project leader
Amy L
Riverside Art Center, 76 N Huron Street
(Downtown Ypsi)
latest update rss
The final purchases: two big purchases for a shelter in need!

the project

So many of our houseless people spend so much time on the street. Even as the staff of MISSION works hard to create daytime shelters and drop in hours in Ypsi and Ann Arbor, there's no avoiding it - the houseless must walk many hours in the cold. And that takes its toll. 

Some people just can't spend the night in a shelter. They feel terribly uncomfortable inside four walls, and so they spend their nights in tents, in cars, or wherever they can find shelter. This can be brutal.

With the money we raise, we want to provide some people, at least, the winter gear that will make being on the streets a little bit more comfortable and a little less dangerous. Long underwear, wool blend socks, EMPOWR coat/sleeping bags - these things can change lives.

It seems so little, and yet it can do so much. 

the steps

1. Purchase the most EMPOWR coat/sleeping bags possible, and distribute them to MISSION shelters.

2. Purchase long underwear in xl and large sizes, wool blend socks - most likely from Sam's in Ann Arbor.

3. Distribute to MISSION shelters.

4. Take pictures at shelters, with recipient's permission, of those accepting these new items. Posting on board - if they are ok with this. 

why we're doing it

We all see these "invisible" people - begging on the street, at the exit ramps. They are there. My Uncle Huey couldn't get sober, and died in an abandoned building fire in New York City before I was born. I never met him. I think of him, cold and alone. I see him when I see these men, young boys, trying to stay warm.

We have a responsibility to do what we can, when we can, and this is such a small thing - helping a fellow human being stay warm when it's cold outside. We need to recognize that even as we do provide shelters, not everyone can access them. What do we do for those who can't? 

We can, at the very least, provide warm clothing and outer wear. That's what we are trying to do here. 


Second Disbursement 3/3/20:

$225 goes for a gas stove

$131.96 goes towards a $150 washing machine

TOTAL RAISED = $388.00
ioby Platform Fee waived
ioby Fiscal Sponsorship Fee (5%) $19.40
ioby Donation Processing Fee (3%) $11.64


Disbursed Budget (1/23/20):

EMPOWR sleeping bag coats @125 125 x 5 = 625

Allot money for crisis shelter in local
motels when emergency shelters are
full. Rates range $50-60 per night $50 x 8 = 400

TOTAL RAISED = $1,150.00
ioby Platform Fee $35.00
ioby Fiscal Sponsorship Fee (5%) $57.50
ioby Donation Processing Fee (3%) $34.50

Original Budget:

We are hoping to buy 10 EMPOWR sleeping bag/coats, at $125 each. These coats can be life saving, when a person cannot get into a shelter - or just will not, for reasons best known to themselves. This would cost $1,250; the coats are sewn by the EMPOWR Project, in Detroit; the sewers are formerly homeless people who are in training and are also enrolled in education programs through the EMPOWR project.

We plan to spend the rest of the money on long underwear and wool blend socks - two items that are rarely donated and are critical for the health of people who spend a lot of time on the streets and a lot of time on the street. 

These items can be worn by all genders, and we will get a variety of sizes. We will distribute them through the established MISSION shelters: Peace House, Hill House, Mercy, and Delonis. 

ioby Platform Fee     $35
ioby Fiscal Sponsorship Fee (5%)    $111
ioby Donation Processing Fee (3%)    $66
TOTAL TO RAISE =    $2,212


The final purchases: two big purchases for a shelter in need!

With the help of Ed at Appliance Outlet in Ypsilanti, we bought a barely used washing machine and stove for... $400! Ed, we know you made barely a dime on this, and WE REALLY APPRECIATE IT! Hill House, or Purple House, on Stone School Road in Ann Arbor, is being renovated, so this was the perfect time for new appliances. Cameron Bright, the man in charge there, said their old stove was on its last legs. The washing machine was in constant use and was dying a slow death.

But now... there are two beautiful new machines!

Thanks to everyone who made this a possibility!  

We made it! Now to buy all the things!

A great big THANK YOU, to the people who came out on a horrible rainy, nasty Saturday. Those who showed up were tough souls and Irene and I appreciate you. And a Shout out to all the vendors and local people who donated things and services: Roos Roast, Blackstone Books, Unicorn Feed and Supply, Bobcat Bonnies, Decode Ypsilanti, Go! Ice Cream, and more, to be thanked on Twitter, too!

We made, without the checks that are still hanging out there, $2,088! 

