Allen Park, Mich. — The Detroit Lions announced today their player-led social justice initiative, Detroit Lions Inspire Change, will fund the Empowerment Plan's operations for the month of April to make medical grade surgical gowns and masks for the region's medical community amidst the COVID-19 global pandemic, as part of a regional collaboration led by ISAIC, the Industrial Sewing and Innovation Center.
The Detroit Lions and the Empowerment Plan have been in partnership since 2016 to aid in both short and long term needs of the community, including hiring single parents from local shelters and providing them training and full-time employment as seamstresses so they can earn a stable income, find secure housing, and regain their independence. Historically grant money has been used to fund the production of their innovative EMPWR Coat, which can transform into a sleeping bag at night or an over-the-shoulder bag for the homeless population.
In response to Coronavirus, Empowerment Plan temporarily shut down its facility in mid-March, but has continued to pay wages to its employees. With a manufacturing infrastructure already in place, Empowerment Plan was recently approached by ISAIC about partnering on the production of much needed medical personal protective equipment. ISAIC is currently working with the State of Michigan to ensure that the masks will be using medical grade materials and standardized product specifications.
The Detroit Lions Inspire Change grant has made it possible for The Empowerment Plan to operate during the month of April to do just that. Fifteen of Empowerment Plan's seamstresses will be back to work in the coming weeks to produce medical masks and gowns while receiving their regular pay. The donation from Detroit Lions Inspire Change will be able to cover these wages in addition to the varied operational costs to the Empowerment Plan.
LIONS HEAD COACH MATT PATRICIA
"The Empowerment Plan has inspired our team for years and this ongoing effort to provide relief to our medical community during such trying times is a direct reflection to the character of their organization. Veronika Scott leads an incredible group of women and I couldn't be more proud of their dedication to our community. The gowns and masks they will produce will be appreciated by the heroes in our hospital systems fighting this battle as they risk their own lives to save others. I'm also thankful for the many staff behind-the-scenes in multiple organizations who have made this operation come to life. I look forward to our continued partnership with Veronika and everyone associated with The Empowerment Plan."
LIONS TEAM CAPTAIN LB JARRAD DAVIS
"I've been familiar with The Empowerment Plan ever since we had the opportunity to visit their facility back when I was a rookie in 2017, and it was a great experience. Everyone is trying to do their part right now and for us to be in a position to help others, we are very fortunate for that. My teammates and I are grateful to be able to partner with people who inspire so many in this community."
EMPOWERMENT PLAN CEO AND FOUNDER VERONIKA SCOTT
"Empowerment Plan is so grateful for the generosity and support of the Detroit Lions. With their gift we will be able to play our small part in helping to protect those risking their lives every day. Pre-production began last week under the guidance of ISAIC and official production is set to begin on April 6."
The organization was founded by Veronika Scott when a class at The College for Creative Studies in Detroit challenged her to create a product to fill an actual need in the community. Since 2012, 85 individuals have been permanently pulled from homelessness and 43,000+ coats have been distributed internationally to those in need.
For more information about how to get involved visit charity.gofundme.com/epwagesupport.
ABOUT THE EMPOWERMENT PLAN
The Empowerment Plan aims to elevate families from the generational cycle of homelessness by hiring single parents from local homeless shelters and providing them training and full-time employment manufacturing sleeping bag coats for the homeless population. The organization also provides necessary resources for the seamstresses to continue their education, find permanent housing and regain their independence. Since 2012, 85 individuals have been provided with employment at the Empowerment Plan as seamstresses and 43,000+ coats have been distributed internationally. The EMPWR Coat is a water-resistant jacket, which can transform into a sleeping bag and be worn as an over-the-shoulder bag when not in use. The Empowerment Plan works with community organizations to provide GED courses, counseling, financial literacy classes and professional development seminars for their employees.
ABOUT THE DETROIT LIONS
The Detroit Lions are a professional American football team based in Detroit, Michigan. They are members of the North Division of the National Football Conference (NFC) in the National Football League (NFL), and play their home games at Ford Field in downtown Detroit. The team located to Detroit in 1934 and is the National Football League's fifth-oldest franchise. The Detroit Lions most recently made the NFL playoffs in 2016, when they finished with a 9-7 record.