Welcome to Local Heroes, our new series featuring Detroiters working during the COVID-19 pandemic to take care of one another. We hope you’ll check in to meet and support these men and women who are truly making a difference and restoring our faith in humanity.

Reginald Hawkins, Forgotten Harvest

Reginald Hawkins, a pop music artist, vocalist, and student at Wayne State University believes no one should go to bed hungry. 

Food insecurity was a huge problem for Detroiters before the onset of COVID-19, and today food banks are reporting more than a 50% increase in need.

Given the unprecedented number of people seeking food assistance, Reginald volunteers at Forgotten Harvest distributing and delivering food to pantries and churches where lines are getting longer and longer every day.

“I am grateful to have access to food, shelter, and healthcare, but this is not the case for so many. Giving back is a must during this time especially for those with this privilege.” 

Forgotten Harvest has opened 17 mobile “super sites” at locations in Oakland, Wayne and Macomb counties that serve 650 to 750 families in drive-through lines once a week at each location, in addition to up to 250 regular food pantries

Click here to provide food to those in need.

Robert David Jones with Art Bags from MOCAD

In addition to supporting local artists during the lockdown, Elysia Borowy-Reeder, Chief Curator and Executive Director of Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit (MOCAD) is committed to providing art supplies to future artists – children across Detroit.

“At MOCAD, our mission is to connect people with art and creative practice. If Detroit children do not have the resources they need to create and connect with art in their homes, then that’s a problem we want to help solve.” 

With support from the MOCAD Teen Council headed up by Jerimah Steen, and Blick Art Supplies, bags full of art activities and supplies were created for children to express their creativity during lockdown. Within 24 hours of getting the word out primarily via social media, over 200 requests for the art bags flooded in. 

MOCAD Teen Council

Today, almost 80 art bags have been delivered to doorsteps by kind volunteers and more requests come in every day.  

Click here to donate $5 to fund a MOCAD Art Bag for a child in Detroit.

Click here to support the online MOCAD fundraiser and purchase a piece of art. 

Orchard Laboratories

Before the pandemic Orchard Laboratories focused on opioid toxicology testing. 

That all changed with the onset of COVID-19.

With an overwhelming need for local COVID-19 testing, Orchard Laboratories cofounders, Sami Ahmad and his brother Faisal Ahmad quickly pivoted to become the first private laboratory in Michigan to provide rapid testing using the Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) protocol for the ThermoFisher 7500DX Platform. 

“By investing in this equipment and working quickly to bring our laboratory up to the necessary codes for COVID-19 testing, we’re providing our state with another important tool in fighting the pandemic.” 

Orchard Laboratories provide results within 24 hours and is conducting 400 to 600 tests a day for doctors’ offices, urgent care centers, and nursing homes running tests 24 hours a day to meet the needs of patients and doctors.

“Originally we felt that investing in Covid-19 testing would simply be a way for us to give back to the community and help speed up the process of getting back to normal.  Quickly we realized the importance of providing peace of mind to people who were anxious and having trouble finding answers elsewhere.” 

For more information on testing go to www.orchard-labs.com