I just went out and bought every reasonably priced pair of gloves in Washtenaw County, with the help of Dan Freidus. Then it's on to Amazon, which I'd rather not, but they are cheaper. I talked with people who work closely with the houseless community and I am ordering a lot of underwear as well - because, think about it: who donates underwear? And long johns. And gloves! lots of gloves. 

I bought them yesterday and took them to a meeting last night. I will get the sleeping bag/coats early next week. 

Irene and I looked at each other and thought, with this rain, will anyone show up? But people came early, helped set up, said nice things, and gave lots of cash - over $400 in cash alone! It was amazing.

As Lily, who was dragooned into helping, and I were about to leave, an older man came in, soaked and freezing, and asked if we had any dry clothes. Of course we did. We showed him where Ypsi Gathering Space's Free Store is - where so much of local donations go - and when he left, he said he felt like a new man. 

That's what this kind of thing can do. So thanks. Thanks for helping, thanks for the support, because the kind words do matter; they help. 

I'll be posting some pictures of the purchases here. Amy and Irene. 

Stunning Black and White Wall Hanging Donated...

We are gathering amazing donations, including a black and white quilted wall hanging that would work with any decor. Go! Ice Cream just gave us a gift card for one ice cream pie that feeds 12 to 16 people. 

And we have one full length fur coat. One sable shrug. And one black shearling jacket. Beautiful vintage pieces with embroidery inside. They're in perfect shape.  Warm, lovely, and so, so soft. 

Besides these, Book Bound has given us 15 Roald Dahl books in a set, plus a gift card, and Black Stone Books (I love that place...) has also given us a gift card! Great places to go and just wander. 

Bobcat Bonnie's has given us a gift card for quite a tidy sum, and Unicorn Feed and Supply gave us a huge, lovely basket that the 12 year old in me is coveting.

I stopped in to post a sign and Cultivate Coffee, and the manage said that the volunteer organization is talking us up, so that's nice! We are at $900 now - almost halfway to our goal! 

We WILL have an EMPOWR coat/sleeping bag for people to see and try on; these are the amazing sleeping bags that can become coats during the day, and finally shoulder bags. They are life saving and at the same time, they save a person's dignity. 

We have four blends of tea and Clayworks has loaned us two beautiful tea pots, and I'm bringing two more! We have a cadre of bakers lined up. This will be a really fun grown up tea and coffee party! I hope to see you all on Saturday, at Riverside Arts Center, 70 N. Huron St., in Ypsilanti. - Amy  ( this is a picture of the wall hanging)

Meeting tomorrow, Saturday, Dec 13, 4:00 2370 Georgetown Blvd

If you would like to help plan the fundraiser in any way, please come by Amy's house for a short, 1 hour maximum meeting. We'll discuss everything from asking for silent auction items, to posting signs, to who's baking what, to who's bringing paper plates - everything. 

Don't assume we've thought of it... please make a list if you have some ideas you'd like to discuss. Amy has some things in mind, but she's totally open to everyone's thoughts, ideas, and concerns.

Irene has many bakers lined up, and there are others out there who would like to bake - let's make sure we don't have 14 plates of brownies and no chocolate chips! Please let Amy know if you are planning to come so she has enough chairs - drop her an email or a call at 734-972-6964. See you tomorrow! 

The Silent Auction so far!

What do you expect when someone donates a bag of underwear?

Well. Ok. Mostly...underwear...the occasional lonely sock. Maybe something best thrown away, no questions asked?

But with our neighbors being the amazing neighbors they are, beneath a layer of boxers we found... three fur coats. I'm not kidding.

One full length. One shrug - a sort of shoulder-covering thing. 

One black shearling (I think? I always wanted to write that) jacket to just about your waist, edged in black fur of some sort. 

Now, most of these are vintage, around 1950-1960, but in perfect shape, with some embroidery in the lining. But I have to say, the black jacket is absolutely au courant (Ok, I got that from the NY Times, and again, ALWAYS wanted to write that about something). It could've been sewn yesterday. I'll post some pictures over the next few days. Bridget, a friend of Sheri's, will be modeling them at the fundraiser, and I'll try to get some pictures of her wearing them before hand. 

Furs. Stuck in a garbage bag just below the boxers! For our silent auction.

Wonders will never cease, and I love that about our neighbors. 



This is where photos will go once we build flickr integration


  • Anonymous
  • Anonymous
  • Anonymous
  • Anonymous
  • Joyce
  • Katherine R.
  • Diane S.
  • Anonymous
  • Annie Somerville
  • Emily H.
  • Ryan McGavock
  • Jeff Gaynor
  • Mara L.
  • Carl M Paulina
  • Anonymous
  • Karen M.
  • Jay B
  • Anonymous