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!

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!

See How Your Furniture Donation Makes a Difference: Jamesa

Jamesa heard about Friends in Deed through a friend of hers who had previously sought out help. Jamesa’s son, 8, had recently gone into remission from leukemia. When her son was diagnosed with leukemia, Jamesa was working at a home improvement store. To take care of her son, she left her job. This caused the family to become homeless and most of their belonging were destroyed. Now that her son has gone into remission, they are working on getting back on their feet. With the help of Friends In Deed, they are creating a comfortable home for themselves.

“Friend”raiser: Bring a Friend to Game Night and Trivia at Aubree’s

“Friend”raiser: Bring a Friend to Game Night and Trivia at Aubree’s

Bring a friend to Aubree’s Pizzeria in Depot Town for Game Night on Thursday, March 23rd and help us expand our circle of friends!

What? Game Night with Trivia, board games and pool. $5 minimum suggested donation.

Where? Aubree’s Pizzeria in Depot Town @ 39 E. Cross Street, Ypsilanti, MI. 48197

When? Game Night starts at 6:30 PM. Trivia starts at 7 PM sharp!

Why? Friends In Deed is looking to expand its circle of friends, and this is a nice way of meeting new people. Friends In Deed will also receive a donation from Aubree’s equal to 15% of all food purchased at the event. (Be sure to grab a flyer on your way in to submit with your bill.)

We hope you will join us for a fun night of games, prizes, laughs, information & more.

Fundraiser: Dine at Aubree’s Depot Town on March 23rd

Fundraiser: Dine at Aubree’s Depot Town on March 23rd

Dine at Aubree’s Pizzeria in Depot Town for lunch, dinner or a snack on Thursday, March 23rd and 15% of your total food bill will go to Friends In Deed.

What? Restaurant Fundraiser

Why? Have a great meal and benefit Friends In Deed

How? Print out the flyer below (or pick one up in the lobby of Aubree’s Depot Town) and present it to your waiter.

We hope you will join us for a nice meal and a great cause!

Download (PDF, Unknown)


How Your Furniture Donation Makes a Difference: Faith

How Your Furniture Donation Makes a Difference: Faith

Faith Williams was homeless and living out of her car for months. She felt hopeless and helpless because no one seemed to want to help or lend a hand. Faith was working simply to keep her car on the road to get back and forth from work.

After months of homelessness, she found out about Avalon housing. Avalon housing was able to provide her with affordable, subsidized housing but did not provide her with furniture. Her Case worker, Greg, referred her to Friends In Deed. Faith was able to get a dresser, dining table, bookcase and chairs for her new home. She came in to pick up her furniture and was amazed at the options she had to choose from.

When asked about some of the challenges she faced, Faith said that overcoming homelessness was a tough battle but she is blessed and thankful for organizations like Friends In Deed that help people in their times of need. “If I were able, I would not think twice about donating to Friends In Deed.”

Article and photo by Esau Davis.

Student Groups Help Out

Student Groups Help Out

Students from EMU’s VISION Volunteer Center

We’ve had a number of student groups volunteer to help out recently, including students from EMU’s VISION Volunteer Center and the Interact Club at Saline High School (shown above). Each group took our truck and picked up and delivered furniture. They also got to meet the families who benefited from receiving the furniture.

We’d like to thank both groups for their help. They did a great job!

Open Your Heart – Thank You Ann Arbor City Club!

Open Your Heart – Thank You Ann Arbor City Club!

The Ann Arbor City Club chose Friends In Deed for its annual Open Your Heart Campaign! The campaign collects items for donation to a local nonprofit. Throughout February in 2017, the club will be collecting bed & crib sheets for Friends In Deed.

We are very grateful that they thought of us. Through their efforts, we will be able to provide sheets along with beds and cribs to our low-income families in need. Like furniture helps make a house a home, a sheet helps make a bed a healthy and comfortable place to sleep.

The Open Your Heart campaign is just one of the many ways the Ann Arbor City Club supports nonprofit organizations in our community. They also provide a cash grant to a nonprofit organization each year, compile gift bags for needy children during the holiday season, knit items for donation to local hospitals, usher at the Ann Arbor Symphony Youth Concerts, and collect school supplies for the Education Project for Homeless Youth.

Thank you Ann Arbor City Club!

Thank You United Way of Washtenaw County!

Thank You United Way of Washtenaw County!

We have been twice blessed by the United Way this holiday season because we received two grant awards!

