Society: COVID-19 doesn't stop people helping others

Chuck Bennett
Special to The Detroit News

Sandy Suisse, a bartender who works in Florida and in Macomb County, said it best: “Stay safe and keep spreading kindness, it's as contagious as the virus.”

Members of our community are stepping up to the plate with  random acts of kindness to help each other. From loaning someone the use of a vehicle to donating  thousands of dollars to feed the needy, Metro Detroiters are graciously lending a hand.

Photo #1: Personal trainer, Maurice Richardson, left, and his cousin, Lisa Mills (not shown) deliver new dryer to Jazmin Diggs, center, and family
photo by Lisa Mills

Oakland County Pilates queen Lisa Mills adopted a family through a program started by her friend, WDIV anchor Rhonda Walker. “When I met Jazmin Diggs at Rhonda’s annual event, I felt an immediate connection to her,” says Mills. “She’s a 31-year-old single mother of four, who recently transitioned out of Genesis Homeless Shelter into a home of her own.”

Mills and her friends immediately went to work donating furniture, appliances and gift cards. But a new problem arose during the COVID-19 crisis. “Her clothes dryer stopped working and the laundry mats are closed,” adds Mills. “Having four kids, that can create major problems.”

Mills called her cousin, personal trainer Maurice Richardson, who donated, delivered and installed the new dryer.

Detroit entrepreneur James Feagin’s wife, Zena, saw a social media post from the owner of Yum Village (they specialize in Afro-Caribbean Cuisine) stating he was having trouble getting food supplies on time due to COVID-19. “Since I was fortunate enough be sheltering in place last week and we have two vehicles, I let him use my 2016 Ram,” explains Feagin.

Celebrity Chef Bobby Nahra of Encore Catering has several stories about helping others. Most recently, he distributed 1,000 pounds of fresh gourmet fish that was donated by Fortune Fish CEO Sean O’Scannlain. “I took the fish to Capuchin Kitchen, Macomb Feeding the Need and St. Margaret Church,” says Nahra. “Their clients are currently dining on really good fish like ahi tuna and rainbow trout.”

Chef Bobby Nahra, left, and restaurateur Louie Bricolas give back to the community

Lawrence J. Burns, CEO of the Children's Foundation, just purchased thousands of dollars in gift cards for local needy families. The Children’s Foundation announced a community investment in children’s health with essential COVID-19 Emergency Response Funding. This will provide nearly a dozen local partners, including Encore Catering, with supplemental grant awards of up to $10,000 each during these unprecedented times.

Louie Bricolas, owner of Gilbert’s Lodge in St. Clair Shores, went above and beyond. Not only is he keeping his popular restaurant open for carryout orders, he is also donating 20 food trays a day to Macomb Feeding the Need. In addition, Bricolas reached out to his friend, Chef Bobby, who is on the board of Macomb Feeding the Need and arranged a food voucher program providing free food to its clients. “I’m fortunate,” says Bricolas. “I’ll be okay. I see this as an opportunity to help others whose lives are severely impacted by this dreadful situation. We’re in this together. Let’s help each other.”

Chuck Bennett is the Fox 2 News Style Ambassador and is the creator of