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Clinton Township

December 24, 2013

Business raises donations for domestic violence survivors

By Nick Mordowanec
C & G Staff Writer

CLINTON TOWNSHIP — Mark MacDonald was instrumental in making his company and his co-workers aware of the tribulations that many others face every day.

Thirty years later, the tradition of helping domestic violence survivors is still going strong.

MacDonald is the operations manager at Petitpren Inc., an Anheuser-Busch beer distributor in Clinton Township that has existed for 80 years. Petitpren delivers beer products to 1,220 retailers in Macomb County and Hamtramck, accounting for 60 percent of beer sales in Macomb County and selling more than four million cases each year.

The company’s biggest success perhaps may be its association with Turning Point, an organization that, for more than 30 years, has helped domestic violence victims and survivors help return to a life they once knew.

Petitpren and Turning Point are adjoined in a partnership that benefits said survivors and gives them financial means to have a chance to be successful and, more importantly, move beyond the demonizing effects  of physical and sexual abuse.

The alliance is simple. Employees at Petitpren raise out-of-pocket funds that are eventually donated to Turning Point.

But there is a little catch.

The owners, company president Dean Petitpren and vice president Brad Petitpren, match the funds raised by their employees, so donations are doubled. And it all started when MacDonald became aware of the reality of other people’s situations.

“It goes back to where we first started it,” MacDonald said. “I was pretty moved and the guys, who were male-dominant — it was people living in fear.

“It struck a chord to me, and I explained to these guys that these are women and children hiding out. It was, ‘What kind of Christmas will they have?’”

Petitpren’s donations, after the owners match the employees’ funds, extend into the thousands of dollars. Eight families are benefiting from the funds in 2013, and MacDonald said that in the 30-year partnership between both entities, more than 200 families have benefited from the donations.

Turning Point, located in Mount Clemens, offers counseling, child care, assistance, forensic nurse examiners program for rape programs and more. It is the only domestic violence shelter in all of Macomb County.

And when Turning Point receives its donations from Petitpren around Christmas every year, the families use the money for amenities such as fuel and clothing. Petitpren turned over all of its donations to Turning Point on Dec. 20 this year.

“After people leave the shelter, we still help them and provide counseling for them,” said Lynn Wilhelm, development director at Turning Point. “There are a lot of things they need to navigate. If you can imagine, you have been physically or mentally abused, and you find yourself with your children. You might not have money or a job, or be homeless. (It’s something) we try to help clients with.”

Turning Point is a 501(c)(3) organization that began as a grassroots organization and is now being funded by individuals, foundations and government grants. And through the partnership that has developed over the decades, both sides are benefiting on their own accord.

“Our company is really proud to have employees with such strong loyalty to our community and commitment to helping our fellow neighbors,” Brad Petitpren said in a press release. “This community has supported our company and our employees for generations. We are proud to give back and help make our community better and stronger for everyone.”

And for MacDonald, who Wilhelm said spearheaded the initial process of helping others in need, he is proud of his fellow employees and just wants to make a difference in a place he knows he can help.

“It’s nice to know we are helping people at this time of year,” MacDonald said. “We are trying to help as best we can.”

Often, a little help goes a long way. And sometimes, a beneficial partnership develops that lasts numerous decades and looks to continue for plenty more.

You can reach C & G Staff Writer Nick Mordowanec at nmordowanec@candgnews.com or at (586)279-1118.