Pie Up North Blog

Operation Cherry Cheer Gift Box Recipients

Thanks to all who have responded to our call for nominations for Operation Cherry Cheer. We are acknowledging those who are going out of their way to help others during the coronavirus crisis, or those who simply need a pick-me-up during these challenging and uncertain times. We are choosing one deserving person each day to receive a free gift box from now through May 17, 2020. Below is a list of our very deserving recipients. We’ll keep updating this blog every few days, so be sure to check back to read about these inspiring individuals.

JUNE 30

While Operation Cherry Cheer moves into its fourth month, today we wrap up the portion of the campaign in which we’ve chosen individuals to receive a Cherry Cheer Gift Box. We’ve gifted nearly 75 boxes to well deserving souls all across the United States, either as a thank you for going out of their way to help others during the pandemic or as a way of providing cheer to those feeling down. (Now we’ve moved into our Cherry Acts of Kindness phase of Operation Cherry Cheer and can be found randomly delivering cherry goodies to the doorsteps of unsuspecting neighbors in our Cherry Republic retail store communities. Watch for updates!) But today, we are highlighting two very special people to receive our final Operation Cherry Cheer Gift Boxes. 

John is from Troy, MI, and just celebrated his 80th birthday. He is alone right now, as his wife passed away in 2016. His son shares that since then, his Dad has “carried on and created a good life for himself. He’s always thinking of others, visiting people, and checking in on neighbors and family. He volunteers weekly with Habitat for Humanity, helping to refurbish houses for people in need. He exercises and swims several times a week at his local community center, stopping to chat with others and check out the ‘books to share’ section. Every day, he takes walks in the neighborhood and talks on the phone with his daughters.” But John is rarely out in public now, taking the quarantine seriously and sheltering alone. We hope a box of Cherry Cheer brings a smile to the face of this lovely man!

And our final recipient is from right here in Northern Michigan and perfectly models how to spread cherry cheer! Andrea from Traverse City is always going out of her way to help others and make them happy — especially during these trying times when people feel scared and isolated. Andrea has run errands for people who were unable to leave their home, sent cards to make people smile, and sent care packages to people she knew were really struggling. She always makes sure everyone else feels taken care of and does so selflessly. Thank you for demonstrating how wonderful our world can be when we all practice random acts of kindness, Andrea! 

JUNE 23

In addition to many businesses being hit hard economically by the pandemic, non-profits are facing an especially precarious time. Today we meet John from Alabama, who works for a charity that serves those experiencing homelessness and helps rehabilitate those recovering from addiction. A friend shares that John “sacrifices everything for his family and for the charity, which was in financial straits even before COVID hit.” Each year his friend brings him Chocolate Covered Cherries from Cherry Republic in Glen Arbor, “and it’s a highlight for him.” We’re so happy to send some cherry treats to John this summer. 

Beverly from Wisconsin was nominated by her daughter. Beverly, who celebrated her 93rd birthday in May, lost her husband of 68 years in January and still lives on her own out in the country. The pandemic has forced her to quarantine at home, and her daughter shares that this has been very hard on her Mom. Three of her four grown children live at least 90 miles away, and one daughter who lives nearby leaves groceries on her Mom’s front porch. Failing eyesight prevents Beverly from checking her emails, as she used to be able to do, so her only connection to friends and family is the phone — but still she doesn’t complain! We hope our Cherry Cheer Gift Box helps brighten your day, Beverly! 

JUNE 16

It’s a sad reality that our elderly have born the brunt of the coronavirus pandemic these past several months. The majority of COVID-19 victims have been over 65, and our older citizens in nursing facilities have been completely isolated from loved ones in order to help prevent the spread of infection among this vulnerable population. Today we send our good wishes to those on both sides of the nursing home situation. 

Dolores is 79 and has been in and out of the hospital and rehab for the past few months. Her daughter shares that Dolores has had a rough 10 years and had finally found a place she calls home just before the lockdown went into place while she was in rehab. Happily, she was finally given the all-clear to go home to her apartment where she continues in isolation, but at least she is at home! Before she left her rehab center in Rochester, she asked her daughter to go online to Cherry Republic so she could order some gifts for the staff who had cared for her. Well, Dolores, we think that YOU deserve a gift, too! Welcome home! 

Speaking of nursing home support staff that is doing a yeoman’s job of caring for our elderly and infirm, we heard recently from Nancy in Traverse City whose father, Will, is being cared for by an amazing staff at Orchard Creek Supportive Care. “No visitors are allowed at this time, making it difficult to support residents there with memory issues,” Nancy shares. “The staff has been supportive and friendly through a very difficult time, when all family may be able do is talk on the phone.” Nancy requested that we send a Cherry Cheer basket to the staff at Orchard Creek, and we are so happy to do it! Thanks to all of our hard-working, caring frontline workers.

JUNE 8

MaryBeth from Georgia was nominated by her cousin. At just 22 years old, when she was about to start her master’s program, MaryBeth was diagnosed with Lymphoma. Her whole life was put on hold while she went through treatment, and while it’s been a very tough journey, she just recently received the good news that she’s finally cancer free. We are so happy to celebrate this victory with you, MaryBeth! Enjoy your box of Cherry Cheer!

