Detroit — Christopher Ilitch, interviewed on Fox Network's Fox and Friends program Thursday morning, didn’t have an answer for when his baseball and hockey teams might be back at work. But he offered a strong suggestion on how to best get through these uncertain times during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“In tough times, good people rise up and that’s happening across America,” he said. “And that is certainly happening here in Detroit. It’s important that we all pull together in communities and help one another out.”
Ilitch, the president and CEO of Ilitch Holdings and chairman and CEO of the Tigers and Red Wings, has backed his words with deeds.
Last week, Ilitch put up a $1 million to help pay displaced part-time workers — his at Little Caesars Arena, Fox Theatre and Joker Marchant Stadium. Then, along with the 29 other Major League owners, donated another $1 million.
“These are the folks we feel are going to be the hardest hit in our organization by this crisis and by the postponement of games,” he said. “We are a 60-year-old organization with a strong family culture. Folks in our organization tend to look after each other.
“We wanted to move in a way to help those who are most exposed, and that would be our event colleagues.”
The Ilitch family also is donating some three tons of food to Forgotten Harvest, a food bank in Oak Park.
“We’re trying to look at ways in our community that we can help others who are having a tough time through this crisis,” Ilitch said. “In Detroit, there’s a real need for access to food. We took all the food from our closed arena and our ballpark, which was gearing up for opening day and we donated it to Forgotten Harvest.
“So we can make sure that it gets into the hands of folks who need it the most.”