water; that's what we're going to do."

The event will offer health services, haircuts and family portraits as well as connect guests with community, education, jobs and veterans services. Local businesses also have donated 10,000 hot dogs, buns and bags of chips to feed guests. Children can enjoy about a dozen inflatables the group will set up in the park.

Employers partnering with Michigan Works! Association and Greenhorn Training Solutions will be present to speak with residents and provide information on 300 positions they are hiring. The groups also will set up guests for four-week training and certification programs to prepare them for positions in restaurant management, security, information technology services, sales, trucking and other jobs in the city and surrounding communities.

"Right now, we find a lot of folks aren't aware of a lot of folks have a lot of barriers to living-wage careers in the city of Detroit," said Scott Meloeny, co-founder of Greenhorn Training. "They need an access point that can meet them where they're at. That's what Greenhorn Training Solutions provides."

Convoy of Hope most recently held a similar event in Detroit around the 2006 Super Bowl. 

Bishop Andrew Merritt, Straight Gate International Church's senior pastor, led the effort to bring Convoy of Hope to Detroit back after seeing the group serve in Flint in 2016; it brought 400 semis with bottled water to the city.

"Our community is coming back," Merritt said. "How do we touch people? We do so by helping people, by offering hope."

Volunteers have handed out 65,000 fliers to the surrounding neighborhoods for Convoy of Hope's returning event. Merritt said the group plans to hold even bigger events in the city's neighborhoods in future years.

Alexis Wiley, chief of staff to Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan, said that continued partnership is what is most exciting about Saturday's event.

"What we see around us is faith in action," Wiley said. "I am so excited to see what is going to happen here tomorrow, the lives that are going to be changed, the people who are going to be empowered because that's what we need to be doing as a community."

bnoble@detroitnews.com

 

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