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Sunday July 12, 2020
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The Helpers, Continued

Local businesses & people do their part

by Ella Bourland

From the July, 2020 issue

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

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 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

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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 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 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 and

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.     (end of article)


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