Nina, a surgeon in Troy, gave birth to her fourth child last month. She had continued to perform surgeries throughout her pregnancy — including during the pandemic — up until just one week before her daughter’s birth. Nina and her family vacation in Glen Arbor every summer and always stop at Cherry Republic, so we are so happy to send her a Cherry Cheer gift box to thank her for her dedication to her patients, while also caring for her family.

JUNE 2

First we meet Hannah, who recently completed her ER medical residency with Henry Ford Health System and was planning to be married this month. Now the wedding has been postponed to 2021, Hannah is serving on the frontlines of the pandemic in North Carolina, and while she’s not studying for her medical boards she is busy cancelling all of her many wedding plans. For Hannah and all the other disappointed brides and grooms out there, we offer our best wishes that when the Big Day finally arrives, it will be as magical as you always dreamed.

Next we highlight a local business in South Carolina. Butcher and Deli has always been there for its community, like when they stayed open for the police and firefighters after everyone was told to evacuate during the last hurricane. Now, during the coronavirus shutdown, they have been delivering deli and meat products to anyone who cannot leave their home. Owners Diana and Jay are described as wonderful, deserving people, who are kind and generous. Thank you for supporting your community in good times and bad!

MAY 26

Last week we wrapped up our 60 days of Operation Cherry Cheer, but having received hundreds of inspiring emails over the past two-and-a-half months, we decided to keep this cheerful train going a bit longer. So through the end of June, we will highlight two Cherry Cheer winners per week — one who has gone above and beyond to serve those in need and one who simply needs some much-needed cheer. Today we recognize Charlie from Traverse City and Lois from Ann Arbor. 

Charlie was nominated by his sister, who describes her brother as an awesome son and grandson. At only 26, Charlie bought a house to be near his newly widowed mom, just to be near her in case she needed anything. He proceeded to dive into the many house projects that needed fixing, teaching himself as he went along. A few years later, Charlie sold his house to purchase his aging grandparents’ home, which had become a burden for them. He moved into their old house to repair and update the centennial property, while building them a new home on the grounds, ensuring it was handicap accessible. Today, Charlie is an active volunteer for the Father Fred Foundation, a cause he grew passionate about during his high school years at TC Central. He serves on the volunteer board of directors and recently worked to facilitate a food drive during the coronavirus pandemic. Thank you for making such a difference in your familiy and in our community, Charlie!

Like so many people, Lois from Ann Arbor sadly lost a loved one during this hard time. Her husband of 54 years passed away on March 14 from pancreatic cancer after a valiant five-year fight. Because of COVID-19, it was difficult to find a church that would open and hold the funeral, and restrictions on the size of gatherings prevented her husband’s many friends from Rotary International from attending the funeral. That was more than two months ago, but we’re sure the pain is still very fresh for Lois, and we hope that our box of Cherry Cherry brings a little happiness to her day. You are in our thoughts, Lois.

MAY 17

In some ways it’s hard to believe that we started our Operation Cherry Cheer Campaign 60 days ago … and yet in other ways, it seems like a lifetime ago! We have been inspired by the hundreds of nominations we received over the past two months, and we’ve been honored to recognize all who have been touched by this pandemic — both those facing health struggles and those who have been selfless in the service of others. 

Today we celebrate a deserving father, who works as a nurse for the Cleveland Clinic. His wife shares that throughout this stressful time, Mark hasn’t complained a bit — he just continues to do his job and take care of his patients. He takes great measures to keep his distance from his family when he comes home in order to keep them safe. To us, Mark is a prime example of all that is good out there in our world. He uses his skills as a healthcare provider to help save others, while putting his own life at risk, and then comes home and provides his family with the love and support they need, too. Thank you, Mark, and all who continue to act in selfless ways for the benefit of all of us!

MAY 16

Among the many people affected by this pandemic are the high school and college seniors who have missed out on their graduation day and the many special events and opportunities that go along with your capstone year. Anna is a senior at Hope College, and her sister tells us that Anna has been highly involved in school throughout her tenure at Hope. She was looking forward to really relishing in the final month left of school following spring break, knowing it might possibly be the last time her friends live in the same area. Anna was excited for all the ‘last’s’ that come before graduation and especially thrilled about her final class — a May term trip to Alaska. Of course, final classes were conducted online, graduation has been postponed, and her trip to Alaska was cancelled. But we know in our hearts that the Class of 2020 will come out of this with resiliency and will be all the stronger and more focused on their futures. Congrats to Anna and all of the seniors out there!

MAY 15

It’s good to remember that our frontline healthcare heroes are not immune to getting sick themselves. Beth from Madison, Wisconsin, is an ICU nurse who was nominated by her sister. Beth got sick with the flu and then got pneumonia last month. After recently recovering, she is now back to work caring for critically ill people. Although she lives in Wisconsin, she has family in Leelanau county and loves Cherry Republic, her sister shares. We are so glad to be able to send you some Cherry Cheer from Northern Michigan, Beth, and we hope you are feeling better!

