News & Notes

Whether we are announcing a grant, having fun remembering a fundraiser, keeping you up to date about what’s going on with our volunteers/staff, or letting you know how your donations are making a difference, you’ll find it here.

Let us know what’s new with you!

Generous Grantors:

Generous Grantors:

We received a lot of generous grant awards this year, and we wanted to highlight a few.

Some of the grants are from organizations that we’ve known for a while. For instance, Zion Lutheran Church has awarded us a grant in each of the last several years for operations. Thrivent, too, has been a long and consistent source of funding for us over the years. Most recently, we received a grant for an action team, as well as grants designated by Thrivent members.

We also received some new grant funding. For instance, we received a grant from Old National Bank for Circles, as well as a grant from the Ann Arbor City Club for operations.

It is through the generosity of these congregations and organizations that we continue to serve the low-income families of Washtenaw County. Thank you!

120 Beds and Cribs: Thank You for Your Support!

120 Beds and Cribs: Thank You for Your Support!

With your generous donations on Giving Tuesday, we had our best match yet!

We were waiting to get the specifics of a couple pledges made on Giving Tuesday, and we now have a new total: 120 Beds & Cribs.

Not only did you generous folks donate 96 beds and cribs, but Van Winkle’s match on Giving Tuesday resulted in an additional 24 beds.

On behalf of the many, many low-income families who will now have a healthy, safe place to sleep, we thank you!

How Your Bed Donation Makes a Difference: Ruda

Ruda is an angel on earth. When her sister passed away seven years ago in October from complications due to a hole in her heart, Ruda took her sister’s three youngest children into her home to raise them. The sudden occupancy increase left the family strained and without the right number of beds. Friends In Deed was able to help the three children get a good night’s sleep … for a while.

One child had a hard time coping with the shock and grief of losing his mom and regularly wet his bed, and the other children grew out of their previous beds. Friends In Deed was able to help the family upgrade to beds that fit the kids better; and this time, Ruda herself got a bed.

The kids eagerly setup their new beds, and Ruda, too! She said everyone is sleeping a lot better, and her back pain has dramatically decreased!

We are thankful for people like Ruda who take on more than their fair share to keep families together.

Article by Madison Harmon

Brewed Awakenings: Helping Us Make New Friends

Brewed Awakenings: Helping Us Make New Friends

Kim Kaster, the owner of Brewed Awakenings Cafe in Saline, is hosting Friends In Deed for its Eat, Drink and Pay it Forward day (November 21, 2017). In other words, she is giving us space in the cafe to set out materials and make some new friends. She is also donating 20% of all food and drink sales for the day.

We’d like to thank Kim and Brewed Awakenings for hosting us, introducing us to their friends and making such a generous donation. We’d also like to thank the four Board Members who are manning the booth throughout the day: Bob Thompson, Tom Humphreys, Bill Mahler, and Ken Nemerovski.

How Your Bed Donation Makes a Difference: Linda

How Your Bed Donation Makes a Difference: Linda

Linda is battling a rare autoimmune neuromuscular disorder, Myasthenia Gravis. This disease effects less than 1% of the US population. It causes a person great pain and fatigue, and eventual immobility. Linda said that within a few years, she will be confined to a wheelchair.

Linda still takes care of her elderly parents while she still can. Her mom has dementia and her dad has a pacemaker. Linda’s mom recently could not recognize her. Linda fears that her dad is also developing dementia. She makes sure that every day they are eating, and taking their medications.

Her son and his family recently moved in with Linda to help take care of her and her home. Linda’s son and wife brought their three children, a 10 year old girl, a 3 year old boy, and a 1 ½ year old little girl. The family squeezed into Linda’s house. The love of family filling her home is vast, but unfortunately, tangible space is tight!

That’s when Linda reached out to Friends In Deed and was able to receive bunk beds. The 10 year old girl gets the top bunk (of course, seniority rules!). The kids love their beds, and it has saved the family some space and improved their quality of living. Since Linda is sleeping in a cumbersome hospital bed, saving the space is more crucial.

Linda is now on the waiting list for more space-saving furniture, which means waiting for more generous donations.

