Their previous home on 25th street, which had rotting floors, a leaky roof, and no running water since October, was a dire reminder of the hard times they’d fallen upon. The home they shared as children with five other siblings–all now deceased—it was here that Margaret taught internationally renowned recording artist Stevie Wonder to play the piano.
With Margaret as his musical guide, Stevie partnered up with her brother John, and the talented twosome, as “Steve and John,” were eventually signed to Motown Records in the mid-60s. However, when his contract was not renewed, John was forced to walk away from making music. Eventually he gravitated toward songwriting in the 1970s and found success writing songs for big names like the Jackson 5, the Supremes, and creating a number one hit in 1976 with “You Don’t Have to be a Star (To Be in My Show)” for Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis Jr. Financial mismanagement and vague royalty reporting meant little financial reward for the prolific song writer. More on the siblings’ musical legacy in Albom’s Free Press profile here.
The smell of fresh-baked cookies filled the air as the late Texana Hollis, the 101-year old woman who made national headlines when she was evicted from her home, finally returned to her home of sixty years in the spring of 2012. The house had received a complete makeover after the HUD had deemed the conditions unlivable. Made possible by the efforts of Mitch Albom and SAY Detroit, the improved including a new roof, new carpeting and tile floors, freshly-painted walls, new kitchen cabinets, new appliances, a new heating system, and a newly built wheelchair accessible porch ramp.
It turns out you can go home again.
Mother Maude Batie
The efforts to restore the soup kitchen brought three local charities together. First, the Heart of Detroit brought Mother Batie’s work into the spotlight. In November 2012, A Time to Help volunteers worked to paint, retile the, and restore the yard. And when the exterior of the building needed work, S.A.Y. Detroit turned to the Dream Scholars at the College for Creative Studies to, for the first time, put Mother Batie’s name on the home she has built. Nineteen colored 6-foot-by-7 inch tall letters, painted on Masonite, spell out “Mother Batie’s Kitchen.”
The United Sisters of Charity has been a multi-year recipient of Radiothon funding.