MAY 14

Sheila is a restaurant owner in the small town of St. Clair, Michigan. A fellow business owner describes her as “kind and loving and giving … always supporting my business and everyone in town, especially others in need.” Sadly, in March Sheila was diagnosed with stage IV cancer and began her first chemo treatment in the midst of this pandemic. While restaurants are allowed to stay open at this time for carry out, she had to close her doors due to her health situation. Our hearts go out to her and all others facing health and financial crises during this very difficult time. Please know that there are a lot of people pulling for you, Sheila! 

MAY 13

Kent and Marlene from Grayling, Michigan, just celebrated their 55th wedding anniversary at home due to the stay-at-home order. They enjoy going to Texas in the winter, and due to the coronavirus they returned home a month early –foregoing the rent money they had already paid. As with many people, they’ve had to rely on online ordering and grocery pickup, and it’s been extremely difficult. Their daughter shares that they are big Cherry Republic fans, so we hope they enjoy their Cherry Cheer Gift Box. Happy Anniversary, Kent and Marlene!

MAY 12

In addition to emergency response workers, other healthcare providers have also been on the frontlines during this pandemic. Jodi works in Oakland and Wayne counties with prosthetics and orthotics patients, and although she is scared, she goes to work everyday and puts her patients at ease. Recently, two patients were afraid to come into the office, so she conducted their office visit in the parking lot. One needs to come back to be cast for an orthotic, so she told him to try to come back on a warm sunny day and she would cast him right in the parking lot! Even before pandemic, Jodi modeled compassion with her patients, including a little boy with Down’s Syndrome. He went from being afraid to high-fiving Jodi in the hallway each time he passed her. Thank you for your kind and gentle nature, Jodi, and we hope you and your patients all stay well.  

MAY 11

New York state has been particularly hard hit during this pandemic — especially the NYC area. Today we meet Joan from the hamlet of Copiague on Long Island. She is currently working from home, like so many of us, and has two computer monitors set up in her living room. Her daughter, Catherine, shared with us that Joan also takes care of her 96-year-old elderly Great Aunt, and could surely use some cheering up during this hard time. We are happy to send some Michigan cherry love to our friends in the Big Apple! We hope you and your extended family all stay well, Joan.

MAY 10

Meet a terrific husband and wife duo. James is a school superintendent in Indiana, and during the pandemic he is in charge of coordinating all the faculty, staff and students for remote learning for the rest of the year. In meetings non-stop with members of the school board and his administrative team, James also helps the school coordinate food services for around 700 children. The school buildings may be closed, but the educators are hard at work, and James has made sure students are well equipped with the necessary technology to learn remotely. His wide, Christi, is a dental hygienist who is currently not working because of Covid-19, but she is doing an awesome job taking care of her two sweet children and their adorable dog. Together, James and Christi spread love both in their neighborhood and in the greater community. 

MAY 9

Yesterday we introduced you to an amazing grandmother, and today we honor a loving father. Brian has worked in security and law enforcement for 46 years, unselfishly dedicating himself to serving and protecting others at the risk of his own safety and well-being. Now, as he was ready to finally retire, the economic fallout of the pandemic has cost his daughters, Kelsey and Kerry, their jobs. “Once again, in an act of total unselfishness and with no regard for himself, our Dad has put off his retirement to help financially support us two grown adults along with our loved ones,” his daughters share. “He is not just a hero to us, he was a very decorated law enforcement officer, who was a hero to many!” You are a hero to us, too, Brian, and thank you for your service!

MAY 8

There are some people living among us who are heroes all year long, whether we’re in the midst of a pandemic or not. Kendall falls into that rare category. A loving grandmother, Kendall is raising her 2-year-old and 6-year-old grandsons all by herself. She fought to have her grandsons raised together and not be separated into different foster or adopted homes. It is a herculean task and she approaches it with a smile and a laugh. Thank you, Kendall, for reminding us that this world is full of caring people like you.

MAY 7

We’ve received lots of shoutouts to nurses, and today is no exception. Marissa, whose dad worked in the cherry industry, grew up on dried cherries, going Up North, visiting Cherry Republic, and attending the Cherry Festival. Now a nurse at U-M on the front lines of the pandemic, she is facing a scary time since she can’t see any of her family until the pandemic is over. Her sister wrote to us, asking if we could send her a gift to brighten her spirits. There’s nothing we’d like better, and we can’t wait until it’s safe for her to come and visit us again!

MAY 6

When we kicked off Operation Cherry Cheer back in March, our intent was to highlight both those who are working on the frontlines of the coronavirus, as well as those who just need some extra cheer during this hard time. Today we send love to Sally in Philadelphia. Her niece, who nominated Sally, hadn’t seen her aunt since 2018 and had planned a visit her over spring break this year. But Sally is a kidney transplant survivor in her 70s and at high risk for Covid-19, so the long-awaited trip was cancelled. Her niece is hoping to reschedule the visit as soon as it’s safe to visit, and in the meantime, we hope that our little box of Cherry Cheer will let Sally know how much she is loved.