Trivia Night at Cultivate

Trivia Night at Cultivate

Team “Greg” came in first place.

A good time was had by all at Cultivate’s Trivia Night. The night of entertainment and education was the perfect mix for the Friends In Deed mixer. The game was thought up by Billy Kangas, who also served as the Master of Ceremonies. The best part of the evening was making some new friends, especially the folks at Cultivate.

Thanks Billy and Cultivate!

Billy gives the tie breaker question to a member from each of the two first-place teams.

See How Your Donation Makes a Difference: Paula & Fayth

See How Your Donation Makes a Difference: Paula & Fayth

Paula and her 12-year-old daughter, Fayth, had a hard time of it over the last year as their small family struggled with Paula’s breast cancer diagnosis. Treatment involved removing Paul’s breast. While the good news is that Paula survived the scare, she still has days when she doesn’t feel well because of the chemotherapy.

Those bad days aren’t getting her down, though. “I’m getting my health back!” she said with a big smile. She is even starting to look for a part-time job.

Even so, she’s been referred by her doctors for survivor counseling. The problem is that her car’s battery is on its last legs, and she was told by her mechanic that it won’t make it through the winter. Surviving on social security, Section 8 and food banks, Paula simply doesn’t have the money for the unexpected car repair.”I can’t afford to end up stranded,” she said, worried about the winter, getting to her treatment, and picking up her daughter.

Because of your donations, Friends In Deed was able to help Paula get a new battery and maintenance for her car. Without the worry and stress of unreliable transportation, Paul can continue to get better and the family can get back on their feet.

“I’m very grateful to Friends In Deed!”



How-to-Help Seminar: Monday (10/23)

How-to-Help Seminar: Monday (10/23)

Friends In Deed is hosting its annual How-to-Help Seminar on Monday, October 23rd from 7pm to 9pm. It will be held at First Baptist Church of Ypsilanti, 1110 W. Cross Street in Ypsilanti. You can register by email to or phone at 734-485-7658.

What is a How-to-Help Seminar?

It is an event that brings together representatives from several Social Service Organizations in Washtenaw County. The presentations include:

  • Finding the right resources for those in need
  • Housing and homeless issues
  • Dealing with difficult people asking for help
  • How to spot a scam artist
  • Current state resources and programs

The event ends with a Question & Answer session.

See you there!

We Lost a Good Friend This Week: Kathy Wilde

We Lost a Good Friend This Week: Kathy Wilde

We lost a very good friend this week: Kathy Wilde, who passed away at home in Ypsilanti.

Kathy came to Friends in Deed nine years ago at the request of a friend, and she has been volunteering for us in several roles ever since. Most recently, she worked on the helpline with Rhonda Wright, providing a caring voice and much needed resources to our clients.

Kathy was a former florist. In fact, she owned and operated Flowers on the Parkway in Ann Arbor. She was also an accomplished archer and loved reading and making jewelry.

Kathy had a big family; she had five children and a score of grandchildren. She also had a special friend in Larry “Fitz” Fitzgerald. She certainly felt like family to many of us here at Friends In Deed, who appreciated her kindness and commitment to help those less fortunate.

Kathy was recently interviewed by an Eastern Michigan Student who was working on a project for Friends In Deed. When asked about what she would like people to know, she said, “Make sure you live your life to the fullest, and make every day special.”

Kathy did live life to the fullest and was an inspiration to all of us. She will be missed.

Thank You Rotary Club of Ann Arbor: Bunk Beds for Kids

Thank You Rotary Club of Ann Arbor: Bunk Beds for Kids

What you have to understand is how great it is for a kid to get his or her own bed when they’ve been doing without. Thanks to the folks from the Rotary Club of Ann Arbor, two low-income families in Washtenaw County recently received this gift of sleep.

Beds for Kids

Many families with children 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. Imagine how difficult getting a good night sleep is for a child who has recently experienced an upheaval due to a disaster or relocation and has to sleep on a couch or on the floor. Now imagine a family with multiple children and too little space to accommodate a twin bed for each child even if they could get them.

Cozy and happy, another child gets a bunk bed because of the Rotary Club.

