July 13, 2019/HIGHLAND PARK, MI. — It was the perfect day for playing in the dirt: Sunny skies, not a drop of rain on the horizon, and a garden filled with produce to harvest.
A Time to Help volunteers on Saturday did that and more at Buckets of Rain urban garden, located across the street from the SAY Detroit Family Medical Clinic. They pulled weeds. They delicately picked green beans and pulled onions out of the dirt. They planted carrots. They pulled weeds.
Boy, did they pull weeds — wheelbarrows full of them.
Under the direction of Buckets of Rain operations manager Tony Johnson and garden manager Warren Brantley — affectionately know as “King of the Garden’’ — ATTH’s July event was filled with projects aimed at nourishing the nonprofit’s neediest citizens. It’s an effort that can’t be done without the help of volunteers, Johnson said.
“For us at Buckets of Rain, with the amount of food we’re trying to grow, we need about 4,000 volunteer hours to sustain what we need,” he said. “They’re so important.”
A Time to Help will be back in Highland Park on Aug. 24 to assist at a community health fair. Details will be posted in the coming weeks. The health fair will involve several nonprofits, include the SAY Clinic, Avalon Village and Buckets of Rain. Avalon Village and Buckets of Rain are partner programs of SAY Detroit this year.
“We’re excited about the coalition we’re trying to build in the community,” Johnson said. “”We’re trying to create solidarity in Highland Park to promote each other and make sure people get the most out of all of the services. There are people who want to create positive change here, and it can’t happen without everybody’s input.’’
Many of the county’s homeless find their way to the food pantry, Sunday soup kitchen and Wednesday community suppers at Grace Episcopal Church of Mt. Clemens. Its care for the homeless made it eligible for a $5,000 grant from the A Hole in the Roof Foundation, whose mission is to help faith and relief groups of every denomination who care for the homeless, underserved populations, and victims of disaster by providing funds to repair the spaces where they offer their services.
A sister organization of SAY Detroit, A Hole in the Roof selects one local organization each year to support with funds raised during the annual Radiothon.
Best-laid (floor) plans…
As a recipient of Radiothon funding raised in December of 2017 and distributed in a special ceremony the following March, Grace Episcopal Church originally planned to repair the floor of its dining hall. Nature, and a literal hole in the roof, presented a more immediate need. An unexpected leak in the kitchen’s roof would periodically cause up to 2 inches of flooding, which in turn would shut down the kitchen’s use for meals the homeless community had come to depend upon.
Frequently unable to cook, they would resort to ordering pizza. The grant from A Hole in the Roof covered more than half of the repair project’s $9,000 cost.
“The best thing is that it has not leaked since it was fixed in March … Now we can continue feeding people every week without the fear of having to close the kitchen due to flooding.”
— Pastor Steven Steinberger-Domienik
The community supper at Grace Episcopal provides a full warm meal, blood pressure screening and companionship to approximately 125 people every Wednesday night, 52 weeks a year.
A Hole in the Roof’s name is inspired by its formation in assisting the I Am My Brother’s Keeper church in Detroit, where, despite a gaping hole in the roof that exposed the sanctuary to the elements, the late pastor Henry Covington provided food, shelter, and spiritual nourishment for the homeless and underserved in his community.
SAY Detroit’s own roots grew out of a modest effort to extend the services offered to the homeless during the 2006 Super Bowl weekend (if you’ve never seen it, check out our running timeline.) Your support continues the work of SAY Detroit and A Hole in the Roof in funding and partnering with programs that help our homeless populations – which include individuals, families, veterans – with immediate and long-term transitional needs.
A Hole in the Roof awarded a grant this spring for needed structural improvements at St Luke AME Church in Highland Park, which has been providing spiritual food to the community for over 100 years as the first black church in the city. Stay tuned for more updates from this latest project.
It’s Saturday afternoon and WAVE Project is hosting their monthly outreach barbecue in Mount Clemens. Patrons receive a hot meal, free haircut, hygiene kits and most importantly – conversation. Todd Gordon and Dale Pittman are just two of six friends who wanted to get out into the community and make a positive impact.
Dale: Our name stands for Welcoming All Valuing Everyone and that’s a relational thing where we just want to come and hang out with people, meet new people.
Todd: We spent time building relationships with people experiencing homelessness and hygiene services was something that became really evident to us as a need.
Mitch: If you don’t have a home where are you going to take a shower right?