MAY 5

John is the interim president for Principia College in Illinois, and is only filling in until the school’s search committee hires a permanent president. But during this challenging time, he has unequivocally ensured students, faculty, staff, housekeeping, facilities crew, and security have been informed, cared for, and loved. He has kept a joyful spirit and has continued to work as if his job was not temporary. Thanks for hanging in there, John, and for taking on the full weight and responsibility of a position that would be difficult even for a seasoned college president!

MAY 4

National Nurses Week starts this week, so we couldn’t think of a better recipient for today’s Cherry Cheer gift box than Sarah, a nurse from Chantilly, VA. Not only is she on the front lines of this pandemic every day, but in her ‘spare’ time, Sarah keeps busy sewing cloth masks for others. Thank you to ALL of the thousands of nurses who are not only providing medical support to their patients while risking their own lives, but are also providing the in-person comfort and reassurance that patients’ families can’t give right now. You are true heroes!

MAY 3

Many of you will remember Capt. Matthew Majestic of the West Bloomfield Fire Department, who nominated Sgt. Aaron Pressel on April 4. Today, we recognize Capt. Majestic himself, who was nominated by his daughter. “My dad is the hardest working man I know,” daughter Autumn says. “Working as a full time Captain at West Bloomfield Fire Department and as Program Manager for Basic and Advanced Fire Training Programs at Oakland Community College, he recently went back to college to earn his bachelor’s degree.” Capt. Majestic, who is also a father of three, “has bettered the community with his services, whether it was teaching my brother’s Boy Scout troop about fire safety or coming to our classrooms to talk to our class about his job,” Autumn says. Thanks, Capt. Majestic for all you do! 

MAY 2

Amy from Empire has been described as “one in a million,” and it’s no wonder. During this pandemic she has actively, selflessly and tirelessly worked to take care of a long list of people. Recently, after sorting Blessings in a Backpack food for Glen Lake students in need, she moved on to trying to find a way to support the Glen Lake kitchen staff by getting take-out lunch for them from local businesses, as an effort to also support those businesses. She’s had to visit her elderly mom through a window, while also worrrying about one of her children stuck overseas and another who hasn’t made it home yet. Amy, you represent the best of us, and we thank you for all you do on behalf of your community!

MAY 1

While we have received Cherry Cheer nominations from all over the country, today we recognize someone from right here in Leelanau County. Cathy works at Oryana Community Co-op and has been working tirelessly to educate people in our community about safety in the midst of this pandemic. In her spare time, she shops for others who are homebound and delivers their groceries to them. We’re so lucky to have people like Cathy in our community and thank her for her continued good work!

APRIL 30

Jim, who grew up coming to Glen Lake as a child to his grandfather’s cottage, is now an ER doctor in the greater Cleveland area. He is on the frontline for patients with Covid-19 and knows that this means he may get sick and have to stay in a separate part of the house from his wife. As of late March, he had intubated 3 patients and one had died in the ER during his shift, and he was preparing himself for an even harsher April. Since one of the things he loves most is visiting his grandfather’s cottage, which he now owns with his sister, we are hoping that a Cherry Cheer gift box will brighten his spirits and give him a little reminder of what waits for him when this crisis is over.

APRIL 29

Emma, who was nominated by her mom, works at a homeless shelter in Tacoma, WA. There are people who have tested positive for the virus and yet Emma refuses to stop going to work — continuing to advocate for the marginalized populations. “She is so passionate about serving those types of communities,” her mom says. “This is not her first time at a homeless shelter. After graduation, she volunteered at a homeless shelter in Missoula, MT, for a year.” Thanks for caring for those who are too often overlooked and forgotten, Emma.

APRIL 28

In the midst of this pandemic and the current shutdown of many of our businesses, it’s sometimes easy to forget about the industries that must soldier on no matter what is happening around us. Our nation’s wonderful farmers fall into this category. Today we recognize a grower from Missouri. Steve is described by his daughter Heather as “one of the hardest working guys I know.” In January he was in a farming accident, and he’s just now starting to get back on his feet. But it’s planting season, and his daughter is worried about how he’ll get everything done. “He is constantly helping others and never asks for anything in return,” she says. We hope our gift that represents the cherry farmers in Michigan helps to lift your spirits, Steve, and we wish you a speedy recovery.

APRIL 27

Mr. Maurer is described as a wonderful teacher who goes the extra mile for his students. Recently he did a video meeting with the 5th grade students in his Portage, MI, class, who joined in on computers from each of their own homes. All the students gave updates on what they are doing during this pandemic and shared special photo memories. When one student mentioned going to Traverse City, Mr. Maurer said how much he loved going to Cherry Republic in Traverse City. Well, since you can’t come up here right now, we are sending a taste of Cherry Republic your way, Mr. Maurer! And thanks to all of the teachers who are going the extra mile during this challenging time.

