By Lisa Robertson
Special to The Review
The Detroit Friendship House was founded in 1929. The Friendship House has been providing more services within the last 80 years than most organizations can imagine. And while the success of the last 80-plus years have been excellent, the organization is also struggling in this tough economical time.
Friendship House provides much needed services to the people of Hamtramck with things like food, clothing, shelter and financial assistance. Much more than that, Friendship House is a true friend to many hurting families in our community.
It’s a place to see a smiling face, to get a meal on the table, a place in the community to share our struggles. Their services are in high demand as many families are now barely making ends meet. And though Friendship House helps hundreds — even thousands — of families in our community each year the demand increases.
Friendship House Food Program
One of the services provided is the Harvest Food Pantry which provides low-income families with food to last them through the month. Places like Gleaners Food Bank, Forgotten Harvest and Enlenmenn’s Bakeries provide a large amount of food assistance. However, many other private organizations and people like you provide additional services to the Harvest Food Pantry.
In the year 2009 the Harvest Food Pantry helped over 2,000 households, which was around 186 families monthly. The families are allowed to receive food services once a month, and receive cards that allow them access to the pantry for the year. Families are required to re-register each year. There are additional programs for seniors that provide them with food cards for two years.
More Programs at the Friendship House:
In addition to this service, Friendship House provides instant birthday kits for children 12 and under who might not otherwise get a birthday gift or cake. There are also Emergency Kits for families in crisis who may not otherwise qualify for one of the programs, or who lost the use of their refrigerator, or suffered from fire.
Additional programs at Friendship House provide services for utilities, and rent/mortgage payments. Baby shower services are also provided for those who are new moms as well as assistance for pregnant women. The service provides them with car seats, bassinets and other needed resources.
Friendship House spent more than $1 million last year with close to $40,000 being spent on non-food items needed in our community. About $90,000 of its budget went to help families with utility and rent/mortgage payments.
A Meal Worth Millions
Every fourth Sunday of the month churches, organizations and community groups take turns assisting the community by providing them a hearty meal at Friendship House. The dinner is unique, providing an atmosphere of love, friendship and support for our needy families.
This service comes at a time each month that Hamtramck residents are in the most need. However, it is not limited to just the Hamtramck community. A meal is provided to anyone who walks through the doors of Friendship House.
How You Can Help the Friendship House
Though Friendship House has provided a lot for our community it is always looking for more people to assist. Whether you spend your time helping in the programs, donating financial assistance, or merely packing up your gently used clothing and household items, Friendship House needs your assistance. If you are in need or just want to help those who are, Friendship House makes everyone feel welcome.
On May 22, a Walk-a-thon will be held to help raise money for Friendship House. Each walker is asked to collect sponsorships of at least $100 to assist in the support of their services this year. The event will be from 9 a.m. to noon, starting from Friendship House and touring the Historical landmarks of Hamtramck. For more information, call Friendship House at (313) 871-7443, or Rev. Dr. Donnis Reese at (248) 797-4073.
There is also an eBay program in which donated items are placed online for auction. Items should be at least $25. All items are tax deductible. The program is hosted by First Baptist Church of Birmingham. For more information, call Contact Keely at (248) 591-0458.
Items of Need:
Baby items, including Layettes, car seats, strollers
Gently used clothing (all sizes)
For more information on Friendship House contact them at:
Hamtramck, MI 48212
Contact: Linnea Berg -Executive Director