News & Updates from A Time to Help
Royal Oak — As scores of patrons waited in line Saturday (May 20) to visit the Polk Penguin Conservation Center, more than two dozen A Time to Help Volunteers made their way behind the building to face the project that awaited them at the Detroit Zoo: Spreading thousands of pounds of landscaping rocks.
How’s that song go? Ain’t No Mountain High Enough
Led by S.A.Y. Detroit founder Mitch Albom and his radio show co-host, Ken Brown, the crew worked diligently for nearly three hours clearing debris, shoveling rocks into wheel barrels and, finally, spreading the rocks around shrubs and trees to beautify the area behind the center.
“This group is awesome,” said Matthew Lapshan, who leads the Detroit Zoo’s landscaping staff. “I can’t believe how much they can get done in a short period of time. They went right to work.”
The fellowship among the volunteers is one of the reasons Donna Mesyn of Clinton Township has been supporting ATTH for the last 15 years.
“Of all my experiences, volunteer people are the greatest to be around,” Mesyn said. “I love ATTH. I love we’re getting something accomplished, and the friendships I’ve made. But the best thing is that we don’t have to look for the work to do; it’s assigned to us because of Mitch and his great organization, and the time they put in. It’s a fun way to spend a Saturday.”
The painters were on rooftops and ladders. The other crew members filled a dumpster with debris that had been littering a two-block area around Cass Community Social Services’ campus in Highland Park.
The common thread was that they were all volunteers — more than two dozen strong — and all members of Mitch Albom’s A Time to Help team that answered the call to service last Saturday (April 8) to help Cass Community’s Tiny Homes neighborhood. (more…)
A Time to Help’s third project of the year on Saturday (March 25) benefited a group that needed a morning to relax and have fun: Women and children involved with COTS and its Bright Beginning Child Development Center.
For more than two hours, more than two dozen A Time To Help volunteers played games with the children during a “Family Fun Day’’ in the cafeteria at COTS’ family-only emergency shelter.
The event was hosted and kicked off by S.A.Y. Detroit founder Mitch Albom and Ken Brown, Albom’s radio show co-host.
“We thank Mitch Albom and his volunteers who came in for our Family Fun Day,” said Konah Kolleh, COTS volunteer and stewardship coordinator. “Because of your giving back, our families were able to focus on having fun and not on what they’re going through in their transition. This gave the parents a break.
“I was talking to one mom, and she said she hadn’t seen her child since she got here – and that’s a good thing because her child was playing a game with one of your volunteers. Today was a day where the parents could sit back, relax, and breathe — and for the kids to be kids.
ATTH’s next project will be held April 8 at Cass Community Social Services.
Gleaners Community Food Bank of Southeastern Michigan has been feeding hungry people and nourishing communities for years. On Saturday (Feb. 18), more than 30 volunteers with Mitch Albom’s A Time to Help initiative contributed to the effort.
The volunteers — which included nearly a dozen National Honor Society students from nearby Fitzgerald High — gathered at Gleaners in Warren to spend the morning repackaging donated frozen carrots into two-pound bags.
Albom divided the group into three teams for a friendly competition to see which one could package the most. By the end of the two-hour shift, all combined, 3,480 pounds of carrots were packaged and boxed. According to Gleaners, the effort will impact nearly 3,000 lives. Working alongside the teams was Ken Brown, Albom’s radio show co-host on WJR (760AM)
“Last year we distributed 35.9 million pounds of food, and we have less than 100 employees,” said Sherree Gerzanics, who works Gleaners as a volunteer coordinator. “If not for the over 48,000 volunteers who came through our doors at all five sites, we couldn’t exist.
“What your group did today was great. We couldn’t do it without you.”
Detroit — When the Michigan Masons and Michigan Masonic Charitable Foundation became large supporters of Mitch Albom’s S.A.Y. Detroit charities last fall, they stressed that their commitment would be more than financial.
They proved that once again on Saturday, January 21, when nearly three dozen Masons and their families joined Albom at The Detroit Water Ice Factory in downtown Detroit for an exclusive A Time to Help project.
For more than two hours, the volunteer group did a deep-cleaning of the store and its storage facilities, from scrubbing floors and windows to organizing items and products sold at the shop at One Campus Martius.
“This was two hours of good sweat,” said Bob Conley, who drove in for the event from Alma with his wife JoNeil. “We had Masons here from all over — Grand Rapids, Port Huron, St. Clair Shores and the Detroit area. We were really happy to be here and help Mitch. What S.A.Y. Detroit does with the (S.A.Y. Play) Center and with this and all of its outreach, it really is a place of hope. Being here today, I certainly see a rebirth in Detroit.”
Created by Albom, the DWIF opened its flagship location at 1014 Woodward Avenue on Aug. 4, 2015. The store follows the “Newman’s Own’’ model of philanthropy, offering a delicious frozen ice dessert – and other products — with the sole goal of raising funds to help others. All profits from the store benefits Detroit’s neediest citizens under Albom’s S.A.Y. Detroit umbrella of charities.
Patty Massman of Macomb Township didn’t know what to expect when she registered for the first time to volunteer at S.A.Y. Detroit’s annual Christmas party to benefit The Salvation Army’s shelter clients and their children.
By the end of her morning of service on Saturday (Dec. 3) at The Salvation Army Harbor Light in Detroit, Massman said her family was ready to sign up for next year’s event.
“This party is amazing,” Massman said of A Time to Help’s largest one-day volunteer effort of the year. “We’ll be doing more of these. To see all the smiles on all the children made it worth it. It was great how everyone came together.”
Led by S.A.Y. Detroit founder Mitch Albom — along with Albom’s radio show co-host Ken Brown — more than 100 volunteers gathered at the Ellen A. Thompson Center to help make the holiday special for more than 100 children and their mothers.
Hundreds of gifts were donated to stock the holiday store (thank you!). And the volunteer spirit was contagious: Some stepped in to serve the guests two meals (breakfast and lunch), while others helped pamper the mothers with massages and manicures as their children played games, danced, and engaged in other fun activities with other volunteers.
And of course, the highlight of the party was the arrival of Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus.
“I’ve volunteered for almost every party since it started in 1998,” said Ruma Barua of Belleville. “It started a long time ago when my son was in high school and needed community service hours. For me, I do it every year because it’s important to give back to the community where you live.
“As Mitch says, ‘It’s easy to write a check; giving is harder – but more fulfilling.’”