APRIL 26

Last summer, Catherine’s 10-year-old nephew was diagnosed with cancer, and Catherine made multiple trips to Indianapolis from Columbus each month to help her family and sit in the hospital with her nephew. Earlier this week, Catherine’s mom was rushed to the ER and has officially been diagnosed with COVID-19. Catherine isn’t able to travel to see her mom, or her dad who is at home quarantining for two weeks. Catherine is described as selfless, kind, and empathetic, and we hope our Cherry Cheer gift box brings a bit of cheer her way. 

APRIL 25

Trude, a food pantry coordinator in Caledonia, MI, wanted to thank one of the pantry’s clients. ‘Donna’ brings a thank-you note to volunteers each month, and after receiving her food she stays and helps the pantry with shelving, shopping with clients, and more. Recently, she requested ground beef to make sloppy joes for the 40 residents in her senior living apartments. “Many of these seniors are clients of our pantry,” Trude says, “who make all their own meals because it is not an assisted living home and many do not drive — including Donna.” Trude wasn’t allowed in the building so left ground beef, buns, sloppy joe mix, veggie trays, soda, chips and dessert outside where Donna could retrieve it. Donna made meals for all of her neighbors and delivered them to each door. “I see the face of God in her actions and words,” Trude says. “She is an inspiration!” We couldn’t agree more!

APRIL 24

Jennifer is an Emergency Room nurse who is on the front lines at a suburban Chicago hospital and is encountering an overwhelming number of potential/actual patients who have the coronavirus or need to be tested for it. Unfortunately, she is working under extremely challenging conditions, with this hospital having a shortage of specialized protective gear, other than routine paper masks and gowns. In the midst of these highly risky situations, she is fearlessly and patiently caring for her patients with a cheerful, calming attitude. Additionally, she has two toddler children at home who she is hoping that she will not expose to the virus. We are so humbled by the healthcare workers risking their own lives and their families’ lives to take care of their patients. Thank you!

APRIL 23

Anne, a medical technologist in a clinical laboratory at Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak, was nominated by her daughter, who says her mom “has worked nine days in a row — sometimes up to 12 hours per day — in order to validate and get the COVID-19 test up and running at Beaumont. She also teaches a medical technology laboratory class at Oakland University, and in her very little spare time she has had to work to move the curriculum online. She is an incredibly hardworking and selfless person, and I’m so proud of all of the good that she is doing for our community here in Michigan, both as a teacher and as someone working on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic.” What a great role model for her daughter! Thank you, Anne, for your extraordinary work during this time.

APRIL 22

In addition to coronavirus patients, it’s good to remember the others facing health challenges during this time. Seven months ago, Martha received a kidney transplant on her 75th birthday with her husband, Jim, being her living donor. She had just received clearance to start traveling farther than a few hours when the virus hit the U.S. Now, because of her immunocompromised state and her age, she is quarantined in New Hampshire for the foreseeable several months. Martha & Jim had planned to visit 20 states in 2020, to visit all of the people who prayed and supported them through their journey. The trip was supposed to begin on National Kidney Day, March 12, but those plans are fully on hold. But she has kept her ever-positive outlook on life, saying “This too shall pass! It’s just a blip in time in the big picture.” Martha, we can’t wait until you are finally able to travel, and we’re thrilled to hear your post-transplant diet now allows for chocolate covered cherries! Stay well!

APRIL 21

Diana is a nurse practitioner in Massachusetts who has dedicated her adult life and a second career to helping some of the most neglected people our communities — addicts. She works tirelessly to help those with the disease of addiction find recovery, a path to sobriety, and ways to live meaningful lives. The hospital where she works has also called her to help those affected by COVID-19, so her work is increased to help those afflicted, many of whom may not find recovery. Diana is generous, loving, and usually full of life. Friends, however, have seen this pandemic rob Diana of some of her usual joy lately, while she still remains resilient and caring. We hope this small gift will reignite that spark, Diana! Thanks for all that you do for the underserved of our communities.

APRIL 20

Alexander, a Lance Corporal in the U.S. Marines, is currently in quarantine in Camp Pendelton, CA, awaiting deployment. He’s been a Cherry Republic fan since his university days in Milwaukee and loved it when we would exhibit at the Holiday Gift Expo there. His favorite treat is Sour Cherry Patches, so we’re excited for him to receive our Operation Cherry Cheer gift box! Thank you and all the other brave members of our military for your service, and stay safe!

APRIL 19

Among the many healthcare workers and essential service employees that have earned hero status over the past two months, there are everyday people among us quietly and selflessly helping others. Tom from Oklahoma fits that bill. Known as ‘Poppa Tom’ to his kids and grandkids, he is a humble and compassionate man who always tries to do good for others. While he, himself, is at a higher risk for contracting coronavirus, Tom continues to spend his days transporting clients to doctor appointments and other errands because he knows that they need him. Thank you, Tom, for your meaningful service to others.