Bunk Beds Project

Friends In Deed is the only agency in Washtenaw County that provides beds for free. In keeping with our goal of increasing the number of children in Washtenaw County to get a good night’s sleep, we created a special program to address families with multiple children and limited space. Through the generosity of the Rotary Club of Ann Arbor, we received $5,000 in grant monies for the purchase of bunk beds, as well as a host of volunteers to deliver and assemble them. When all is said and done, 10+ families will receive bunk beds for their children. This allows us to increase the total number of families to receive beds, as well as reduce the amount of time families spend on the waiting list.


The need for beds in our community remains great and urgent in 2017, and Friends In Deed is the only agency in Washtenaw County that provides them for free. While the Rotary Club of Ann Arbor’s funding is makes a big difference, the need continues. If you’d like to help out, consider donating the funds for the purchase of a bed or crib during our Holiday Bed & Crib Drive.
How Your Donations Make a Difference: Crystal

How Your Donations Make a Difference: Crystal

Meet Crystal, a home health care worker for six years with a Certified Nursing Assistant diploma.  Crystal, twenty-seven, is mom to six-year old Isaiah, who will be entering first grade this fall.

Crystal heard about Friends In Deed (FID) from a friend who referred her to the agency.  Initially she came to FID needing a dining room table.  She was working part-time and was able to receive the dining room furniture free of charge from the FID Furniture Hotline.  A little bit later she also obtained a bed, a night stand and a dresser.

During the course of FID’s acquaintance with Crystal, she obtained her C.N.A. degree to further her education and ability to work full time to provide for herself and Isaiah.  Even with her 45-hours-a-week job, Crystal still had trouble meeting a few occasional bills.  She requested help with a DTE invoice which FID was able to provide.

In her quest for independence, Crystal was able to pull together a down payment for a car.  Once she brought the car home, it became apparent that repairs were needed to keep the automobile running.  After negotiations with the dealer, a mechanic and FID, Crystal was able to get the repairs at a reduced rate with a contribution from FID and some money on her part.

In Crystal’s quest for a better life for herself and her son, she was able to partner with FID for furniture, a utility bill and car repair assistance.  With the solid foundation of her C.N.A. certification and a full time work schedule, Crystal is able to greet the future with confidence that there is a safety net to protect her family from falling through the cracks or losing momentum due to unforeseen expenses.

As Crystal meets the challenges in her life and works hard at getting ahead, she has hit some bumps along the way.  Fortunately she was able stay the course with limited help from FID.  When asked “What would you tell someone about FID?” she replied, “FID’s staff goes above and beyond to help.”

Interview and article by Joan Bonderud

We Refuse to Say Goodbye: Terrie Upham

We Refuse to Say Goodbye: Terrie Upham

Terrie Upham, a student in Eastern Michigan University’s School of Social Work, is finishing up her internship with Friends In Deed next week. While normally we’d be wishing her luck and saying goodbye, Terrie will continue on with us on our Furniture Line as she did for years before she became an intern. She will also be continuing on with her role in our new Circles program. So while we won’t be planning a goodbye party for Terrie, we will be celebrating her accomplishments and recognizing her long-standing friendship – and there will be lunch!

How did we make such a good friend?

Terrie heard about us through her sorority sister, Bekah, who was volunteering at Friends In Deed. We needed a Wednesday volunteer for our Furniture Line; and since Terrie was a social work major, it fit nicely into her life plan. She showed up for her first day a little over three years ago, and she’s been volunteering for us ever since.

What attracted her to Friends In Deed?

“A lot!” Terrie says.

For instance, she likes how Friends In Deed is an interfaith organization. As a Christian, she not only gets to work in a way that aligns with her faith, she gets to see other people and churches do so, too.

Her love for Friends In Deed runs deep. In addition to the religious aspect of the organization, Terrie loves the close knit relationships of the staff and how much is done for the volunteers to bring them closer together. In short, she loves the many happy people she comes across. Whether it is the people who work at Friends In Deed or its many volunteers, “they are all willing to put their best foot forward.”

