Proceeds go to United Way of Midland County
Hundreds of people gathered at Midland Mall over the weekend for an appliance sale hosted by United Way of Midland County and Whirlpool Corp.
“Our heart is to help. This is one small part of the recovery effort,” said Holly Miller, president and CEO of United Way of Midland County.
“We are providing hope in the form of appliances, thanks to the generosity of the Whirlpool Corporation,” said Jenee Velasquez, executive director of The Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow Foundation, who was present as a volunteer.
Miller explained that within two weeks of the flood, Whirlpool Corp. reached out to United Way, offering to help with recovery efforts. Since the company has hosted similar sales in the past in other communities, it seemed like the perfect fit. The appliance sale in Midland offered a selection of over 400 large and small items including washers and dryers, refrigerators, stoves, blenders and mixers at significantly discounted prices, with all proceeds going to United Way of Midland County.
The organizers, understanding that the double impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the flooding in May affected many around the region, made the sale open to the public. Within two hours of the event’s opening on Saturday, 270 people had attended the sale. Families waited for hours as the line wrapped around the outside of the former Younkers store.
“It’s really indicative of the need in our community. It’s been amazing to be able to connect with folks in line and hear their recovery stories from the flood,” Miller said.
Denice Truelobe of Sanford lost her home to the flooding. After hearing about the sale on Facebook, she stood in line for two hours before gaining entry, looking for any appliances she could.
“I can save all this money so I can invest it into drywall and insulation and wiring,” Truelobe said. “It’s very nice of these folks to give us a deal on appliances.”
Both Miller and Velasquez are thankful for the contributions of individuals and organizations from around the country in recovery efforts. Miller praised the over 40 volunteers at the sale who set up, managed the hand sanitizing station and helped maintain social distancing in the building, rang up purchases and loaded appliances into waiting vehicles.
“The outpouring from around the state of Michigan and around the country has been phenomenal,” Velasquez said.
“It really is an honor and a privilege to walk alongside the recovery efforts with so many other stakeholders. I celebrate the way our community has come together and people have been helping people. It’s just another illustration of the care we have for our neighbors,” Miller said. “This is a tough chapter, but we’re tough. We’ll get through this together.”