By Alan Madlane
Hamtramck has always been a caring town.
Even if the old city council meetings of yesteryear seemed more like Big Time Wrestling was about to break out.
A group of folks hereabouts add to that caring saga from across the years.
They go by “Hamtramck Mutual Aid,” and we talked to them.
Here’s how it sounded.
The Review: How many years has Hamtramck Mutual Aid been helping out folks with shoveling their walks in winter?
Hamtramck Mutual Aid: We started in the winter of 2020-2021, so this will be our third winter. Another Hamtramckan, Susan Dunn-Rahdar, organized a similar program for many years before this.
The Review: Your call out to partner with other organizations – have you done this before, or is this a new approach to try to get some more help than you’ve had in the past?
HMA: This is a new approach to boost volunteers, as the demand for shoveling is great (2021-22 winter had approximately a 2:1 house-to-volunteer ratio, and we expect it to be even higher this year). (Well, the winter is proving to be snow-free, so far – editor).
We need some more community members to lean in to help! Shout outs to APIA MI, Midtown 3C7 Block Club, Grace Baptist Church, and Hamtramck Area Disaster Recovery Group for partnering with us.
The Review: Does Hamtramck Mutual Aid do anything other than helping get folks’ snow shoveled?
HMA: Yes. We have a timebank, with the goal of neighbors exchanging services for free, sharing their time and talent to build stronger communities.
This summer, our yard match-up program paired volunteers with senior neighbors, or neighbors with disabilities, to clean up yards and alleys so they would avoid costly tickets.
We are also trying to pilot free food delivery, in partnership with other mutual aid groups. We meet the second Wednesdays of the month, at 6 pm, usually at Book Suey (10345 Jos. Campau) — all are welcome!
The Review: Sounds like a great way to make some new friends with some great people!
Do you do driveways as well as sidewalks – even if they are extra-long or -wide driveways?
HMA: We’ll even do a corner house, if it’s needed and we have the volunteer capacity to do it. Even if people can only commit to one extra house, it helps us meet that need.
We definitely need more helping hands!
The Review: About how many people do you have working with you on this so far?
HMA: Last year, we had about 30 volunteers total, and we are still waiting to hear back from a few of them who had expressed interest in doing it again this year, but we are always looking for more hands (we can’t repeat that enough)!
We do make our best effort to pair you as close to home as possible, optimally on the same block.
Volunteers — as well as neighbors who are seniors or have a disability, who could benefit from our services — are encouraged to sign up at bit.ly/HMASnow2022
The Review: Thank you, for what you do! I’m sure it’s much appreciated!
Posted Jan. 20, 2023