Royal Oak firefighters buy 5,000 lbs of food for 400 hungry families

The Royal Oak Firefighters union pooled their resources together to buy 5,000 in food to help Metro Detroit families in need.

For Bonnie Bolton of Oak Park, pulling into Royal Oak High School brought tears to her eyes. With her 10-year-old in the backseat, the mom was on her daily trip to find food for her family of six.

"It's horrible you know? I hate begging. Saying that I need food when before we could get it ourselves," she said. "It's hard because my husband is the only one working you know and, ya know, he owns his own business and he has nothing coming in."

She's beyond grateful seeing the men and women of the Royal Oak Fire Department standing in the rain and passing out free groceries for people like her.

The union bought over 5,000 pounds of food after they received an overwhelming response from the community for a similar giveaway when the COVID-19 crisis began, according to Royal Oak Firefighters Union President Joe Lakin.

"They were dropping off groceries and we just received a tremendous amount of support from them. Fast forward six weeks later, no one is getting paid, everyone's out of a job. We thought what better way than try and get groceries to people?" Lakin said.

On Wednesday, cars lined up outside Royal Oak High School as the firefighters passed out 13 bags of groceries to each family. From cereal to fresh produce to canned goods and beverages... 

"I'm a single dad and I have my independent landscaping business so we're just getting started....and haven't gotten the stimulus checks or anything. So, this is wonderful," said Norm Sieloff.

On top of the thousands of pounds of food they bought, they also reached out to Gleaners who chipped in 10 pallets of food.

"We have bagged them with groceries bags that Meijer donated from Royal Oak and we are now putting them in their cars," Lakin said.

All told, the firefighters handed out food for almost 400 homes. 

"It's been incredible so far and we hope this helps out people in their time of need," Lakin said.

Royal Oak is putting out a call for seniors or folks who are homeboudn to call if they need help with groceries being delivered. That number is 248-246-3201.

"Please don't be embarrassed to ask. This is a very, very tough time, this is an unprecedented event," Lakin said.