APRIL 18

Teresa, who was nominated by one of her staff members, works tirelessly for the people of Washtenaw County even in the best of times. During the pandemic, she has worked non-stop to find hotel rooms for clients experiencing homelessness, ensured all non-profits and those in need have personal protective equipment, reviewed small business loan applications, and has kept watch over Washtenaw County’s Human Services Team’s efforts to keep people’s lights on, stay in safe/affordable housing, and ensure food, medical and other needed supplies reach those most in need. (She even stops by the closed office twice a week to get the mail and water the plants!) Thanks for your incredible dedication and caring, Teresa, especially during these trying times.

APRIL 17

As soon as the crisis hit Michigan, Paula, program manager at Lenawee Community Foundation, worked to create a Covid-19 response fund. She made the first donation and then found groups willing to match individual contributions. She contacted local charities so she could communicate on Facebook about what was open and delivered food to pantries and shelters. The exact figure is not available, but $30,000 has already been sent, and donations continue. We also understand that Paula loves Cherry Republic treats (and always shares), so treats are on their way!

APRIL 16

We are so inspired by the resilience of some of our older Citizens of the Republic! Gene and Vera, originally from Traverse City, now live in Florida and love Cherry Republic products. They are 92 and 91 and will soon celebrate their 72nd wedding anniversary, while in isolation. Congratulations on reaching this amazing milestone, Gene and Vera, and we hope our gift tin adds a bit of joy to your celebration. We hope you’ll be able to be with friends and family again soon.

APRIL 15

A woman from Traverse City wrote to us about her 96-year-old mother, Miriam, who moved up from Ohio to live with her daughter in June. Upon arrival, Miriam gave her daughter a list of must-haves from the store (the family is trying to shop only once a week). At the top of the list was Sour Cherry Patches from Cherry Republic! We’re happy to hear we garner the No. 1 spot, Miriam! Please enjoy your Cherry Cheer Gift Box, and a warm welcome to Northern Michigan!

APRIL 14

For the next few days, we’re going to send some extra love to the elderly in our communities. Today, we gift a shoutout to an incredible woman who just turned 100 last week. Delores, who lost her husband last year, dresses impeccably, still drives a car, and is actively involved in her church. She was a school principal who earned a doctorate in theology in her late 70s or early 80s. Delore’s church was planning a celebration for her that now can’t take place because of the coronavirus, so we’re sending a a gift box full of cherry treats and good wishes her way.

APRIL 13

Our heart goes out to all of those high school and university seniors who have been cheated out of the last weeks of their final school year. One local senior, Olivia, just graduated from GVSU’s nursing program in December and is now working at a local hospital in our community. She is a dedicated nurse and although working with patients who may have Covid19 is concerning, she bravely goes to work every day. Thank you for making a difference in so many peoples lives and being a true blessing to others, Olivia!

APRIL 12

A middle school principal from Dexter, MI, is our Cherry Cheer winner today. Jami always puts each student’s needs first — whether tending to kids who forget their lunch money or dealing with bigger issues like trouble at home or issues with friends. During the school shutdown she is keeping in touch with students by sending out emails highlighting what staff and teachers are doing to keep themselves occupied, and she’s remembering student birthdays. Thanks to all the teacher and administrator heroes out there!

APRIL 11

Jayme is a single mom to adorable twin boys. Her husband lost his battle to brain cancer in 2016, and she supports her family by styling hair and nails and making people feel better. Unfortunately, the mandatory shutdown means she won’t be able to return to work for the foreseeable future. Jayme, we hope you and your sweet boys are staying healthy and that you are able to return to your profession very soon!

APRIL 10

Those of us in Northern Michigan have been spared so far from the reality hitting the metropolitan areas of the country. Today we’re reminded of those on the frontlines in cities like New York. Linda recently told us about her son-in-law, who “is an ER Doctor in New York and has now contracted the coronavirus by being the hero he is.” She goes on to share that her daughter is a NICU (Newborn Intensive Care Unit) doctor. Mom Linda says her daughter and son-in-law have two children — Ethan, 1, and Scarlett, 5. “We are very worried for them because Scarlett has asthma,” Linda says. We hope our small gift will bring a smile to this family in the midst of a very scary time.

APRIL 9

Lori from Minnesota “has spearheaded a massive grassroots effort for several weeks to engage local folks to sew masks for healthcare workers. She has provided patterns, coordinated material deliveries, distributed masks, connected with local organizations, sewn masks herself, and more,” says the person who nominated Lori. As of March 31, Lori and her team of super sewers had produced over 400 masks and were still going strong. Thanks to everyone who has stepped up to help in his or her own way. You are all making a difference!

APRIL 8

Today’s recipient, Irene, is an RN and was nominated by her sister. Irene “is on the front lines of the Covid epidemic in the New York metro area, at Mt. Sinai/South Nassau Community Hospital on Long Island. She is working round-the-clock at great risk to herself and her family. Her husband is immunocompromised with myasthenia gravis, but he is also working round the clock to support her with ALL domestic work. She never complains and is one of the kindest and most positive people I know. Plus, she LOVES cherries and chocolate!” Cherries are on their way, and thank you!