Besides the people inside the organization, she also enjoys meeting the people who Friends In Deed helps. “When volunteering here, you can really see where the donations are going. You can see the families and people they serve,” Terrie said. She remembered one client in particular who was really helped by Friends In Deed. The client received a full house of furniture, retained their utilities after a threatened shut off, and received school supplies for their children. “That was only one person and they were able to do so much,” Terrie said.

Another quality that Terrie loves about Friends In Deed is how the organization funds its programs. “There is no government interference and a big part of their funding is through special events (Annual Dinner, Golf Outing, etc.),” Terrie said.

A new role:

Now that Terrie’s internship is wrapping up, she will be able to focus on her role with Friends In Deed’s newest program: Circles. It is a program that will help families make connections in the community and learn how to break out of the cycle of poverty. Terrie will be the overseer of the older children, around eleven years and older. She will help explain the lessons that the parents will be learning that day, listen to the children, and try to help with any problems that they may be dealing with. The Circle program may be new, but she is definitely excited about its implementation.

We’re just glad we don’t have to say goodbye. Thanks Terrie!

Interview, Article and Photo by Amtheyst Floyd

After the Annual Dinner: The Detroit Metro Tour Was a Hit

After the Annual Dinner: The Detroit Metro Tour Was a Hit

Bill Holmes graciously agreed to host another tour of Detroit Metro Airport as a live-auction item at the 2017 Annual Dinner. The tour gave the winners (Pat & Jim Robertson) the chance to take their family for a look behind the scenes at the airport. A good time was had by all. Thanks Bill!

How Your Furniture Donation Makes a Difference: Lisa

How Your Furniture Donation Makes a Difference: Lisa

Lisa, an amputee, is a single mom with kids, and she’s been looking for a place to live for a long time. Now that she has one, she realized it would take her almost a year to fill it with basic-needs furniture without the help of Friends In Deed.

“I really appreciate this program. It is really important for a struggling single mom.”

Lisa came to our warehouse to pick up a couch and bedroom furniture, including beds for herself and her 12-year-old daughter.

See How Your Donation Makes a Difference: Jessica

See How Your Donation Makes a Difference: Jessica

Jessica is a security officer with two kids, ages 3 and 11. When her rent went up unexpectedly from $192 to $600, her budget took a hit. Things were made worse by the timing because her rent went up after she got paid.

When most of her paycheck went to the rent increase, she didn’t have enough money left to pay her car insurance. “It’s always something,” Jessica said. Without Friends In Deed, “I would not be able to get to work. I can’t drive without insurance.”

“I feel like there is always another way,” Jessica said when facing the problem. Having already weathered a short-term financial setback a few years before through the help of Friends In Deed, she knew right where to go to prevent a short-term financial emergency from becoming a long-term disaster.

Circles Ally & Key Volunteer Mixer!

Circles Ally & Key Volunteer Mixer!

When: Thursday, June 1st 7:00 pm
Where: Cultivate Coffee & Tap House, 307 N River St, Ypsilanti, (Depot Town)

Please join us for this informal get-together with a group of enthusiastic volunteers who want to help make a positive impact in the lives of families in Washtenaw County. Enjoy great snacks, meet other Allies and key volunteers, and increase your poverty I.Q. through stimulating conversation with others who care. You will also be able to get your questions answered about the many different ways to volunteer for Circles, and can sign up for Ally training offered in August and September.We look forward getting to know you better at this fun event!

So that we can plan for refreshments, please RSVP to let us know if you can come! Email me at or call us at: 734-340-9042

Hope to see you on June 1st!


2017 Annual Dinner: Auction Catalog

2017 Annual Dinner: Auction Catalog

Come join us at the 2017 Annual Dinner & Silent Auction, where you can participate in both a live and silent auction. Here are just a few of the items available to bid on at the event:

Live Auction Items:

Over-Night Sailboat Excursion

Enjoy two days and a night sailing around the Lake Erie Islands aboard the 2 banjo 2!  Captain Rob Compton is offering an overnight sailing experience aboard his classic 30-foot Catalina sailboat.  Relax and enjoy views of sparkling water, Cedar Point roller coasters and picturesque islands or learn some sailing skills yourself. Read more about it.

