We are in the process of implementing Circles, a program that will expand Friends In Deed’s circle of friends by pairing a person in poverty with three middle or upper income partners for at least 18 months. The goal of the program is to help people get out of and stay out of poverty.
The families who come to us for a crib are oftentimes coming out of a shelter after experiencing a fire, bedbug infestation or domestic-abuse situation. Still other families are simply living paycheck to paycheck and don’t have the extra money to purchase a crib. Unfortunately, our supply of cribs is all but exhausted.
Mwashite is a single mom with a two-year-old child. After a rough few months, she now has a job, an apartment and a very long commute that involves three bus rides and a 40-minute walk. Friends In Deed helped her out by passing on a car donated to us by a generous supporter
Gayle helps out on the furniture line at Friends In Deed, where she talks to people in the community who are either donating or requesting basic-needs furniture: beds, cribs, kitchen tables, sofas, etc. With her help taking information and guiding folks through the process, we were able to distribute over 2000 pieces of furniture in 2015.
Sometimes it is as simple as having a healthy place to sleep, eat and go about the daily business of living. Even those folks who have a roof over their head may not have the basic furniture necessary to make an apartment or house a home. That’s where Friends In Deed comes in.
Waste Not, Want Not
Friends In Deed accepts donations of used furniture and passes it on for free to our community’s many families in need. Through the use of our 12-foot-cube truck and the help and generosity of our many volunteers, we are able to pick up furniture from donors and deliver furniture to those of our clients without transportation.
Beds & Cribs
The need for beds is a particularly crucial need in our community. Not only do we have many families with children who come to us for help after coming out of a shelter or experiencing fires, floods or bedbug infestations, we also have clients who were victims of domestic abuse and have to relocate with their children. When a family is recovering from a disaster and/or living paycheck to paycheck, there is no extra money for the purchase of beds or cribs; and Friends In Deed is the only agency in Washtenaw County that provides them for free. Unfortunately, the number of beds donated each year consistently fails to meet the need in the community for a healthy sleep environment. That’s why we created our annual Holiday Bed & Crib Drive that allows donors to give monetary donations for the purchase of new beds. Since the bed drive’s inception, we have helped over 1400 individuals and children get up off the floor, get into a bed or crib and get a good night sleep.
We try to fill in the gaps of assistance offered by other agencies and organizations in Washtenaw County, which means we may answer a request for assistance by providing information about or making a referral to another organization that has a program of services that better fits a client’s needs. We also work to keep track of resources available in the community and pass on the information through:
- A How-to-Help Seminar each October that gives folks at congregations and human-service organizations a chance to ask questions
- Two bi-annual Resource Guides that lists community services, including shelters, food banks, and places to get free or low-cost clothing
One of the biggest problems faced by low-income families is an unexpected car repair. In a county where the mean travel to work is 23.1 miles, losing access to a reliable car can result in catastrophe. After all, if you can’t get to work, you may lose your job. If you lose your job, you may lose your home. Avoiding this domino effect is why Friends In Deed offers car repair assistance to families who need a car to get to work and/or to obtain medical treatment for a severe condition.
We Pass on Used Cars for Free
We also accept car donations so that we can pass on reliable transportation to an individual or family in need. Again, the car must be used to get to work or medical treatment.
Friends In Deed has provided utility assistance to residents of Washtenaw County for over three decades. The need has only increased since we first started the program, especially since Michigan’s Department of Human Services changed its policy in 2013: DHS now provides utility assistance only during the crisis season, defined as November 1st to May 31st.
We Help Prevent Utility Shut Off
Friends In Deed works with other social service agencies in the community to prevent utility shut off. Not only are families able to keep their water running, lights on and rooms warmed (or cooled depending on the season), they are often able to qualify for a payment plan that allows them to retain a bigger part of their budget for other necessities: food, medical care, clothing, etc.
Client Instructions and Initial Information
While we will consider requests on a case-by-case basis, our main programs are each outlined below. The information below should help you determine if you qualify for assistance and what will be required from you if you choose to apply. If your request does not fall into one of the categories, please give our Help Line (734-484-4357) a call from 9:30 AM to noon, Monday through Friday.
No matter what type of assistance you are seeking, you must be a resident of Washtenaw County and you must provide some documentation for our files.
- Furniture: If you are calling to obtain beds, cribs, couches, kitchen tables, etc., please call our Furniture Line at (734) 484-7607 from 9:30 AM to Noon, Tuesday through Friday.
- Transportation: We recognize at Friends In Deed that a car is often a basic necessity, especially in Washtenaw County. If you are calling about getting assistance with transportation, please call our Help Line at (734) 484-4357 from 9:30 AM to Noon, Monday through Friday.
- Prevention of Utility Shut Off: If you are calling for help with a utility bill, you will need to send us several documents. Please call our Help Line at (734) 484-4357 for more information from 9:30 AM to Noon, Monday through Friday.