APRIL 7

There are so many unsung heroes in the midst of this national crisis, from healthcare workers to first responders to grocery store workers. Today’s Cherry Cheer recipient represents yet another brave group of workers — truck drivers. Paul, who is a UPS driver in West Virginia, was nominated by his sister. “He delivers goods for all those staying home in self-isolation,” his sister says. Be sure to thank those who are delivering food and other supplies right to your door so you can stay home and stay safe. 

APRIL 6

Today we give a shout out to the hospital workers who are not part of the clinical team, but who also make a huge contribution everyday. Janette works in the Purchasing Department at Munson Healthcare in Traverse City and has been working 12+ hours a day trying to keep the hospital running smoothly with needed supplies. She also has a child at home to worry about trying to keep him occupied and active while school is not in session. Thanks to all who work so hard to get our doctors and nurses the equipment they need so desperately!

APRIL 5

Included among the many heroes that need to be thanked during this pandemic are our farmers. Pleasant View Dairy in Northwest Indiana is one of those heroes. The dairy recently found itself with an abundance of milk due to school closings and donated it to a local food bank. Thanks to the Leep family who runs the dairy for this example of caring and selflessness. Farmers rock!

APRIL 4

Sgt. Aaron Pressel of the West Bloomfield Fire Department, who was nominated by Captain Matthew Majestic, has cared for many patients during this pandemic. In late March, he tested positive for the virus and has been self-quarantining in his travel trailer in his driveway to avoid infecting his family. We hope that Sgt. Pressel and all who are suffering are on the road to recovery soon.

APRIL 3

Today we recognize Jeff, an emergency medicine doctor in the Chicago area whose family has longtime ties to Glen Arbor. Nominated by his sister, Jeff is on the frontline identifying cases, treating patients, all while putting himself at risk. His sister shares that “he has seen patients with Covid 19, and knows how serious it can be. He still takes the time to answer any questions his friends, family, and neighbors may have in this time of paranoia. My brother has always been an amazing doctor, but I see him shine now! I know some cherry joy would put a smile on his face as he heads off for another long shift.” We send our gratitude to Jeff and all of the medical heroes working to save lives, while putting themselves in harm’s way.

APRIL 2

During this shutdown, the one place all of us needs to visit eventually is the grocery store. And it’s people like today’s recipient who make that possible. Diane was nominated by her daugher, who describes her mom as “a hard-working cashier working tireless hours right now during this pandemic. She has been staying over past her shift and even going in to help out on her days she is off. She comes home exhausted, but is giving it her all to help out her neighborhood grocery store where she works.” Diane’s daughter shares that her Mom is worried that if her store is eventually closed down, she’ll be out of work with no pay. “Please help me make my mom’s day with a little surprise in the mail!” We are happy to do it, and thank you, Diane!

APRIL 1

We’ve heard sad stories about this virus hitting entire families, and that’s the worry of today’s recipient from Southeastern Michigan. Emily’s husband was recently diagnosed with coronavirus, she is feeling ill and waiting for her test results. Their two-year-old daughter is also sick, which has understandably left their 10-year-old son “feeling very upset and scared.” Emily says that “the whole family could use some tender loving care!” It’s on the way, Emily! We hope all of you are feeling strong and healthy very soon.

MARCH 31

Today’s winner, Kathy, was nominated by her niece Sarah. A full-time physician and primary caregiver for her parents, Kathy lost her mother last week, and the family has been unable to comfort each other in person due to the current social distancing restrictions. Sarah shares that her Aunt “has been coming to Glen Arbor to stay at her place at the Homestead for over 30 years,” and Kathy and her Mom (Sarah’s grandmother) loved going to Cherry Republic, which they referred to as their “Cherry heaven.” In the midst of her grief, Kathy continues to care for her father, and the whole family longs to be in Glen Arbor for some much needed respite. We hope this little gift from Cherry Republic recalls happy memories with your Mom, Karen, and that you can get up to your Homestead home soon.

MARCH 30

While we often recognize the grownups whose lives have been up-ended, it’s important to remember that the whole family is affected when mom or dad is working extra hours. One Michigan dad nominated his 10-year-old son, Andy, who he describes as “really a great kid.” Dad explains that Andy “has two younger step-siblings who he has been taking care of every day because his mother is a police dispatcher and has been moved to the midnight shift since the schools shut down. Andy keeps an 18-month-old and a 4-year-old happy by reading to them, playing games, and letting his mom sleep as much as possible.” Andy, who just became a Boy Scout, truly reflects the best of us and is an inspiration to all!

MARCH 29

Melissa is an ICU nurse at Troy Beaumont Hospital on the frontlines of this pandemic, and she is today’s gift box recipient. She was nominated by the daughter of a former patient, who describes Melissa as “one of the most selfless, compassionate, skilled and FEARLESS nurses and people I have ever met. She, and all the healthcare heroes, could use some extra cherry cheer for sure.” Here’s to all of the brave and selfless nurses working the frontlines against Covid 19!