Fall Weekend in Petoskey

Win a fall getaway at Friends In Deed’s Annual Dinner & Silent Auction. The vacation is a two-night, weekend stay at the Inn at Bay Harbor in Petoskey from October 6 to October 8, 2017. The studio room has a kitchen and living area with a queen wall bed, a fireplace and a balcony. Read more about it. (Value $520).

Guided Tour of the Radar Room and Control Tower at Detroit Metro Airport

The lucky winner (and a guest) will be taken on a tour at the McNamara Terminal and be escorted through, as guide Bill Holmes puts it, the “super secret” entrance to the radar room. The winner will also journey up 20 stories into the control tower, where air traffic controllers will explain and demonstrate their actions as they guide take offs and landings. Read more about itNote: Ages 15 and Up.

Week Vacation at Charlevoix Condo

The lucky winner (and a guest) will enjoy one week of vacation time at this water-front condo between September 15, 2017 and May 15, 2018 (as agreed between winner and donor/owner).

Featured Items:

Four Gardeners for Four Hours

Use of FID Truck for the Day

Framed “Morning Walk” Hand-Made Quilt

$500 Gift Card to Select Auto

Four (4) Tickets to Thunder Over Michigan Air Show


Artwork and Art-Related Classes

Items include framed paintings, photographs and quilts, as well as gift certificates for glass mosaic, painting and other art classes. There is also a gift certificate for personal instruction in watercolor painting: List of creative classes available.

Clothes & Jewelry

Items include earrings, necklaces, scarves, clutches, socks, cocktail dresses and wraps, as well as gift certificates for shoes.

Entertainment & Experiences

Items include tickets to Michigan Theater, Handel’s Messiah (UMS), a Purple Rose Theater performance and Rolling Hills Water Park, as well as a membership at Leslie Nature Center. Other items include a “Jiffy” family tour package, a High Five Pedal Tour and a hot-air balloon ride.

Food & Restaurants

Items include baskets filled with Italian oils, cheese and dinner fixings, as well as boxes of spices and cupcakes. There are also gift certificates for coffee for a year, cheese and dessert trays, local markets and many, many restaurants. See item list.


Items include painted kids chairs, bronze desk lamp, cedar chest, Wakefield table and stacking end tables.

Home & Garden

Items include vases, collectibles, heirloom bulbs, wall organizers, sconces, hand-made quilts, pillow cases, trivets, tools and tchotchkes. There are also several gift certificates available for fertilizer/weed control, gardening help, landscape nursery items, home-decor items, and tool/yard/party rental. List of gift certicates available.

Personal and Spa Services

Items include gift certificates for massages, teeth whitening, salon services, hot-tub soaks, life coaching, and PiYo (Pilates/Yoga) classes, as well as cologne: List of items available.

Recreation and Sport

Items include tickets for the Thunder Over Michigan air show and a season pass to the Toledo Mudhens. Gift certificates are also available for two rock-climbing starter packages, a race-car driving experience and several golf packages. Collectibles at the auction include a basket of NASCAR-branded items, an autographed Red Wing puck, and a Lions football signed by everyone on the 2010 Lions team.

Specialty Items

These items don’t fit easily into any one category, but offer a little something different for the silent-auction enthusiast: a singing telegram, lunch out with the Friends In Deed’s executive director, and a picnic basket with wine glasses, lawn blanket and a bottle of wine.

Travel-Related Items and Mini Vacations

Items include garment bags, luggage tags and gift certificates for REI, as well as an over-night package at the Stuart Avenue Inn in Kalamazoo.

Thank You Red Rock Downtown Barbecue!

Thank You Red Rock Downtown Barbecue!

We’d like to thank our good friend, Red Rock Downtown Barbecue, for donating the alcohol for our 2017 Annual Dinner & Silent Auction. The folks at Red Rock are really going above and beyond in supporting our event. Not only are they donating the alcohol, they are providing the glassware and bartender for the evening. Their catering contribution will greatly increase the amount of funds raised at the dinner, as well as the fun times.

Thanks so much!