Funds for Utility Assistance

We received $2,000 in grant monies from the United Way’s Basic Needs Fund. The money will be used in support of Utility Assistance. In other words, the monies will be used to help families with the prevention of utility shut offs during the non-crisis season as defined by the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) as June 1st to October 31st. During this several month period, DHHS no longer assists with utility costs. As you might imagine, we see a huge rise in requests for utility assistance during these months. That’s why monies specific earmarked for this purpose are so needed.

Funds for Assistance with Car Repair / Transportation

We also received $5,000 in grant monies from the United Way’s Financial Stability Fund. The money will be used in support of helping low-income families in Washtenaw County with their car repairs and other transportation needs. Specifically, the funds will be used to increase the number of people we can assist in all household types, as well as the amount of funds we can use in assistance of any one car repair.

Thank you United Way!

Photo: Pam Smith from United Way and Sarah Thornburg from Friends In Deed

How Your Donation Makes a Difference: Kathy at Xmas

How Your Donation Makes a Difference: Kathy at Xmas

Kathy came to our office to pick up a check today to pay her weekly rent. As you probably already know, Friends In Deed doesn’t usually assist with rent. We do, however, consider requests for assistance on a case-by-case basis and found Kathy’s situation fell within our mission.

Kathy takes care of her adult daughter, who receives Social Security Disability after suffering a head injury. Kathy receives a monthly stipend from Social Security for the care-giving service. While the women have some income, its fixed nature has resulted in homelessness in the past and a constant struggle to get enough food. Either their budget was thrown off due to an unexpected expense or it simply didn’t stretch far enough.

The women have been living in their current home for the last year and a half and pay rent on a week-to-week basis. Unfortunately, the way December falls in 2016, the women have to come up with five weeks of rent for the month rather than four and have not been able to do so.

Of course, Kathy was aware this was going to be an issue. In addition to calling around for assistance, she has been actively seeking more affordable housing. She is currently on the waiting list for low-income housing and has applied for several other places to live that are more affordable. Unfortunately, the application fees further burden an already over-burdened budget.

When Kathy called Friends In Deed, our new caseworker, Rhonda, heard her out and starting calling around to organizations in the community to see if she could find some help.

“Rhonda went out of her way to call and be my family’s advocate,” Kathy said. Successful or not, Kathy was most grateful about the fact that Rhonda took the time to listen. “She didn’t have to do that. I really appreciate it.”

Kathy already contacted Housing Access of Washtenaw County about getting into a shelter.

“We don’t qualify because my daughter has special needs and we cannot be separated because of her medications.”

This meant that if assistance couldn’t be found, Kathy and her daughter would have no place to go. Friends In Deed decided to help by covering the rent for the week, which would allow the women to have a roof over their head through the holidays. Without that fifth week to worry about, and through the help of food banks in the area, the women will also be able to afford their rent for months to come.

While Kathy and her daughter ate grilled cheese sandwiches for Thanksgiving and are depending on a food bank for provisions over the coming week, their Christmas is looking much merrier.

Counting Our Blessings: First Congregational Church of Ann Arbor

First Congregational Church of Ann Arbor has been a long-time friend to Friends In Deed. In fact, we have received grant monies from them every year since 2001. In 2016, the $1,000 in grant monies we received helped five working or medically fragile households with their transportation issues.

For instance, we helped a single mom who had her hours cut at work and couldn’t afford a brake repair, as well as a senior with back and neck pain who needed help with transportation to get medical treatment.

Thank you First Congregational Church of Ann Arbor!

Moving Forward With the Help of the Ann Arbor Area Community Foundation

Moving Forward With the Help of the Ann Arbor Area Community Foundation

As we approach the end of 2016 and the beginning of 2017, we at Friends In Deed are optimistic about our organization’s future. Not only are we evolving are programs to better meet the needs of the community, we are growing and evolving as an organization.

AAACF’s Capacity Building Grant

The Ann Arbor Area Community Foundation (AAACF) is instrumental in these efforts. A few months ago,we received $5,000 in grant monies to be used for Capacity Building. In other words, the Ann Arbor Area Community Foundation chose to invest in Friends In Deed, so that we might improve our effectiveness going into the future.

Conducting an Audit

Through the support of the AAACF, we have selected an accounting firm to conduct an audit of our finances in February. This audit will allow us to find new funding sources as we will be better able to demonstrate the health and stability of our organization to third parties.

Creating a Succession Plan

The grant monies from AAACF will also allow us to create a succession plan. In fact, we’ve already met with Regina Funkhouser, the executive director of the Nonprofit Network, toward developing it. The implementation of the plan is a priority in 2017 and will allow Friends In Deed to continue to run effectively and efficiently should a change in leadership occur — an important need for a small nonprofit.

Thank you Ann Arbor Area Community Foundation!