Juneteenth is a U.S. federal holiday celebrating the emancipation of enslaved African Americans. In 2020, EPIC Fitness formed a committee for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI), which began searching for ways to promote and foster equality.
EPIC Fitness wanted to commemorate the Juneteenth holiday by giving back to charity organizations in three different communities. The company’s general managers, regional managers and corporate staff all chipped in to give their time to organizations that rely solely on the work of volunteers. In total, 84 employees from the franchise group volunteered their time between the three organizations.
One of the organizations EPIC Fitness selected was HOPE, a Detroit-based nonprofit that works to overcome racism and poverty in the community by providing education and training for underrepresented minorities. The franchise team members in Detroit worked with FOCUS: Hope.
Between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. June 20, the volunteers worked on improving an entire block of a neighborhood in Detroit. The group made a positive impact on the neighborhood block by filling an entire dumpster with weeds, debris and garbage; building and finishing four gabion baskets; planting two trees; weeding, pruning and seeding a butterfly meadow; and cleaning out several flower beds and building new plant beds to be used for community vegetable gardens.
EPIC Fitness also worked with Gleaners Community Food Bank in Taylor, Michigan. The Toledo and Grand Rapids teams spent Juneteenth in the Gleaners Community Food Bank warehouse, organizing and boxing food to be distributed. The group worked hard, and by the end of the day, they had packed a total of 10,080 pounds of food into 336 boxes. This effort by the team will leave a lasting impact on the local food bank and community.
Lastly, the franchise group’s New Hampshire employees worked with Gather’s Portsmouth warehouse. Gather is an organization that distributes healthy food to people experiencing food insecurity. PF Michigan unloaded trucks with shipments of food donated from local stores. The products needed to be organized to go to the community later that day. Additionally, the team built pallets for the family markets that were held later that week.
Since this year’s volunteering efforts were so successful, the franchise group plans on volunteering next year and has discussed how it can make next year’s volunteering efforts even bigger!