Shopping for toiletries can be a mundane act, even a bothersome chore for some. But it’s not that way at The Father Fred Foundation store in Traverse City.
Picking a personal care item off the shelves can be an extraordinary experience for Father Fred guests who come to the pantry seeking food and clothing assistance.
“I’ve never seen someone tear up over having shampoo before,” said Donna Hogard, a marketing manager at the northern Michigan non-profit, recalling an emotional reaction from one of the guests. “If you are just barely making it, people kind of go without things others take for granted.
“We help people who fall through the cracks.”
The professionals at Fleis & VandenBrink often do the routine work of society, fixing the literal cracks in our world. Before and after hours, staff voluntarily help solve problems in the communities where they live, work and play.
That’s why F&V collected socks and personal care items in a “Socktober” project to benefit organizations like Father Fred. They’ve also collected food for homeless shelters, packaged meals for starving children overseas, mentored ex-prisoners, accompanied World War II veterans on an Honor Flight to Washington, D.C. and even helped restore a lighthouse in Lake Huron.
That’s just a sampling of #FVCares. The volunteer list includes:
- Running a half-marathon to raise money and awareness of Ataxia Telangiectasia and the A-T Children’s Project;
- Participating through a Special Needs Adult Program in social events with people who have cognitive impairments, physical disabilities, autism or brain injury
- Performing as musicians at a dance to benefit the Ed & Irene Fleis Education Fund, which awards scholarships to students so they can attend a university or trade school;
- Shopping for gifts through Operation Santa Claus and the Santa Claus Girls, charities that give Christmas presents to area children;
- Counseling boys in the faith-based Calvinist Cadet Corps program that teaches skills such as fire building, archery and woodworking;
- Planning the annual Grand Rapids Veg Fest that promotes plant-based diets;
- Selling food at the Vermontville Maple Syrup Festival to help the Lions Club support local schools and charities;
- Coaching junior hockey and other youth sports;
- Helping write resumes and cover letters at Goodwill of Greater Grand Rapids, which helps people find employment
- Riding horses to raise money for Cheff Therapeutic Riding Center, which assists in the emotional and physical healing of people with special needs.
Every day F&V staff works on innovative engineering projects that solve challenging problems for our clients and communities. They are also encouraged to take a personal initiative to address issues in society.
F&V is an employee-owned, multi-discipline firm with nearly 200 people including engineers, architects, water resource specialists, landscape architects, geologists, environmental scientists, surveyors, GIS specialists, inspectors, field technicians, construction managers, professional emergency managers (PEMs), operations specialists, information technology experts and administrative support.
F&V is hiring more professionals for in its nine offices in Michigan and Indiana. For example, there’s a transportation engineer opening in Indianapolis, and a civil engineering job in Traverse City. Here is a full list of job openings.