A true team effort: Comerica Bank huddles up with the Detroit Lions and United Way for Southeastern Michigan to benefit Detroit students

Comerica Southeast Michigan volunteer coordinators (L-R) Shayla Tartt, Antoinette Frost and Shaelese King meet up with Lions team mascot, Roary, as the team picked up literacy kits for Detroit elementary school students.

DETROIT — In keeping with Comerica’s longtime commitment of supporting the communities it serves, the company is huddling up with the United Way for Southeastern Michigan and the Detroit Lions to donate books to students at Mary McLeod Bethune Elementary School for the 2022 United Way Hometown Huddle outreach.

For this year’s event, nearly 100 Comerica Bank volunteers were involved throughout the entire initiative.

“We are proud of how our colleagues so readily stepped up to participate, led by our Southeast Michigan coordinators, Antoinette Frost and Shaelese King, and really mobilizing 97 volunteers to pack kits for this annual event,” said Patricia McCann, Comerica Bank Vice President of social impact and national employee volunteer program manager. “Comerica and our colleagues understand and value the importance of relationships and that only through collective action can we really make a difference.”

During this year’s Martin Luther King Day of National Service, numerous colleagues made it a day when they volunteered time purchasing books with gift cards provided by the Detroit Lions that will help the students learn a variety of skills, including financial literacy.

Comerica selected “The Everything Kids’ Money Book: Earn It, Save It, Watch it Grow” by Brette McWhorter Sember to include in the kits distributed as a way to promote financial empowerment among youth.

After the books were purchased by volunteers, Comerica Bank, the United Way for Southeastern Michigan and the Detroit Lions regathered and hosted a virtual packing party on January 31. Participants prepared the collected items that not only featured books but additional school supplies that support students in the Detroit Public Community School District.

“Even during times when our engagements take different forms because of the pandemic, Hometown Huddle and the collaboration with the Lions and United Way delivers every year,” said McCann.

“We replicated a similar format as we did last year, and we wanted to continue finding different ways to impact our youth. Literacy is critical to a student’s learning and development. Providing them resources to grow in that area is vital.”

McCann continued, “We also advocate extensively for financial literacy because we believe strongly that educating youth on sound financial principles leads to financial empowerment. We hope that positively shapes the rest of their lives.”

The virtual packing party, hosted by Lions alum and Detroit Lions radio network color commentator Lomas Brown, brought together the Lions, United Way and Comerica. Lions long-snapper Scott Daly made an appearance to help participants get warmed-up for the packing party.

Representatives from United Way also presented an exercise with participants to shed light on financial instability among struggling individuals and families.

A week later, representatives of the Detroit Lions, led by team mascot Roary, met back up with Comerica colleagues on Feb. 7 at Comerica’s Livonia Operations Center to pick up packed-up kits. Roary and the Lions front office team members then delivered the kits to DPCSD.

“Hometown Huddle is a signature volunteer event for Comerica. Our colleagues are excited every year to participate, and we believe the time we set aside to assist will have a lasting impact on others,” said McCann.

Each year, Hometown Huddle efforts support different causes. Last year, hundreds of Detroit Public School students received welcome packages that included personal care items in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Through the efforts of volunteers at Comerica Bank, United Way for Southeastern Michigan and the Detroit Lions, the group packaged more than 600 personal care kits, complete with towels, deodorant, toothpaste, dental floss and body wash.

Typically held on a Tuesday each fall, both Hometown Huddle events had to pivot and refocus due to the pandemic.

The Hometown Huddle project was started by the National Football League (NFL) and United Way back in 1999 and has become a highly successful outreach program throughout the League with its 32 franchises and numerous community and corporate partners.

The NFL’s relationship with United Way first launched in 1974 and is now 43 years and going.

It was through Comerica’s existing partnerships with the Detroit Lions and United Way the company became involved with the annual event focused on community impact.

Source: Comerica Bank

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