MARCH 28

In addition to all of the healthcare heroes out there, today we give a shoutout to retail warriors. Tiffany from Tennessee is a Customer Service Manager at Walmart, who has continuously worked extra long hours for the past couple of weeks assuring customers that we will get through these rough times. In spite of having to deal with grumpy customers who often blame product shortages and long lines on the people behind the counter, Tiffany continues to remain calm and keep smiling, which says a tremendous amount about her character. A great reminder to treat everyone with extra kindness during this time!

MARCH 27

Our next Cherry Cheer recipient was nominated by her sister and is celebrating her birthday today. Sadly, she was recently diagnosed with Stage 4 lung cancer, and so must be especially careful right now with the spread of the coronavirus. Her sister describes her as having “a super positive attitude” and that she “is always so kind to everyone. She is the nicest, most loving and most giving person I know, so please consider lifting her spirits.” We would like nothing better, and we will keep your sweet sister in our thoughts.

MARCH 26

Today we recognize the staff at the Chelsea Senior Center, which has been done an amazing job organizing the Meals on Wheels program for approximately 70 Senior Center participants. They’ve also enrolled a dozen or so vulnerable seniors, who usually come for lunch at our Center each day, to receive Meals on Wheels. While the Center closed its doors to daily activities and participants last Friday, the staff has remained in the office every day reassuring and connecting with many of the 1,000+ members who use the Center for activities each weekday. Thank you, Chelsea Senior Center staff!

MARCH 25

A retired teacher in Colorado is today’s Cherry Cheer recipient. ‘Mary’ has organized and led a small group of like-minded volunteers to provide donated food for eonomically disadvantaged first- and second-graders to ensure they have something to eat while schools are closed over the weekends. (Teachers had been commenting on how tired and lethargic their students were each Monday, so Mary looked into it and discovered many had no food over the weekends.) Thanks to Mary and all the teachers and volunteers who so lovingly care for our children every day.

MARCH 24

Today, we will send cherry love to an amazing grandmother, who is living through the second pandemic of her lifetime. Here’s what her granddaughter told us about her Grandma Zoa: “She will be 106 this July and must be among the few who have lived through two major pandemics. (This one and the one in 1918 – even though she doesn’t really remember it.) She is a joy to all who know her, and she keeps up all our spirits when life throws us those random curve balls. Her unique wisdom has saved many a day for all of us fortunate enough to have her in our life. She was born and raised on a farm in Pinconning and loves all things Michigan. She would be thrilled to receive the happiness packaged in your cherry treats.” And we are thrilled to send them to her!

MARCH 23

We will be sending our Operation Cherry Cheer gift box to the Radiology Department at Parkview Noble Hospital in Indiana. Nominated by a hospital employee, she explained that the Radiology Department is “currently working on the frontlines of the virus outbreak to help you and your families stay safe! One of our coworkers travels up to Michigan to the Cherry Republic Store with a list of products in tow. We love your salsas and goodies, and would very much appreciate a basket of cheer during this stressful time.” We are so happy to be able to add a bit of cheer to your day! 

MARCH 22

Today’s winner is the entire Department of Public Safety, Police and Fire. They were nominated by a grateful citizen who described these first responders as being “on the frontlines of helping everyone.” We add our voices in admiration and thankfulness for all of our brave first responders during this time of crisis … and everyday.

MARCH 21

A Traverse City-based doctor, nominated by one of her employees, is our Cherry Cheer winner today. “She is always going above and beyond to make life a little better for everyone she meets. She does not complain, treats everyone with kindness and respect even under stress, and consistently asks, “What can I do to help?” For example, in addition to her normal (50-60+hour) work week, she is now volunteering an additional 40 hours/week to staff a state COVID 19 hotline. Instead of spending time with her family, she seeks to help those who need it most. With zero recognition. She is my personal public health hero and I think she certainly deserves something nice!” We couldn’t agree more, and thank this doctor — and all of our hardworking healthcare professionals — for their sacrifices and dedication.

MARCH 20

Today’s recipient is in the hospital recovering from a near-death experience with COVID 19. She contracted the virus while helping to care for her mother, who was recovering from surgery at the Life Care Center in Kirkland, WA. Sadly, her mother died as a result of the virus, but thank goodness her daughter “seems have the worst behind her,” according to the friend who nominated her. He went on to say that this family “has been part of the Glen Lake community for over a century. I know she is a CR fan. I think she would delight in a message from the CR Bear.” We’re sending our wishes for a continued recovery to this brave woman. 

MARCH 19

Our first recipient was nominated by her mom, whose 29-year-old daughter is battling breast cancer. Her mom shared that her daughter “grew up on dried cherries and chocolate covered cherries! She and her brother loved them, especially when I put them in the freezer and they would use them as a snack. Trips to Michigan in the summers were the best. Even picking our own.” Mom was hoping that this gift of cherries would help “bring back memories of her [daughter’s] childhood, free and fun, and brighten her day with her favorites.” We hope so, too, and send our very best wishes.

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