Todd: Yeah and the idea that transportation is such a huge barrier for them so to think that in metro Detroit we can have a shower trailer that we can partner with organizations and bring it to them.
WAVE Project recently received enough in donations to purchase their first shower trailer. It will have three private stalls – providing roughly 40 showers per day. With plans to hit the streets in August, they are looking for a truck to tow the trailer and partners that need their services.
Mitch: When people get an opportunity to clean up it changes their attitude.
Todd: When I don’t feel clean maybe I can’t approach that family member that I have had a rift with maybe I don’t feel confident enough to go into a local business and apply for a job or get treatment so we are just trying to just meet them right where they are and provide the basic service along with the relational elements and the love.
Dale: The homeless community was a big deal for us just to get to know these people and treat them like people don’t treat them like they are nobody.
WAVE Project is showing respect and sharing love to a community in need right here in the heart of Detroit.
ATTH volunteers will weed, clean garden beds, plant and do other light chores at Buckets of Rain, which provides fresh produce for the homeless and hungry in Detroit. Volunteers will be working at the nonprofit’s urban garden in Highland Park, located across the street from the SAY Detroit Family Health Clinic.
Date: Saturday, July 13
Time: 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Where: Across the street from the SAY Detroit Family Health Clinic, 211 Glendale Ave., Highland Park, MI., 48203 | Map
Parking: Available in the clinic’s parking lot, and on Glendale
Attire/Other Info: As this is an outdoor project, please dress appropriately. Please wear closed toe shoes and work gloves. Not necessary to bring gardening equipment.
At just nine years old McKenna Rae Schummer was diagnosed with osteosarcoma – a cancer that eventually took her life. But during her treatment at Children’s Hospital of Michigan, McKenna discovered a passion for make up.
Melissa: So she became known as this little girl who always had her makeup on and then the nurses started bringing in their makeup and she would ask can I do your makeup oh of course.
Her hospital room turned into a salon. Make up, hair, nails – she did it all. But then she thought, why not go bigger? And with a financial donation from a family friend, McKenna created something amazing.
Melissa: One day was I’m going to call it McKenna’s Squad Beauty Bar and I want to do the makeup on the kids at the hospital.
Mitch: Was there a grand opening for the Beauty Bar?
Melissa: There was.
Luanne: The grand opening was extremely emotional for all of us because we saw these kids come in again you can see they don’t feel well they step into this room and they light up.
McKenna passed away before seeing her Beauty Bar complete but her vision of it is everywhere. Volunteers and nurses are her beauty squad – helping to make her clients feel beautiful. And if the patients can’t make it to McKenna’s Squad Beauty Bar, a Beauty Box travels to them.
Melissa: It looks just like the beauty bar like you are walking in it has McKenna’s signature it has her quote “Find your courage, strength and beauty”.
Mitch: McKenna’s message portable
Melissa: Yes it is
Luanne: She was a beautiful girl and she wanted to help others even when she didn’t feel well.
McKenna’s Squad Beauty Bar is helping hospitalized kids find their beauty, inside and out, right here in the heart of Detroit.
Gail Rosenbloom Kaplan is a local artist with international fame. Her work spans multiple mediums but eight years ago Gail got the itch to step out of her studio and start working in the community. Children’s Hospital of Michigan came calling.
Gail: They said we have an opportunity for you for an artist to work in the hospital with pediatric patients. It feels natural because I work a lot with kids.
So, two days a week Gail sets up a mini studio at Children’s Hospital of Michigan. The response has been overwhelming.
Gail: For the population of kids I am working with this is like super exciting and for the kids to have a reason to get out of their bed and to walk down the hall to have fun rewarding for me and for them as well and here it was using art as the venue to communicate and a reason to talk. When the kids are sitting there they forget where they are and so do I.
Gail offers two types of artistic projects – painting on a t-shirt or sand art on a sticky board. The kids get to choose their design and with Gail’s help they immerse themselves in the world of art.
Mitch: What is it about art that you feel is healing especially for children?
Gail: Well what’s healing about it is it gives them the opportunity not just to do a project but to deal with being in the hospital and having just something to focus on other than their illness. They feel empowered by it and they leave and they are excited that they have done something new and it’s just a total rewarding job and as an artist I feel super gratified.
Gail Rosenbloom Kaplan is showing the true healing power of art right here in the heart of Detroit.
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