Our last speaker for 2022 is the epitome of all that is good about Livonia. I am referring to Reverend Kellie Whitlock, senior minister at Rosedale Gardens Church.
Reverend Kellie spoke about a few of the outreach programs she has spearheaded with the goal of honoring fellow Livonians, including Livonia first responders. They began the blessing bags in 2017 with a modest goal of providing 100 bags for nursing home workers who were on duty on Christmas day. During a meeting with then-Mayor Dennis Wright and Police and Fire Department chiefs, they expanded the count to 500 bags to be delivered to the nursing home workers on duty on Christmas day.
During the second year, they took the program to St. Mary’s hospital and distributed 700 bags to hospital workers. With the generous donation of Primo Pizzas, they also hosted a 2 ½ hour pizza party.
The 2019 project focused on helping 25 Vietnam Vets in need. Also, police and fire distributed $25 cash awards to those in need of some holiday cheer.
With COVID rearing its ugly head in 2020, they altered distribution by making bins for doctors and medical staff to pass out Christmas blessings to 1,100 medical workers.
2021 brought on the “Be the I in Kind” program, with lawn signs and large banners throughout the city, reminding people to be nicer to one another. Along with this event, 3,100 bags were made for LPS employees to be distributed prior to Easter weekend.
2022 the blessing bag project will continue to grow with blessing bags handed out to employees at senior living locations. Through a generous donation of $5,000 the police and fire departments again will have the cash to pass out in the community this year.
Starting with a modest plan of providing some holiday joy to 100 people, moving on to putting the “I” in kind, to this year’s outreach, Reverend Kellie Whitlock and her merry band of Christmas elves, not only put the “I “in kind, they have become the “ME” in Merry Christmas. For that, all of Livonia thanks you.