The Helpers, Continued
Local businesses & people do their part
From the July, 2020 issue
Washtenaw Intermediate School District's county-wide donation drive "Safe Schools Washtenaw" is collecting PPE and monetary contributions to help more than 46,000 students and faculty return to in-person instruction. The level of state and federal support to procure supplies for school's eventual reopening is unclear at this point. Facial coverings, gel hand sanitizer, disinfecting wipes, facial tissues, and disposable gloves can be dropped off every Wednesday in August, noon-3 p.m., at WISD Teaching and Learning Center, 1819 S. Wagner.
Election move out. On Aug. 2, the Bird Center moved 162 injured and recovering birds from the nonprofit bird hospital on Mary St. to a house in Dexter. The city-owned building is a polling site, and as part of the lease agreement, each time an election rolls around a caravan of cars moves all birds, enclosures, incubators, oxygen products, cleaning supplies, and food to a temporary site. The birds returned to Mary St. Aug. 5. "Move, feed, unpack. Then repeat."
The American Red Cross has launched an emergency appeal for plasma donations by people who have recovered from Covid-19. "Convalescent plasma" contains antibodies that might help patients who are actively fighting the virus. Blood and platelet donations also are urgently needed - and now include antibody testing to learn your Covid-19 status.
About five times a week, mother and daughter Carolynn and Anna Hayman set out from their home in Burns Park, equipped with trash receptacles and giant "tweezers" to pick up neighborhood litter. Your Trashy Friends walk for hours, snagging debris from storm drains, removing abandoned Solo cups, and methodically cutting down hundreds of moldy shoes from electrical lines. It's quality fun for all, they say - a good way to get exercise and see the neighborhood, "but we don't know if it's making any behavioral changes in the end."
Team members of Duo Security-the multibillion dollar international cloud-access security provider cofounded by locals
Dug Song and Jon Oberheide-have donated approximately $150,000 towards Covid-19 relief efforts, including Food Gatherers and United Way of Washtenaw County, and $300,000 towards regional and national racial justice organizations.
The Arts Alliance's Creative Washtenaw Aid fund is one of the only local cash supports for artists and creative organizations impacted by Covid-19. The funding is unrestricted-artists can use it to pay bills if they need to. "The devastation [to the creative sector] is just very difficult to comprehend," says Arts Alliance president Deb Polich. "Many of us are trying to figure out how to survive the extended shut down." Roughly $27,000 has been distributed county-wide since venues started closing in early March.
Shelley Victoria Catalan, Ann Arbor-based painter, jeweler, and lead vocalist of the nine-piece Afro-Caribbean funk-rock dance band Jive Colossus, was able to use Creative Washtenaw Aid funds towards her jewelry making. "For years, myself and other creative freelancers and entrepreneurs were always ineligible for unemployment and benefits when work disappeared," Catalan says. "The fact that the fund existed precisely at a time when all my work was canceled, and I was desperate, means so much to me," Catalan says.
West Side United Methodist Church is partnering with Food Gatherers to host a nonperishable food drive this Saturday, July 18 from 9 a.m.-2 p.m, in the Church's parking lot. They'll be accepting contactless donations at the church, 900 S. Seventh St.
Alzheimer's Association - Michigan Chapter - offers accessible, virtual educational programs, caregiver tips, support groups, and services for individuals, caregivers, practitioners, and facilities navigating dementia during the Covid-19 outbreak. A third of Michigan's Covid-19-related deaths have occurred in nursing homes, where nearly half of residents have Alzheimer's or other dementia.
Since April, the Old National Bank Foundation has awarded $300,000 to Washtenaw County nonprofits responding to Covid-19. Their current application cycle runs from July 15-August 13.
Since mid-March, the Ann Arbor Area Community Foundation has distributed $1.3 million in grants and a quarter million dollars in loans to support local nonprofits and other institutions in Washtenaw County responding to Covid-19. Community investment vice president Jillian Rosen emails that they expect to give out $700,000 more this year, "because we know the crisis is not over." See their website for continually updated details about how to apply, program priorities, and more.
With help from AAFC and United Way of Washtenaw County, We the People Opportunity Farm's founder and director Melvin Parson was able to shift his farms' business model in response to Covid-19. WTPOF's mission is to break the cycle of incarceration in Washtenaw County by offering formerly incarcerated men and women paid farming and community building internships. Before Covid-19, farm produce was sold to local restaurants. Now, much of it is distributed free to folks in the immediate neighborhood.
Ann Arbor Pride is inviting local businesses and artists to participate in their virtual silent auction, to run July 27-Aug. 3. "Our hope is that we can help small businesses that have been negatively affected by Covid," says director Joe Schoch. All proceeds go back to the donating party-though donors can choose to direct a portion or all of their earnings to the Jim Toy Community Center.
YpsiLocal's community-sponsored 24/7, open-air U-Access Food Pantry, supported by local social advocate D'Real Graham and Ypsilanti Realtor Tyler Weston, is an emergency response to Covid-19 to keep people in the Huron Valley safe and healthy. "Take freely, give cheerfully," at 315 River St., Ypsilanti, or donate directly to Patreon.com/BlackWithPlants.
TeaHaus provides hundreds of free meals every week for locals in need, including seniors in low-income Avalon Housing, food-insecure families, and folks at the Food Gatherers Community Kitchen at the Delonis Center. Donations can be made at TeaHaus.com or in-person at TeaHaus (204-206 N. 4th Ave.) or Eat More Tea (211 E. Ann).
Ann Arbor T-Shirt Company assembles 25,000 face shields, sending them to healthcare workers at St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor, Michigan Medicine, and other urgent care facilities. "It's been tremendously fulfilling to turn our success to the community," co-owner Jerry Kozak told MLive. "I like t-shirts but it's pretty evident it's not what the country needed right now."
EMU biology professor Tamara Tucker-Ibarisha and Nonprofit Enterprise at Work CEO Yodit Mesfin Johnson's African diaspora literacy program, Black Men Read, connects storytellers with elementary school students across Washtenaw County. To donate books, see Black Stone Bookstore for a list of titles included in the program.
Local Maurits 'Rits' Sier biked 472 miles from Ann Arbor to Marquette, backed by donors and taking pledges per mile for Detroit Will Breath, We the People Detroit, and Black Lives Matter. The bike trip concluded on June 19 after 66 hours on the road. He raised $2,458.
Making Youth Matter, a mentorship program between EMU School of Social Work and Ypsilanti Community Schools, celebrates the end of a disrupted school year by delivering "You Matter" boxes, filled with personalized photos, books, brain teasers, board games, and more, to YCS students.
Local activist Mandi Steed's project Paint the City uses eco-friendly spray chalk to paint sidewalk, streets, and other outdoor spaces with quotes and stories of the Black Lives Matter movement. Steed is actively looking for local businesses to stand in solidarity with BLM; email firstname.lastname@example.org with inquiries.
On June 19 and the days following, United Way of Washtenaw County's National Day of Action calls on locals to engage in meaningful remote, virtual skill-based, and select in-person volunteering, as well as Juneteenth advocacy. "No one person or organization can do it alone," says UW Washtenaw's senior development associate Madeline Mortimer, "it takes all of us to step up." To get involved, sign up here.
Ypsilanti-based all-natural body care shop Jane's Roses donates 19% of all profits during the month of June to organizations directly centered towards Black assistance.
York Ann Arbor's multimedia art auction, open June 8-July 8, gives 70% of proceeds to bail funds & Black Lives Matter and 30% back to the artists. To bid, comment under the piece you like. Artists: email Yorka2artAction@gmail.com to submit work of any medium; include name, Instagram handle, PayPal email, the piece's title, medium, size, and starting bid.
The State and Michigan Theaters offer I Am Not Your Negro (Raoul Peck, 2017), Tony Morrison: The Pieces I Am (Timothy Greenfield-Sanders, 2019), and Whose Streets? (Sabaah Folayan, 2018) to purchase for home viewing, with 1/2 of proceeds sent directly to ACLU of Michigan.
U-M students raise $23,000 and counting for racial justice organizations during a livestream benefit variety show Freedom Fundraiser.
Djangophonique, a local ensemble led by guitarist Andrew Brown that plays music inspired by the legendary gypsy jazz guitarist Django Reinhardt, and Detroit Street Filling Station host a fundraiser for WHO & Black Lives Matter. For updates on future fundraisers, see Facebook.com
Vegetarian Indian street food Hut-Kay Fusion offers free food, including misc. veggies & greens, tofu, and rice, as well as organic spinach brown lentil-split mung bean soup, for those in need. "For the community, by the community," says Hut-Kay owner and chef Swaroop Bhojani. Walk-in pickup Tues.-Sat., 11 a.m.-3 p.m. and 5-9 p.m. at Hut-Kay, 3022 Packard. For large orders, call in advance. For questions, call (734) 786-8312 after 11 a.m.
Blue Llama Jazz Club offers free dinner, including salad, an entree, and dessert, to laid-off workers and those in need. To place an order, call (734) 372-3200 any day between 4-7 p.m. Same day pickup between 8:30-9 p.m. at 314 S. Main.
Abracadabra Jewelry and Gem Gallery's weekly jewelry and gift card giveaway, Gratitude Give Back, gives custom jewelry to grocers, healthcare, postal & delivery workers, and other people working essential jobs. Nominate a friend for the chance to win on Instagram or Facebook.
Local couple launches A2 Neighbors, a web platform that uses public donations to purchase meals from area restaurants for health care workers. Note: They are no longer accepting donations at this time.
Zingerman's Deli's recent menu addition, the Buy a Sandwich for a Health Care Hero ($20), funds food deliveries to area health care workers. For questions, call (734) 663-3354.
[Originally published in July, 2020.]
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